March 28, 2009 MLS Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC (from Staff)

TFC fans appear in Columbus en masse
Raucous contingent of Reds fans appear at Crew Stadium
By Peter Mallett / Staff

Game Reds gearing up for Crew Trillium Cup renews in Columbus

COLUMBUS -- Warm spring breezes greeted close to 2,000 Toronto area soccer fans who gathered in the parking lot of Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus for a pre-match tailgate party ahead of Saturday's game between visiting Toronto FC and the defending champion Crew. As the late March tailgate party raged outside the stadium and Sierra Mist and Budweiser flowed like water, storm clouds from threatening early spring showers and thunderstorms loomed on the horizon.

Toronto Red Patch Boys fan club member Rodrigo Vuoso made the 8-hour drive aboard a chartered bus for the match and celebrated with friends ahead of the big game -- the first of three Trillium Cup matches this year.

"We haven't won against Columbus yet, was a long drive down to Columbus but we know we will be their 12th man today and push them forward on the field for a win," Vuoso said.

Some lighted firecrackers and roman candles while others sat on lawn chairs and just relaxed from their journey.

Toronto's traveling support and the annual Trillium Cup competition has even led to a gentleman's wager between Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Toronto Mayor David Miller earlier in the week -- while the fans enthusiasm has helped create an electric atmosphere ahead of today's match.

On the other side of the stadium, a smaller but organized group of Crew fans assembled in anticipation of their team's home opener.

"Its amazing to see the traveling support for Toronto but we know the Crew are going to take it today because they have the league MVP (Guillermo Barros) Schelotto and just won the MLS Cup," said Crew supporter Katie Naylor. "The fans are really excited about the game and looking forward to seeing the Crew be recognized for their big win last season."

Peter Mallett is a contributor to

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