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Rivalry Or Not?: Even Altidore Is on the Fence

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A statement made by Jozy Altidore of Toronto FC leaves the Impact community a little on edge.

MLS: MLS CUP-Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

A week and half after the Montreal Impact’s win against Toronto FC, it seems that the banter is not over. Armen Bedakian of theScore released a statement from the American forward Jozy Altidore:

With reason, the comment is not sitting well with Impact fans; most times when you say no disrespect it is because the comment is disrespectful. This comment in itself is aggravating because, just a little over 7 months ago Altidore made the following statement when discussing an upcoming game against the Montreal Impact (per John Molinaro of Sportsnet).

“It’s a great rivalry. (They’re) a good team, they have great fans. But I would love it if they missed the playoffs at our expense. That’d be beautiful,”

So what changed? According to Altidore the fact that Toronto FC has last years trophies under their belt, they are now to good for the rivalry? In all seriousness, this claim is hard to understand because it is not the championships the teams have that makes the rivalry but rather the proximity of both cities and the history between the teams.

MLS: Toronto FC at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

A rivalry is one of those games that has a special meaning to it, every time, in any situation. A rivalry is a game where no matter the quality of the teams, the winner is almost always a toss up. A rivalry is a game where cards, bad fouls, and some very angry men are not out of the ordinary. With 9 draws, 11 wins for the Impact and 19 for Toronto and multiple cards going both ways how can anyone argue this isn’t a rivalry. The atmosphere is special days before the game and days after (clearly longer to some than others given the timing of his statement).

I honestly think the comment made by Altidore was to get a rise out of Impact fans, well at least I hope so because everything about this derby screams rivalry. Impact fans shouldn’t read too much into it as this isn’t the first time Altidore has made distasteful comments towards the Impact and it probably isn’t the last.