We heard it from FC Cincinnati players, coaches and staff members. "This doesn't happen all the time," or some version of this advice, was shared as a reminder to celebrate the moment, to not let it slip away.
When FCC clinched the Supporters' Shield title with a 3-2 victory at Toronto FC, they did not let the moment slip away. They enjoyed it for all it was worth. The Orange and Blue faithful shared in that mantra by meeting the club in the middle of the night at CVG airport to embrace their club.
There is something special about clinching a trophy at home, though, in front of your fans. That aspect of 'The Moment' could not be achieved, though, as a disappointed BMO Field watched as FCC stormed onto their pitch, donned championship tee shirts, and popped champagne inside their home grounds.
But in those stands at BMO Field was a contingent of FC Cincinnati supporters who made the trip north to watch their club make history. The journey is obviously not one that welcomes simplicity for an away day – international borders and a 7.5-hour door-to-door drive from TQL Stadium to BMO Stadium make things complicated and take something out of your control to a degree that, say, Chicago or Columbus would not – but for those who were able to make the journey, they were rewarded with a celebration.
While there were many FCC supporters on hand in Toronto, as the pops of Orange and Blue stood out among the crowd in Toronto's sea of red, I could only talk to a handful. They came under different circumstances, with different plans, itineraries, routes and intentions. But all came and celebrated together.
Sandi and Ross Webster from Cincinnati drove to Toronto on Friday morning, stopping in Niagara Falls overnight to see one of the world's wonders before arriving in Canada to watch FCC play. The couple had been planning another away day trip to see the team this season, but with games running out and the potential to see history, they pulled the trigger and booked this trip. "We wouldn't miss it for the world," Sandi said. "We just love our boys."
Andrej Kyselica, his daughter Jennifer and her fianceé Josh Allen (not the QB) woke up as early as 2:30 a.m. on matchday to take their flight to Toronto. The trio decided to buy tickets and make reservations just two days before with the opportunity to see history. The three are season ticket holders and have been attending games since the Nippert days. Post-match, the three ran into FC Cincinnati general manager Chris Albright on the BMO Field concourse.
More locally, Mellisa Smith and Kevin Harris of London, Ontario, were on hand to see their Orange and Blue win a trophy. Decked out in FCC gear, both were born and raised in southern Ontario. Smith attended the University of Cincinnati before returning to Canada after graduation, and caught the fever for FC Cincinnati while studying in the Queen City. She first attended matches at Nippert Stadium and now makes the nearly two-hour drive to downtown Toronto from the eastern city of London whenever FCC comes to town. Harris was making his FCC fan debut and couldn’t have picked a better time to join the party.
This writer's parents, Karen and Paul, also brought a group of new FCC Supporters to the match, teaching any and all who would listen the lyrics to the songs typically sung out from The Bailey, highlighted with a "Boup there it is" chant when striker Aaron Boupendza finished the game-winning and trophy-clinching goal.
Many more made the trek to Toronto to watch their club make history and will have stories to tell for a lifetime, as will the 25,513 fans that witnessed The Orange and Blue lift the coveted Shield at TQL Stadium four nights later.
"This doesn't happen all the time." So, you may as well cherish it.