Toronto is a soccer city, and yet Toronto FC have historically under-performed. On the eve of their first MLS final, however, they’re seeing signs of progress
After scoring five goals, eliminating their rivals Montreal Impact from the MLS playoffs, and advancing to the first MLS Cup in team history, Toronto FC got down to the important business of discussing Drake. “You’re going to join Drake and company on the town,” a member of the club’s staff – probably Jeff Bradley, the communications chief – yelled to players across a crowded locker room.
Drake, the 6 God, was not, in fact, waiting for the players. His last meaningful involvement with the club came in 2014, when he reportedly called Jermain Defoe as part of TFC’s efforts to sign the striker – an episode the club and its fans have tried to forget. But his specter pointed to the awkwardness of the occasion. Toronto, like much of Canada, has both a vibrant culture and a vibrant soccer culture; the question the MLS Cup final raises is whether those qualities can ever become one and the same.