Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact: The history behind the rivalry

The Canadian Classique, one of MLS's most fierce and well-named rivalries in the league, pits two Canadian clubs Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact against each other. 

Often clashing for memorable matches in MLS and the Canadian Championship, the rivalry renews once against on Wednesday in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final. Here's a look back at the rivalry.

Roots of the rivalry

Montreal vs. Toronto, in any sport, will spark animosity. It's been no different in soccer.

As the two teams are now, their first competitive match against each other came before MLS, in the inaugural Voyageurs Cup in 2008. Toronto took that first meeting 1-0 at Stade Saputo, the first seed of shared history between the clubs, though Montreal won the first iteration of that tournament and qualified for the Concacaf Champions League. Toronto got revenge the next season, scoring six unanswered goals in a 6-1 victory en route to their first of four successive trophies in the Canadian Championship. 

Their first MLS match came in 2012, in front of a big crowd at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, where the Impact drew first blood with a 2-1 win. 

Memorable moments

The first time the rivalry turned to the playoffs was in 2015. A star-studded affair, featuring Didier Drogba, Nacho Piatti and Patrice Bernier vs. Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley at Stade Saputo. It was Toronto's first playoff appearance in club history, too. 

Montreal stormed Toronto, winning convincingly in front of their home fans 3-0 in a Knockout Round game. 

A year later, Toronto would have their revenge. 

This time in the Eastern Conference Championship over two legs, the two clubs played out an instant-classic north of the border. The Impact took a 3-2 lead after leg one into Toronto -- which could have been worse as they got out to a 3-0 lead. There were more goals to be had in the second leg, as the Impact kept their lead on aggregate in the 53rd minute at 5-4 before TFC equalized and sent the game to overtime, where two extra-time TFC goals sent the club to their first-ever MLS Cup berth.

Altidore leads the rivalry in goals with 11, trailed closely by Piatti and Giovinco with 10 each.

MLS regular season series

2012: In their first season together in MLS, the sides split the three matches with a win each and a draw, though Toronto had the superior goal difference. Sinisa Ubiparipovic scored the first goal for the rivalry in its MLS era. 

2013: Again, the two sides had to settle to split the three games. This time, the goal difference was even as well.

2014: The first clear winner over a season, Toronto won one and tied one against Montreal. Gilberto and Luke Moore had the goals in TFC's triumph. 

2015: Toronto again took the season series a year later, with two wins out of three. Montreal had the last laugh in the playoffs. Altidore, Bradley and Giovinco debuted for TFC this season while Drogba first appeared for Montreal. 

2016: The teams split 2016, a win each and a draw once more, before Toronto saw past Montreal in the playoffs to make MLS Cup final, where they fell to the Seattle Sounders

2017: Toronto took the season series, winning two of three, though the lone MTL victory was a memorable 5-3 affair, still the most combined goals scored in one game throughout the rivalry. TFC won the MLS Supporters' Shield, Canadian Championship and MLS Cup. 

2018: For the first time, Montreal took the season series against TFC. They won twice, helping doom Toronto to missing the playoffs a year after their treble. 

2019: This season, Toronto's dominance over Montreal has helped push the Impact to the wrong side of the playoffs line. TFC won both meetings this year.

Canadian Championship history

2008: Montreal win the first Voyaguers Cup despite Toronto beating the Impact once and drawing once.

2009: Toronto win first Canadian Championship, beat Montreal twice.

2010: A repeat of 2009.

2012: TFC beat Montreal over two legs in the semifinals and go on to win the tournament.

2013: Montreal trounce Toronto 6-0 in the second leg of the semifinals, go on to beat Vancouver in the final.

2014: The two teams meet in the final for the first time as Montreal win 2-1 on aggregate thanks to a 91st minute winner from Felipe in the second leg.

2015: Montreal advance on away goals in the semifinals with Dominic Oduro providing the all important goal. The Impact fall in the final to Vancouver.

2016: Toronto advance to the final 4-2 on aggregate over the Impact as Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton each score braces in the first leg. The Reds go on to lift the cup.

2017: Sebastian Giovinco scores two second half goals in the second half of the final against Montreal to lead Toronto to their second straight win.

2019: The Montreal Impact get their revenge. After Piatti and Tsubasa Endoh traded goals over two legs, Montreal outlasted TFC in penalties to lift the Canadian Championship. 


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