MONTREAL — Ding ding... Round One to Montreal. But it ain't over yet.
Toronto FC fell, 2-1, to the Montreal Impact on Sunday's #DecisionDay, dropping down to the foot of the Eastern Conference playoff positions and setting up an epic postseason encounter in four days time.
Yes, the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs will feature another 401 Derby against Montreal, who moved up the third place in the East with the victory and will host Thursday's contest (7 pm ET; UniMas in US, TSN1/4/5, RDS1 or RDS2 in Canada).
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“It was an excellent first half,” said TFC coach Greg Vanney. “We probably should have taken out more than we did. Coming out of the gates in the second half, we were slow to everything. There was a stretch there of 10 to 15 minutes where we were late to everything. We weren't finding second balls, we were turning the ball over.
“It comes down to the mindset coming out of the locker room,” he added. “We started the second half passive and it cost us the night.”
TFC captain Michael Bradley agreed, calling the collapse a “two-minute stretch where we let ourselves down.”
As Altidore put it: “We fell asleep, gave up two soft goals. That's what happens when you have a player of that calibre in Drogba.”
Though hardly the desired result, TFC's attention turned swiftly towards the postseason. Toronto's first-ever playoff encounter will be against their hated rivals from Quebec, no doubt adding a little bit of extra spice to the occasion.
“All our focus and concentration is now put towards Thursday,” Bradley said. “We came here wanting to win, wanting a result … [our] job now is to take care of business here, so we get that home game on the weekend.”
“The game is over," said the US international. "We get the chance to play the same team again now. There's everything to play for. We look forward to [it].”
TFC have won at Stade Saputo before, and they believe they can do so again when they make their MLS postseason debut.
“We've got to learn from [this defeat],”said midfielder Jonathan Osorio. "It's good that something like that happened today, because this game means nothing.
“The real game is on Thursday.”