MONTREAL – Toronto FC’s woeful start to the 2012 season isn’t fooling the Montreal Impact.
Last Wednesday, Montreal welcomed a TFC team that needed a result badly and duly put on a good defensive performance, stifling the Impact’s attackers on the way to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal.
With the Reds certainly looking to go one step further during the second leg at BMO Field on Wednesday night (8 pm ET, Sportsnet Ontario, TVA Sport), the Impact will expect their hosts to be more daring while they, on the other hand, will try to build on their huge 2-0 away win at Sporting Kansas City last Saturday.
While Montreal are coming off the upset of the season so far in MLS, they have also failed to beat Toronto in the seven ACC games they have played against them. Their good league form gives them hope to turn this situation around, but they insist there is no room for complacency.
“[Our players’] confidence is high because we felt all along that we’ve done good things here, but the results haven't come,” head coach Jesse Marsch told reporters on Tuesday. “Now the results are coming and I think we're being validated and rewarded for everything that we've put into it. The key for us, at this moment, is to make sure that the confidence doesn’t lead to complacency and over-confidence.”
As this semifinal is also a rivalry matchup, the emotions involved sometimes overtake tactics and team selection during the course of the game. For Eduardo Sebrango, a veteran of the Canadian Championship, Toronto’s difficult season and the different consequences it can have on their players mean that Montreal will have to adjust their emotional approach as well.
“Obviously, they’re going through a really, really difficult time,” the Cuban forward said. “I'm sure that in the locker room, it’s not good right now. But every game is different. I think we have to make sure we control our attitude, our performance and our passion. If we do that, we can create trouble for them.”
Like many of his teammates, Gambian international Sanna Nyassi had never taken part in a Canadian Championship before last week. While he does not hold a Canadian passport, he feels being a part of this competition is the next best thing.
“Even though we’re not Canadians, we feel like we’re Canadians right now,” Nyassi explained. “Being part of this is great. We’re excited to be part of this.”