Olivier Tremblay covers the Impact for MLSsoccer.com
MONTREAL – The Impact’s dramatic 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Union, last Saturday, relieved the tension wonderfully. But any other result this Saturday against Toronto FC would do the exact opposite.
Should TFC again keep Montreal winless at BMO Field, Montreal would then sit nervously and hope for a New England, Chicago or Houston slip-up on Sunday. And that doesn’t sit too well with the Impact, as the general feeling is that it would only be fair if every game kicked off simultaneously on the final day.
“But it doesn’t change our attitude,” head coach Marco Schällibaum told reporters on Tuesday. “We’re going to Toronto with only one objective: winning.”
A win would lock third place for Montreal in the Eastern Conference and spark wild celebrations in the away supporters section, but mostly, it would send them to their first-ever postseason.
The scenario is not too dissimilar to June 18, 2009, when the Reds then won the last group game of the Canadian Championship 6-1 at Stade Saputo and lifted the first trophy of their young history. Then a second-division club, the Montreal Impact has changed much since, but this Saturday still represents an opportunity to get back at them.
The circumstances have shifted; already eliminated from the Canadian Championship in 2009, Montreal had a league game on the weekend and seemingly no interest in playing spoilers – for TFC at least. But with no fixture left for Toronto, the 2013 Impact expect them to relish that opportunity.
“This will make their season,” goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. “If they can knock us out of the playoffs, or even knock us down to that fifth spot where we have to play an extra game, it’d be great for them. For them to get a result, the way they’ve had this whole season, would be a huge relief for them going into next year.”
Similarly, given that Montreal just snapped a six-game winless streak last weekend with their win over Philadelphia, a first-ever win at BMO Field would be a tremendous boost going into the playoffs.
“The morale is very high,” Schällibaum said. “With those strong emotions, I even feared that the stadium might explode when the 2-1 goal went in. We lived very nice, intense moments. [The players] are in top shape mentally now that they’ve experienced that all-important release from the previous games. They’re in top shape, very motivated for Saturday’s game.”