TORONTO — With the MLS Cup final coming just 16 days before Christmas, snow and cold have been a concern. But Toronto FC woke up to a wall of fog Sunday.
Players all but disappeared as they walked onto the training pitch mid-morning.
"Different, for me," Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez said later with a chuckle. "It was my first time like this but at least it wasn't that cold. I prefer to train like this than with snow or wind or something like that.
"It was nice. We move on. We do (a) good training and be focused for next Saturday."
Added midfielder Jonathan Osorio: "It was OK. it wasn't cold."
The thick fog dissipated as practice wore on and the sun was out by the time the players had left, with an above-seasonal average temperature of some seven degrees Celsius.
"It burned off really by the time we got going." said coach Greg Vanney. "It was fine, it was almost like the fog kept it a little bit warmer maybe.
"I was a little concerned when I got in early that it might not clear off and that we might had to go inside because I don't think we could see 30 feet in front of ourselves ... It ended up being OK and it looks like it's going to be a nice day. And it looks like it's turning a little bit for next Saturday."
Vanney has been keeping a close eye on the weather both for game day at BMO Field and the days leading up.
The forecast for Saturday — when Toronto hosts the defending champion Seattle Sounders in an MLS Cup final rematch at BMO Field — is a few flurries with a daytime temperature of zero. There is a 40 per cent chance of precipitation.
Kickoff is 4 p.m. local time, as opposed to 8 p.m. last year.
The league said temperature on the field at game time for the 2016 final were -2 C, the second-coldest temperature reading for an MLS Cup final. The temperature at the 2013 final in Kansas City hovered around -6 C at kickoff, making it the coldest match since 2003 when the league first started recording game-time temperatures.
None of the Toronto starters wore tuques in the warmup at last year's championship game. Some of the Sounders, in contrast, looked like they were ready for the Iditarod.
Defender Nick Hagglund, an Ohio native, is one of the hardiest TFC players. Hagglund favours shorts, whatever the weather in training. Centre back Drew Moor also seems unfazed by the weather, no matter what it is.
In Seattle it was seven degrees and mostly cloudy Sunday. The Sounders arrive in Toronto on Wednesday evening.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press