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Impact Defeat Toronto FC in First Leg of Canadian Championship semi-final

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Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off the heartbreaking defeat in the CONCACAF Champions League last week the Impact bounced back Wednesday night with a 1-0 victory over rivals Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship.

Back to Back Champs:

The Impact have won the last two Canadian Championships, and Wednesday night was the first step in making it three in a row. Toronto started a weakened side, electing to leave many of their starters at home, including: Giovinco, Altidore, Findley, and Jackson to name a few. The Impact on the other hand started a similar lineup to the one from a week ago against Club America, with the notable exceptions of Soumaré, Romero, and Piatti.

First Half Midfield Battle:

After the emotional loss in Champions League, it was tough and you saw that it took us a little longer to get into the game. - Frank Klopas

The first half was mainly contested in the midfield, with neither team able to carve out many scoring opportunities. From the Impact perspective the pairing of Ciman and Wandrille Lefèvre looked extremely solid. It was perhaps one of the best games that Lefèvre has played for the Impact, looking aggressive and confident throughout the match. The Impact controlled possession well in the first half however were not able to generate much in the final third of the pitch. The lack of play-making ability usually provided by Piatti, Duka, and Romero was lacking in the first half.

Jack Mac Breaks the Deadlock:

"I was lurking back post and Nigel played a good ball through, so it was an easy tap in for me. Getting the win was important because we have a lot of games coming up and we needed to set the tone." - Jack McInerney

The Impact started the second half more positively and hungry to attack the TFC end. Dominic Oduro pushed ahead of Jack McInerney in the attack and provided a different look. The offensive pushed payed off in the 68th-minute as Jack McInerney tapped in a perfectly placed cross from Nigel Reo-Coker. The American striker proved again that when given a good scoring opportunity he more often than not will finish.

Job Half Done:

The second leg of the Canadian Championships will go next Wednesday in Toronto, and there is no doubt Toronto will come out with a much stronger starting lineup. As the game went on Impact Head Coach Frank Klopas looked like he wanted to try and score another goal. Klopas brought on Piatti and Duka to try and hit Toronto on the counter, but the opportunity never presented itself. Despite the fact the Impact did not strike another goal they will be happy not to concede an away goal. If the Impact have one strength it is the counter-attack, and there is no doubt it will be on full display next Wednesday at the new look BMO Field in Toronto.

Up Next: Montreal make their long awaited return to MLS play this Saturday at Stade Saputo as they take on the Portland Timbers at 4:00pm.

Match Statistics and Quotes

Courtesy of the Montreal Impact:

LINEUPS

MTL - GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Nigel Reo-Coker, Wandrille Lefèvre, Laurent Ciman, Eric Miller; M-Patrice Bernier, Calum Mallace (Dilly Duka 71'), Maxim Tissot (Andrés Romero 61'), Eric Alexander, Dominic Oduro (Ignacio Piatti 74'); F-Jack McInerney

Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Bakary Soumare; M-Marco Donadel; F-Kenny Cooper

TOR - GK- Chris Konopka; D-Eriq Zavaleta, Justin Morrow, Nick Hagglund, Warren Creavalle; M- Collen Warner, Daniel Lovitz (Jay Chapman 74'), Jonathan Osorio, Marco Delgado, Michael Bradley (Benoit Cheyrou 73'); F- Luke Moore

Subs not used: GK-Quillan Roberts; D-Ashtone Morgan, Damien Perquis; M-Chris Mannella; F-Jordan Hamilton

GOAL

MTL - McInerney (Reo-Coker) 68'

CAUTIONS

MTL - Lefèvre 30'
MTL - Bernier 78'