MLS Cup final 2017 At BMO Field, a buzzy soccer match in weather fit for hockey.
TORONTO — This is a hockey city, a hockey country, but for the past two Decembers, the hum of the NHL season and fabled junior leagues has been interrupted by a soccer championship playing out on the frigid shores of Lake Ontario.
On a day better suited for the Winter Classic — those popular outdoor hockey events that have rekindled memories of yesteryear — some 36,000 crammed into BMO Field for MLS Cup on Saturday afternoon. It was a rematch of the final won by the Seattle Sounders on these same chilly grounds a year ago, and with Toronto FC on pace to make league history, the buzz around town swelled this week.
For the comforts of the players and fans, there are far better places (re: warmer) to stage MLS’s marquee match. But to reward the more successful finalist in the regular season and to enhance the setting with a rabid and partisan audience, the league in 2012 abandoned the predetermined (and almost always neutral) venue for a true home team.
That, however, leaves the risk of chilly weather. Early in the week, snow was in the forecast here. As game day approached, the snow held off and gray skies and cold — but not unbearable — temperatures descended on the stadium near downtown.