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The Impact at Stade Saputo

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In 2012, Major League Soccer expanded to Montreal, finally giving the city another top-tier team to follow besides the Canadiens. The Montreal Impact play in the Stade Saputo, within the Olympic Park, and we decided to check them out for a Saturday match against the Colorado Rapids.

Montreal Impact

I was able to see Didier Drogba score a goal! Soccer snobs might roll their eyes at me, and they’re not totally wrong. This was an early-season MLS game, Drogba is years past his prime, and it’s not like we were at the Champions League Final. But still: I got to see Didier Drogba score a goal. If you’re a soccer fan, that’s special in any circumstance.

Drogba is by far the Impact’s biggest star. After dominating European soccer and establishing himself as one of his generation’s greatest strikers, the Ivory Coast international came to Montreal in 2015. And although he might be in the twilight of his career, he’s still the team’s most exciting player. Watching him smash home a free kick made me so happy… and since Impact wear blue kits, so it didn’t take much to imagine that he was still with Chelsea.

Montreal Impact

Drogba’s ninth-minute goal was the highlight of our day at the stadium, but the whole experience was a lot of fun. Stade Saputo was built in 1996, when the Impact were still toiling away in the NASL (North American Soccer League; basically the second division). Their stadium seats 22,000 people, and is frequently packed to capacity. Even this relatively unimportant game against the Rapids was sold out, and the supporters are proper soccer fans. The goal-zone was hopping the entire match with chanting, singing, flag-waving and ringing the “North Star”: a five-foot bell which is sounded after each Impact goal.

The fans had reason to celebrate this season. Not only do they get to bask in the smoldering glow of Didier Drogba’s late career, but their team was battling for first in the MLS. And although they haven’t yet won the MLS Cup, the Impact have had some success. In 2015, they played in the final of the CONCACAF’s Champions League, when over 60,000 fans came to the Olympic Stadium to watch them take on Mexico’s Club America.

It warms my heart to see soccer succeeding in North America. Montreal really seems to be behind their team, and we frequently see people wearing Impact gear in the city. If the atmosphere inside the stadium is any indication, the sport should have a bright future in Montreal.

Location of Stade Saputo
Montreal Impact – Website

Montreal Impact Gear

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May 9, 2016 at 10:09 pm Comments (0)

A Beginner’s Guide to Montreal

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The day after we arrived in Montreal, a freak snowstorm hit the city, stranding us indoors. We would have rather been outside exploring, but the bad weather provided an excuse for us to sit down and read about our new home. Here are the facts and figures that jumped out at us.

Snow Montreal

Size: With a total population of just over four million, Montreal is the largest city in Quebec, the second-largest in Canada, and just beats out Seattle as the nineteenth-largest city in North America. Although it’s not the capital of Quebec (that would be nearby Quebec City), Montreal is the undisputed center of the province’s culture and commerce.

Layout: Montreal occupies a large island roughly in the middle of Saint Lawrence River, which connects the Northern Atlantic with Lake Ontario. In the center of this island is a large hill called Mount Royal, which provides the city with its name. The Island of Montreal is the world’s most populated fresh-water island.

History: The city was founded in 1642 by French settlers, and quickly became the center of New France’s fur trade. Before the arrival of the Europeans, it had been home to various tribes of the First Nations, the indigenous people of Canada, particularly the Iroquois and Algonquin. The British took Quebec in 1760, after the Seven Years War, and Montreal became part of Canada.

Snow Montreal

Language: Les Montréalaise parlent Français, s’il vous plâit! But that’s not the whole story. French is definitely the dominant language in the city, but nearly 20% of residents are native English-speakers, while another 20% have another primary language (Italian, Arabic and Spanish are the most prominent, each at around 3%). Montreal is nothing if not multi-cultural, and you’ll also hear Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnamese and Greek in various pockets of the city.

Economy: Montreal boasts one of the world’s largest inland ports, and has traditionally been one of North America’s main railroad cities. Canada’s largest oil refinery was based here, though it closed in 2010. Important industries today include film and television, videogames, finance and the aerospace sector.

Culture: Approximately 72% of the city’s population have at one time been a member of the Cirque du Soleil, and you can’t walk down the sidewalk without getting kicked in the face by some clown flipping around on a curtain. But the city has a lot more to offer than acrobatics, including a seemingly endless supply of theaters, concert halls, festivals and clubs. Montreal has a legendary indie music scene, and is home to both the world’s largest jazz festival, as well as its largest comedy festival.

Sports: You might be shocked to learn that the most popular sport in this Canadian city is hockey. The Montreal Canadiens have won more Stanley Cups than any other NHL team, and are massively popular… although they’re currently in the midst of a long drought. Baseball had been popular here until 2004, when the Expos moved to Washington. In 2012, Major League Soccer expanded to the city with the Impact, who have proven popular. And Montreal is also home to one of the world’s most-watched televised sporting events: the Canadian Grand Prix, held on the Island of Notre Dame.

Cheap Flights to Montreal

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April 11, 2016 at 11:29 pm Comments (0)
The Impact at Stade Saputo In 2012, Major League Soccer expanded to Montreal, finally giving the city another top-tier team to follow besides the Canadiens. The Montreal Impact play in the Stade Saputo, within the Olympic Park, and we decided to check them out for a Saturday match against the Colorado Rapids.
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