The Montreal Impact will meet the Toronto FC for a 2nd consecutive time at the Big O (Olympic Stadium) but in a different context. In a tournament setting like the Amway Canadian Championship, you can pretty much wipe out any pre-conceptions on the previous encounter between both teams in MLS...well not totally.
One big challenge for the Montreal Impact will be the fact that they will be facing a team that is losing ( 0-7 in MLS) but hungry, desperate. Add to that a progress in the way they have played and what has been produced on the field and tonight's game will be very different than the previous encounter...at least in the context surrounding it. As much as TFC's defense is still porous as it continues to allows avoidable goals, the team still presents it self with a good goalkeeper in Kocic and the return of Torsten Frings.
The battle of the midfield will still stay the same and the Montreal Impact will want to pressure the opposite midfield and asphyxiate them but they now face Bundesliga and '' Die deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft '' veteran, Torsten Frings. He will bring and already did add a totally different perspective to the TFC midfield: give him too much space and he will burn you and distribute the ball to his teammates like if its candy so expect a lot of defensive work from one side of the midfield to the other. Even when challenged, if TFC is organised enough to provide quick solutions to Frings so that he can release the ball quickly, other players will be able to help out, including the young Eric Avila who will certainly have a certain impact (no pun intended).
For Montreal, it will come again to the same basics that saw them be competitive in games throughout the season: aggressive, tactical and smart soccer. Get the ball back as fast possible, make the rhythm of the game your own and find spaces behind the opposite team`s defense. They have shown to do more as they have mixed it up with counter attacks and calm construction of plays (as they did against the Portland Timbers).
Once again, team unity before the individual and the individual at the service of unit.
More after the jump..
What: 2012 Amway Canadian Championship
When: Wednesday, May 12, 2012, 8pm (ET)
Where: Olympic Stadium, Montreal
Watch it on: Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Montreal Impact -- OUT: DF Zarek Valentin (R calf contusion); DOUBTFUL: MF Justin Mapp (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Nelson Rivas (L hamstring strain); DF Gienir Garcia (L knee contusion); MF Davy Arnaud (L hamstring strain)
Toronto FC -- OUT: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); MF Nick Soolsma (L hamstring strain)
Montreal Impact: Ricketts; Wahl, Ferrari, Thomas, Brovsky; Neagle, Warner, Felipe, Arnaud; Nyassi, Corradi
Toronto FC: Kocic; Morgan, Aceval, Cann, Eckersley; De Guzman, Frings, Dunfield; Avila, Johnson, Lambe.
Jesse Marsch on the importance of the ACC
We are definitely putting a heavy emphasis on the Canadian Championship. As an organization, this tournament has brought with it a lot of notoriety to the city. Nick [De Santis] spoke to the guys this morning about how this is very important to us and the team, from top to bottom. We will make sure we address this competition in a real way. But at the same time, we can't disregard the league, because we need the points. Lucky for us we have a deep roster. We will be using a lot of guys this month.
Matt Jordan adds on to that importance
There were two games that I feel were defining moments in our club's recent history," said Impact director of soccer operations Matt Jordan, who was the team's starting goalkeeper that year. "The first was when we won the Canadian Championship in Toronto. That game gave us a lot of credibility in MLS circles.
To be a second division club that qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League group stage and advance to the quarterfinals against Santo Laguna gave our club more international recognition. Hosting the first leg in front of a 55,571 spectators; that is what put us on the map, especially throughout the CONCACAF region. Those events helped us get to where we are today.
** Thank you to the Montreal Impact for providing the quotes and video **
Pre-game chat with the Montreal Impact