Bradley: 'It's a pretty cool time to be in Toronto'
This moment has been a long time coming for Toronto FC.
The club made history on a rainy Wednesday night at BMO Field, becoming the first Canadian outfit to compete for the MLS Cup after dispatching the Montreal Impact 5-2. For club captain Michael Bradley, this moment, and the many trials that forged this team before it, is the team's first taste of true glory.
"All week, we spoke about what tonight could be," Bradley told reporters after the match. "Nobody knew for sure, but we all had an idea it could be a special night in terms of atmosphere, emotion - in some ways, 10 years of emotion - coming out in one night.
"I dropped my son off at school this morning and I saw, I swear every kid that walked into that elementary school had a TFC jersey on, and most of the parents as well. You could feel it in the city, that people have really taken notice. People are proud. People are excited."
Bradley points to 10 years of history - most of it less than ideal - and does not scare from it; rather, he says it fuels his and his teammate's desire to perform in order to give back to the city that, on the night, provided 36,000 voices of support.
It is a support that, at times, was strained, but one that never wavered.
And it is for that reason that Bradley says the time has come for "The 6ix," where the 2016 MLS Cup will now be contested.
"It's a pretty cool time to be in Toronto," Bradley said. "When you look around the city, in terms of all of the sports teams and what's going on, it's amazing. I'm American, but when you talk about some of these 'sports cities' ... I would put Toronto up there with any of them."
He points to the success of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Raptors in capturing the city's imagination in their respective postseason performances, and to the young Toronto Maple Leafs who have brought excitement back to the Air Canada Centre.
But, most of all, Bradley has seen a tremendous outpouring of support for his never-say-die Reds, and says he is cognizant of the responsibility he and his teammates have to return it, in spades.
"When the lights come on bright, when everybody's watching, these are the moments where you get a chance to move the needle," Bradley said. "We've done that and we've got one more game that can move the needle more than any game so far.
"Tonight was a special night and 10 days from now we want to do one better.”
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