Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush knows that better than any current player, as he originally joined Montreal the season before they came to MLS. Along the way, there has been countless matches against Toronto.
“Oh yeah, I hate them more than any team," Bush told MLSsoccer.com without hesitation. "Absolutely. You have some rivalries across the league that come and go, but the Toronto-Montreal rivalry was a thing long before I arrived here. It’s organic.”
The two cities have a fierce rivalry in hockey, between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs, as well as a cultural divide.
“There’s real hatred between the cities outside of soccer," he added. "That transcends any kind of sporting event in the city.”
In all of those matches, two moments stand out as Bush's favorite. The first dates all the way back to 2013 in the Canadian Championship, the Impact's famous 6-0 thrashing of Toronto. The second came in the 2015 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, Toronto's first ever appearance.
The rivals played each other at the end of the regular season that essentially set which club would host the game. Montreal won and Toronto weren't too fussed, something Bush took exception to.
“Either Jozy [Altidore] or [Jonathan] Osorio made some comments after the game, something along the lines of that game didn’t matter," Bush said. "Then they come in and Patrice [Bernier] scores the first goal, a storybook setting. Nacho [Piatti] was killing their backline, we had Didier [Drogba] at the time. That was incredible.”
Montreal's 3-0 win was their first MLS playoff victory in club history. Toronto didn't have to wait long to get revenge, beating Montreal in the iconic 2016 Eastern Conference final, 7-5 over two legs.
“I’ve been on the good and the bad side of this rivalry, for sure," Bush said. “That’s the beauty of this rivalry."