The Two Solitudes Derby is one of the most exciting rivalries in Major League Soccer. Today we take an in-depth look at what was, for many, the day it truly became so thrilling.
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A Match for the Ages
Patrice Bernier and Hassoun Camara weren’t selected for the player profile solely for their passion. They also played a big role in one particularly important Two Solitudes Derby game.
The date was October 18th, 2014, at BMO Field. Toronto had two games remaining in the season, and needed to win both to even have a shot at making the playoffs. With their very first postseason berth on the line, and their biggest rival in town, you can imagine the stakes were high for Toronto FC in this game.
Montreal, on the other hand, were just looking at this match as a consolation prize. They had already all but assured their dead-last finish in the league by this point - #frankklopas - but had stolen the Voyageurs Cup from Toronto on an away goal, coming in a 1-1 draw at BMO Field in June. It would have been a satisfying end to a disappointing season to kick Toronto while they were down, so the Impact, too, were out for blood.
Bernier, ever the hometown boy, said before the match:
THE CANADIAN IN ME WANTS A CANADIAN TEAM TO QUALIFY [FOR THE PLAYOFFS]. BUT THE MONTREAL GUY, THE QUEBECER, WOULDN’T MIND STOPPING THEM FROM MAKING THE PLAYOFFS.
Still, if you asked fans that morning if there was a strong, fiery rivalry between the two teams, they probably would have said no.
A Chippy Start
Camara was given an early yellow card after just four minutes of play for a rough tackle against Toronto DP Gilberto. This was Camara’s tenth yellow on the season, and he drew 7 the year before, which earned him a reputation.
Fifteen minutes later, Warren Creavalle opened the scoring for Toronto, with Camara and Bush sharing the blame for it. Both misread a deflected ball that went high into the air inside the 18 yard box and were not in place to defend Creavalle’s shot.
For a moment, Toronto’s playoff dream seemed like it wasn’t quite dead. Then, in the thirty ninth minute, Bernier and Andres Romero combined to set up Felipe Martins for the equalizer. Bernier’s perfect long ball from midfield to the 18 was highlight reel material, up there Calum Mallace’s ball for Cameron Porter in the CCL semifinals.
The half finished without much incident, and the second half started similarly. Matteo Ferrari earned a yellow card in the 55th minute for a tackle that looked a lot like Camara’s early shenanigans, but it was generally your standard rivalry game fare until the last ten minutes of play.
At that point, the game descended into complete madness.
An Absence of Sanity
Heath Pearce tackled then-Toronto FC player Dominic Oduro and got a straight red with 8 minutes left of regulation time. Players from both teams were shoving each other in the aftermath, and the referree could barely contain them.
In the 86th minute, after struggling to clear the ball away from both Oduro and Doneil Henry, Montreal turned over one too many times and Dwayne De Rosario got a clear shot on net. Luckily for the Impact, he shot it high over the goal.
Just after that, Jackson was given a yellow for what can really only be described as a body check against Eric Miller. Again, both teams swarmed the ref and shoved each other.
Evan Bush was given a yellow card for time wasting in the 90th minute.
After a half-hearted Toronto attempt at goal, Issey Nakajima-Farran and Marco Di Vaio nearly put one away in the 93rd minute on a Montreal counterattack, but were thwarted by TFC ‘keeper Joe Bendik, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
On the resulting corner, Jonathan Osorio tackled Felipe. In his classic style, Felipe embellished, and Osorio and was given a straight red card. Bendik shouted at the ref, and then picked Felipe up off the ground to prove he was faking.
Bendik took a yellow for his actions (in the books as “dissent”), and with tensions high, De Rosario and Camara both picked up a yellow in the 95th and final minute of the game after tripping one another during a TFC attacking run. Camara’s second yellow saw him off the field, and the game ended in chaotic disaster, fitting after both teams’ disappointing seasons.
Toronto was out of the playoffs, defeated again by a 1-1 draw at home. Three players were sent off the field and suspended for the end of their seasons.
This was the day that the Two Solitudes Derby was truly born.