Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact | MLS Match Preview

TORONTO FC vs MONTREAL IMPACT
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
Oct. 26, 2013 (WEEK 35, MLS Game #315)
4 p.m. ET (UDN; TSN/RDS)

The Canadian rivalry will bring the 2013 MLS regular season to an end in a crucial match in the Eastern Conference as Toronto FC play host to the Montreal Impact at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon. TFC are already eliminated from postseason consideration, coming off a 1-0 defeat at Chicago last weekend. But the Impact kept alive their dreams of a first MLS playoff spot after their come-from-behind 2-1 home win vs. Philadelphia last weekend; a win against their arch rivals and they will secure a postseason place in their second MLS season.

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REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Philippe Briere; AR2 (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 22 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 9; pens: 1

DISABLED LIST: MTL: Adrian Lopez (season ending injury), Maximiliano Rodriguez
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Gale Agbossoumonde, Steven Caldwell, Matias Laba, Darel Russell, Bobby Convey, Ashtone Morgan … MTL: Jeb Brovsky, Marco Di Vaio, Hassoun Camara, Andres Romero
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (MLS) (5 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 8 goals … Impact 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 2
AT TORONTO (2 meeting): Toronto FC 0 wins, 4 goals … Impact 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 2

2013 (MLS)
3/16: MTL 2, TOR 1 (Bernier 34, Di Vaio 46 – Earnshaw 68)
7/3: TOR 3, MTL 3 (Brockie 6; Caldwell 21; O'Dea 24 – Romero 1, Camara 69, Di Vaio 70)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season in league play. First-half goals from Patrice Bernier and Marco Di Vaio sent the Impact on their way to a 2-1 win March 16 in Montreal; the teams played to a wild 3-3 draw at BMO Field on July 3.
  • The teams also met in the semifinals of the Canadian Championship. TFC won the first leg 2-0 at home, but Di Vaio scored two and set up two others as the Impact won the second leg 6-0 on their way to a second Canadian national title.
  • Since coming to MLS, the Impact have not won in Toronto, with two losses and two draws in four meetings in all competitions at BMO Field.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. MTL: P2 W0 L1 T1 … Marco Schallibaum vs. TOR: P2 W1 L0 T1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The opening goal came only 23 seconds into the match – the fifth-fastest in league history – when Andres Romero took advantage of a defensive error by TFC captain Darren O’Dea and hammered home a shot from inside the penalty area.
  • TFC answered back five minutes later when Jeremy Brockie hit a well-placed shot through in traffic in the Montreal box. The Reds then took the lead in the 21st minute when Brockie delivered a cross that central defender Steven Caldwell powerfully headed past Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
  • Toronto FC made it 3-1 three minutes later when O’Dea latched onto a return pass and made a forceful run into the Impact box before blasting a powerful shot into the bottom right corner.
  • But the Impact stormed back to tie the game with two goals less than a minute apart. In the 69th minute, Hassoun Camara chased down a bouncing ball in the box after heading down a long pass and put it past Toronto ‘keeper Joe Bendik. Then a minute later, Felipe found a hard-charging Marco Di Vaio making a run to the far side of the box, and the Italian striker buried a shot past Bendik.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Ryan Richter, Steven Caldwell, Gale Agbossoumonde, Darren O'Dea - Reggie Lambe (Danny Koevermans 84), Darel Russell (Jeremy Hall 77), Matias Laba, Bobby Convey - Luis Silva (Justin Braun 75), Jeremy Brockie.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky - Patrice Bernier (Collen Warner 66) - Andres Romero, Felipe Martins, Davy Arnaud (Sanna Nyassi 61) - Daniele Paponi (Blake Smith 86), Marco Di Vaio.

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC suffered their fourth consecutive road defeat and second successive 1-0 loss, falling to the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. TFC sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 33 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came after the Fire received a penalty kick in the 63rd minute when Mike Magee's free kick struck Jonathan Osorio's arm as he manned TFC's wall inside the 18-yard-box and referee Edvin Jurisevic pointed to the spot. Magee chipped the resulting spot kick past TFC Stefan Frei, who went diving the other way.
  • TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made four changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Stefan Frei came in between the posts in place of the suspended Joseph Bendik, and Kyle Bekker, Reggie Lambe and Robert Earnshaw all started in place of Darel Russell, Jeremy Hall and Bobby Convey.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Mark Bloom, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Ashtone Morgan - Alvaro Rey, Jonathan Osorio, Kyle Bekker, Reggie Lambe - Robert Earnshaw (Andrew Wiedeman 72), Bright Dike (Justin Braun 82).

TEAM NEWS

  • Toronto FC were shut out for a fourth consecutive road match, and finish their travels for 2013 without a goal away from home in 405 minutes.
  • “It was a really good away performance,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “These are high-pressure games away from home, with the crowd up for it and against teams that are playoff teams. One thing that gives us a lot of confidence is how we competed even with the injuries we have, and with us playing lot of young players against a team where even their bench has far more experience than our starters.”
  • While Toronto FC have been eliminated from playoff contention for a few weeks, the Impact match will be a third consecutive contest against teams fighting for the final playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.
  • “I think that anyone that’s been or seen the last two matches between Philadelphia and Fire, we are treating these games as being extremely important to us because we are building the team and hoping to be in this position next season. We’re putting everything into them. We’ve been extremely unlucky with two games and coming away with nothing,” Nelsen said. “We will be going out there next week, last home game, last game of the season and we’ll be trying to get the three points against our rivals.”
  • With Joe Bendik suspended after being sent off following the final whistle in the Philadelphia match, Stefan Frei made his first league appearance of the season. Frei had played in goal for Toronto FC for both of their matches in the Canadian Championship.
  • “That save that Stefan made would probably be for me, the save of the season. … He walks into 80 or 90 per cent of any MLS team and he’s the starting goalkeeper. He walks into there and he starts. That’s so lucky for us to have,” Nelsen said. “Unfortunately Joe’s been so good as well. He’s been absolutely fantastic. And he hasn’t had many games and then to come and put a performance like that is a credit to Stefan.”
  • Robert Earnshaw returned to the TFC lineup in attack, his first start since being forced off the field early in the Sept.11 loss to Chicago with an ankle injury.
  • Kyle Bekker made just his second start of the season – his first since playing the full 90 minutes in the season opener vs. Vancouver on March 2.
  • Reggie Lambe also returned to the starting lineup in the midfield, making his first start since Sept. 7 and playing 90 minutes in a wide role. Lambe had come off the substitutes’ bench each of the last three matches.
  • “The two guys in the middle were outstanding,” said defender Steven Caldwell. “I felt that Reggie Lambe on the left and Kyle Bekker coming in and not having an opportunity all season and probably being frustrated with that, and comes into a big game and play so well, and in a role that is not his favored role. He defended a lot and was breaking things up. I am extremely proud of them, they were magnificent.”
  • After returning to full training, winger Bobby Convey is expected to feature in the season finale.
  • “I sprained my ankle pretty bad in the game against Philadelphia and I wasn’t able to recover in time for our last game,” Convey added. “We tried to tape it and do different things, but it was pretty bad. The trainer wanted me to sit out and I think it was good move and it made sense. Now I have been able to train for a full week before a game instead of trying to train on a Friday and then maybe playing on a Saturday.”

MONTREAL IMPACT

The Montreal Impact put an end to their winless and shutout streaks in dramatic fashion, getting two late goals for a 2-1 come-from-behind win vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with 49 points from 33 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Union seized the lead in the 29th minute. Kleberson’s tremendous through ball found Fabinho’s run on the left, which was followed by an accurate, powerful finish from an acute angle into the roof of the net.
  • But the Impact found a breakthrough in the 64th minute. Davy Arnaud played a short pass behind him to Marco Di Vaio, who turned on a Union defender and curled a shot with his right foot, the ball bouncing off a defender but still finding the back of the net to level the score.
  • Then in the 84th minute, Impact winger Justin Mapp took a free kick which ultimately reached a wide-open Karl W. Ouimette at the far post, and the youngster’s header hit bodies along the way but somehow trickled past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath for the winner.
  • Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum made six changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Alessandro Nesta and Matteo Ferrari came into the back four for Maxim Tissot and Wandrille Lefevre, and Davy Arnaud, Patrice Bernier, Justin Mapp and Felipe Martins came into the side in place of Andrea Pisanu, Collen Warner, Sanna Nyassi and Andrew Wenger.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Alessandro Nesta (Wandrille Lefevre 89), Matteo Ferrari, Karl Ouimette - Davy Arnaud (Andrea Pisanu 71), Hernan Bernardello, Patrice Bernier (Andrew Wenger 53), Justin Mapp - Felipe Martins, Marco Di Vaio.

TEAM NEWS

  • With a victory vs. their arch-rivals, the Impact will clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs in their second season in the league. If the Chicago Fire also win but score five goals less than Montreal, the Impact will finish in third place.
  • “This will make their season,” Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. “If they can knock us out of the playoffs, or even knock us down to that fifth spot where we have to play an extra game, it’d be great for them. For them to get a result, the way they’ve had this whole season, would be a huge relief for them going into next year.”
  • The win ended a three-game losing streak at Stade Saputo ñ the longest ever for the Impact – and snapped a six-game winless streak overall.
  • “I’m really proud of my team, of everyone who's been through these tough moments, weeks, months,” head coach Marco Schallibaum said. “It sets us free, it’s incredible. The emotions are impressive. I’m drained right now. It was a really tough week. I’m really happy for everyone. We deserved this win, with rage and will power. It’s a great moment.”
  • The Marco Di Vaio goal that started the second-half comeback was the Impact’s first since Sept. 28, following three consecutive attacking shutouts. It was 337 minutes between goals, the eighth-longest streak this season in MLS.
  • Di Vaio scored his 20th goal of the season, tied with Chicago’s Mike Magee atop the MLS Golden Boot standings. The pair became the 11th and 12th players in MLS history to score at least 20 goals in a season.
  • “It’s great for me and for the team,” Di Vaio said. “If I score, but we don’t get to a certain level, it’s not enough and I'm not happy. But with the goals and – maybe – the playoffs, I’m very happy. Both things are important to me. I want to help the team get to that level. Hopefully, next week in Toronto, we achieve that. We’ll see.”
  • Di Vaio has nine goals over the last 11 matches, since Aug. 17, in a span where the Impact have scored 16 goals as a club.
  • “I am so happy to finally score again and help the team move up in the standings,” said Di Vaio. “We've had a tough stretch of five or six games, and to come out the way we did in the second half, after being a goal down, we showed character.”
  • Karl W. Ouimette scored his first professional goal, making a second consecutive start in the back line, his first starts since making three in a row in late March-early April.
  • “Coming into the game, I felt that the coaching staff had confidence in me,” said Ouimette. “They asked me to play a position that I never played before in a game. I didn't sleep last night but was hoping to score a big goal for the team. It was an incredible feeling.”