MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact couldn’t have dreamed of a more appealing opportunity to bounce back.
Wednesday's opponents for Marco Schällibaum’s men are archrivals Toronto FC (7 pm ET, TSN2/RDS in Canada/watch on MLS Live in US), and the timing couldn't be better for the Impact, four days after suffering a last-ditch 4-3 defeat against the Colorado Rapids.
While avoiding a second straight defeat for the first time this season is reason enough for Montreal wanting to respond, TFC provide them with an added incentive: Montreal have never won at BMO Field. They've lifted a trophy on the banks of Lake Ontario, winning the Voyageurs Cup there in 2008), but they've racked up a 0-4-2 record in all competitions at Toronto's home ground since it opened.
“We’re lucky that it is a rivalry game,” defender Jeb Brovsky said when asked about this fixture after Saturday’s game. “If we’re not [champing] at the bit now, it's never going to happen. It’s a sign of a good team to bounce back from a loss like this, and I hope we can come back and be even stronger.”
It could be argued that Montreal have never been in a better position to notch a first-ever win at their rivals’ home. Despite the loss this weekend, Montreal are still in first place in the East, one point ahead of New York Red Bulls with three games in hand and a points per game average just short of two.
Moreover, Gold Cup call-ups will deprive TFC of four players and a coach, while the Impact suffer no such fate. Nonetheless, for midfielder Patrice Bernier, whom the Canadian Soccer Association last called upon in October 2012, the Reds remain a challenge every single time.
“They’re a team from our conference against whom we must take the points away from home,” Bernier said on Saturday. “They’re always intense games, and we have to expect more of the same. The points will be essential to maintain our position.”