MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact came out blazing in the second half, coming from behind with two goals by striker Didier Drogba to beat Toronto FC 2-1 on MLS Decision Day, on Sunday, in front of a fifth sellout in the last six games at Stade Saputo.
The win secured the third seed in the Eastern Conference for IMFC and a first ever playoff home game on Thursday at 7pm at Stade Saputo, in the opening Knockout Round of the playoffs, against Toronto FC. 2015 Playoff packages and individual tickets are available via Ticketmaster.ca or the Impact ticket office at 514-328-3668.
"It’s a special moment for us," said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. "We’ve had some big moments this year with Champions League, but we play in this league to win and now that we are in the playoffs, we have a big game against Toronto."
Toronto FC opened the scoring in the 45th minute when Sebastian Giovinco played a pinpoint cross from the left flank right onto the head of Jozy Altidore, who hit it back to the opposite post.
Didier Drogba then did his thing after halftime, using a cheeky back heel to convert a Nacho Piatti cross in the 52nd minute.
One minute later, the Ivorian Legend did it again, redirecting a Marco Donadel cross, this time with the outside of his foot, for his 11th of the season. On the play, Piatti recorded a sixth game-winning assist this season to top MLS.
"We were a little too individualistic in the first half, but when we simplified things in the second, we were successful," said Drogba. "We were much more dangerous in the second half. Playing Toronto again is going to be difficult. They are a great team with good players, but we will do our best to win this important game for the fans and the city of Montreal."
"Didier is all class," said defender Donny Toia. "Our confidence is up there. Getting that win to end the year is huge and now we have to get the job done against them in the playoffs."
Goalkeeper Evan Bush had another stellar outing, helping the Impact to its highest win total since joining MLS, 15 overall and 11 at home, making two point blank stops on Giovinco from in close and then on a Robbie Findlay header after the Italian played him in with another sweet cross.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Donny Toia, Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera, Ambroise Oyongo; M-Nigel Reo-Coker (Hassoun Camara 88’), Marco Donadel, Johan Venegas (Dilly Duka 46’), Ignacio Piatti, Dominic Oduro (Patrice Bernier 78’); F-Didier Drogba
Subs not used: GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Wandrille Lefèvre; M-Calum Mallace; F-Anthony Jackson-Hamel
TOR – GK-Chris Konopka; D-Jackson, Josh Williams, Ahmed Kantari, Justin Morrow; M-Robbie Findley (Herculez Gomez 76’), Michael Bradley, Benoit Cheyrou (Collen Warner 76’), Jonathan Osorio (Luke Moore 88’); F-Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: GK-Joe Bendik; D-Ashtone Morgan, Eriq Zavaleta; M-Marco Delgado
TOR – Altidore (Giovinco) 45’
MTL – Drogba (Piatti) 54’
MTL – Drogba (Donadel, Piatti) 55’
TOR – Jackson 27’
MTL – Cabrera 90+1’