At the moment the big game is ON!
I’ve had confirmation from the Montreal Impact that this is so, however some sources in Toronto have suggested to me the possibility of a late postponement remains very real.
I also have unconfirmed reports that Toronto FC are flying Montreal this morning.
If there is an intention on the players’ part to strike however, it could be that by TFC travelling all the way to Montreal then having the game called off at last minute would maximize exposure for the protest movement.
We shall see, but it’s certainly all systems go right now at Stade Saputo in anticipation of the match taking place.
Montreal Impact come into tonight’s game knowing a defeat will have serious consequences for the defence of the Canadian Championship they captured so joyously at BMO Field last September.
Avoiding defeat is paramount in that respect, a win of course is even more welcome, but the Impact do not need to be gung-ho just yet. Both they and TFC have made 100% starts to the Canadian Championship campaign and although in that regard something must give tonight, IMFC will have another chance to topple the red machine at Stade Saputo on 9 September. In-between, BMO Field will also host the sides on Tuesday night (Sept 1).
So, with the sides becoming ever more familiar with each other over the next week or so, some tight games can be expected.
Both outfits of course will also be well aware of the importance of this series of games for MLS play-off contention. Certainly it’s not all about the Canadian Championship.
Each club is well-placed in the Eastern Conference. TFC carrying the best MLS regular season form into the meeting (17 games undefeated), lie second, and Montreal Impact, 5th, but three points tonight would see them climb to the heady heights of 3rd.
That 17-match unbeaten run for Toronto looks impressive, and while they’ve been solid on the road, only one game has been won on hostile territory. That was when Cincinnati were defeated 5-1 in Ohio. Six have been drawn.
Add to that another two stalemates in the neutrality of Orlando (where of course they defeated the Impact by the odd goal in seven recently) and only two wins in ten, away from fortress BMO Field, creates a slightly different perspective.
For sure they are formidable and difficult to beat away from home, but haven’t recorded too many three pointers.
Against struggling Vancouver there were encouraging signs for Montreal fans. Their side looked much better balanced than at any other time under the Henry reign, had a much more enterprising approach and found some neat intricate passing patterns. They also scored twice and could (should) have had more.
Whether they can replicate the positives from Tuesday night against this evening’s higher quality opposition is the acid test. It will also be interesting to see how Luis Binks, consummately comfortable when faced by Lucas Cavallini, copes with his latest challenge, Jozy Altidore.
For Montreal there is almost a full bill of health. Steeven Saba remains sidelined, probably so too, Mathieu Choiniere and Ballou Tabla, although Bojan Krkic may have regained fitness enough to occupy a place at least on the bench.
Toronto appear to have all key players fit and should be at full strength.
Projected Line-ups -
IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Camacho, Binks, Raitala - Piette, Wanyama, Maciel, Taider - Quioto, Lappalainen
TFC - Westberg - Auro, Gonzalez, Mavinga, Laryea - Delgado, Bradley - Piatti, Pozuelo, Osorio - Altidore
Match Officials -
Referee - David Gantar
Assistant Ref - Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho, Stephanie Fortin
4th Official - Silviu Petrescu
VAR - Drew Fisher
Barring a late decision there will be a match at Stade Saputo this evening.
At the moment the big game is ON!