We arrived to the home of Alex P. Keaton, more fast-food restaurants per capita than any other US city and the soulless ground that houses "America's Hardest Working Team", the Crew with half hour to spare.
For any Crew fans who may have thought we were being disrespectful during the anthems, your sound system is garbage... We couldn't hear either anthem.
Columbus clearly has this game marketed to a different crowd. There is a children's playground inside the stadium. Slides, swings, rocking horses. Many families attend the game. A permanent stage at one end. Cheerleaders. Yes, cheerleaders. Maybe we represent an old-school mentality, but i'Ve often felt if you need constant distractions at your sporting event, then your office doesn't take it seriously and neither will most of your fellow attendees.
Let the game take center stage and let your crowd create atmosphere. So far, TFC staff have allowed us hardcore to organically create atmosphere and encroach very little. Maybe that's the benefit of having as many people on the same page as TFC supporters do. Because of this, we treat the game and game-day experience seriously and everyone else, young and old, follow suit and do so too.
Not to completely hate on Columbus, the upper deck sightlines were excellent, security were very patient, kind and fair, and concessions (though grossly overpriced) were abundant.
The match would feature a fully healed Cunningham, first looks at right back Marco Velez and keeper Brian Edwards, and the league debut of coach John Carver. 4pm kick off and away we go...
1 - Red Patch Boys hired a plane to do a fly by with the message "Toronto FC : come on you reds"
8 - CLM yellow card on a stupid tackle.
12 - Hemming crosses where Dunnivant strikes it at a bad angle only to miss by inches.
13 - Columbus has paint on their jerseys
15 - Tony remarks that Colin Samuel is wearing an effeminate headband
16 - CLM Moreno skies the ball 10 yards out, missing the stadium.
18 - Cheerleaders leave the permanent staging in a vain attempt to awaken their supporters.
19 - Shot by CLM Rogers easily saved by Williams
19 - Cunningham got a free shot at the net only for their keeper Hesmer to get his fingers on it enough to redirect it around the post
21 - we finally heard Columbus singing after we stopped and the wind blew westward long enough to carry their noise. Our support outnumbers their hardcore approx. 8 to 1
24 - Dichio, who is not starting, gets a song
26 - GOAL - CLM Adam Moffat shot low beating Edwards, who should'Ve got to it.
27 - Cunningham is caught poaching alone in what can only be described as a 4-5-0-1
29 - We can't hear Columbus. No. No.
32 - Ref fails at a blatant foul while staring at it.
35 - Moreno hits the turf in a way that would get
Moffat takes a 360 spin in the air and hits it with the back of his head just missing the net. Would've been spectacular
36 - Columbus makes the first attempt of having the M in MLS stand for 'minor' by playing music and shilling mid-game.
38 - CLB player walks in from 12 yrds out and Williams makes a good save.
40 - Jimmy B free kick attempt looped in, Edu heads wide of the mark.
41 - Hemming give-and-Bo, hauled down in the box. No call.
42 - Dunnivant corner, Jimmy B gets a volley attempt on an open net at a bad angle sail wide.
44 - Cunningham gets levelled in the box for a penalty. Samuel steps up, gets stopped, fails to follow up on an open net and gets nothing.
Half-time emotion - Pissed. Not the alcohol kind either.
47 - Hejduk looks like a hippy. Probably doesn't shave his pits
Notice that Lombardino is warming up. He's got heart for miles, but feet for inches.
50 - Edu appeared to have bagged a goal from our vantage point, but just hit the side netting.
53 - Jimmy B gets a low left shot off that nearly trickles a shot through the goalie's hands but stops it before it fully crosses the line. After some protest, it's all for naught.
56 - Edu gets booked for the neck thrust followed by the clumsy challenge on the CLM midfielder.
58 - we start our '9-for-21' chant, calling for Dichio, removing Samuel
59 - Robbie Rogers hits the turf after losing the ball because he fails at dribbling and tries to play it off as a foul. In the olympics, he'd have earned bronze in the 10 meter platform.
65 - SUBS : Dichio in, Harmse in. Dunnivant and someone else off. Turns into a 4-3-3 and Samuel is still in.
66 - Edu shot on net. First one in 15 mins.
68 - Dichio stares a CLM player into hitting the ground.
70 - Samuel did something that wasn't a screw up.
72 - Still can't hear Columbus sing. No. No.
73 - cotton candy girl kinda has it goin on in a cute way.
78 - GOAL - CLM Moreno counters, walks it in and slots it to the left side. Just brutal choking of posession. Columbus deserves this as TFC are uninspired and the Crew are passible this afternoon. Can hear Columbus sing again, but we're still louder.
81 - Moreno misses an opportunity to bag a second 10 yds out but is just wide of the post.
82 - Edu can't get 2 seconds with the ball without getting doubled-up on. He is working hard.
84 - TFC is merely a plaything for the Crew Cat at this point. We get the ball, we lose the ball.
88 - Brennan from 25 yds out skies the ball
89 - TFC supporter throws a teal smoke bomb on the pitch. We need to curb these discount colours when using fireworks.
90 - In the shock of the game judging by what we've seen in the first 89 mins, Samuel pops a ball into the box that Cunningham just lifted over the bar.
Thumbs up : first game of the season.
Thumbs down : there's 29 more of these.
Goals : NIL
Cards : Edu
Man of the match : We could only give a score of a 7/10, but we're giving the nod to Hemming for hard work, no quit and being available and making space. Edu gets points for being double teamed all afternoon. Jimmy B gets points for trying to make a difference on the scoreboard when no one else wanted to.
Goat : Samuel. Looked uninspired, sloppy, careless and played about 35 minutes too long.