MLS Cup Diaries: On The Road To The Final …


by Christian AraosPhotos by Matt Kremkau

Friday 7:40 pm—Although the Border Agents did not point me to where I can request political asylum, I am safely in Toronto with 25 hours to go until the MLS Cup Final.

Definitely the only reason why I’ve crossed the border.

EoS photographer Matt Kremkau is alongside me and will take all the photos once he figures out what to do with all the stuff he’s packed. Travel light friends. We are staying inside someone’s townhouse in the northwest of the city and I’m staring at a laminated print of the Toronto Star from the night Joe Carter hit his home run. Easy to wonder in a generation from now if some middle-aged guy is going to have a print of Sebastian Giovinco in his guest room. Or if someone in Seattle will have a printout of the Seattle Times and Jordan Morris in their’s.

Or if printed news will still be a thing.

Kremkau is fiddling with the cable box. We’ll eventually head downtown for food and drink, once he finds the hockey. Or the Modern Family episode with some dads singing 80s covers. We heard most of the originals on the way here.


But enough of yesterday and tomorrow will happen tomorrow. Right now it’s 25 degrees and if I could eat, drink and sleep while interacting with the city I will have to eventually flee to at the same time, I would. But I have to be awake and show Kremkau how TTC works.

11:56 p.m.——

We wound up walking, but sadly, MLS didn’t think we were cool enough for an invite to their Downtown party. After making fun of Kremkau earlier, I should be kind and note that I would’ve gotten lost without him. Had he let me forget where Yonge Street was, we’d have gotten lost in a foreign country in below freezing temperatures. That would’ve been its own adventure. 

Eventually, we ended up at the St. Louis Bar & Grill with a pitcher of Stella that did its job. The Raptors were on but no one was really that excited to see them beat the Celtics. According to the ticker on the wall, the next Maple Leafs game will be in t-minus 19 hours and counting. This being a sport bar, the waitresses’ outfits were typical and tight-fitting. Our’s was a part-time journalist for The Weather Network, Canada’s version of The Weather Channel but she said she was back in school to study something else. A friendly and well-educated person having to spend Friday nights working at a sports bar. I forgot to ask her if they’ve also had to respond to Breitbart. I was a bit caught up in feeling incredulous about the whole CIA vs the President-Elect thing.

Again, I’m only here for MLS Cup.


Speaking of Americans finding a home in Toronto, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore each had their own segments on SportsNet and TSN. Bradley was being interviewed by the Rogers-owned network, Altidore by the Bell-owned. Both networks had their ‘panel of experts’ and their narrated video essays. Our waitress said there was growing excitement for Saturday’s Final and a surprising amount of interest in Toronto FC.

When I’m home, I still have to explain who Bradley and Altidore are and what they’re doing in Toronto. Unlike the last time I was in Toronto, I have not had to explain what’s going on back home…yet.