TORONTO, Ontario – The Montreal Impact will play their second-to-last game of the 2017 season on Sunday at 5pm, when they visit BMO Field to face off against their rivals, Toronto FC (TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690). This will mark the fifth and last meeting between the Reds and the Bleu-blanc-noir this year.
“Every time we play Toronto, it’s a derby game and a lot of pride comes into play,” said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “We are facing the best team in the league. We want to offer a good performance. This is a big challenge against a team who is chasing a record.”
Playing for honor
Officially out of the playoff race, the Montreal Impact is still making the trip Toronto with motivation to come out with maximum points. Other than playing another chapter of arguably the fiercest rivalry in MLS, a Montreal win on Sunday would ensure that the hosts would fall short of beating the record for most points in an MLS season, a milestone currently held by LA Galaxy (68 points in 1998).
Toronto, on their end, will play their last game of the regular season at BMO Field. Having already clinched the top of the MLS Standings for the regular season, they’ll be awarded the Supporter’s Shield before Sunday’s game.
“We need to go to Toronto and we need to win,” said Impact midfielder Samuel Piette. “We want to finish the season on a high note, remain focused on our strengths and stay compact defensively.”
Players return from international duty
After a one-week break due to international fixtures, many players will be back this weekend with their respective clubs. Laurent Ciman, Blerim Dzemaili, Shaun Francis, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Louis Béland-Goyette and Samuel Piette were all with their national teams. However, defenseman Daniel Lovitz will not dress for the game due to his ejection in Colorado.
In Toronto, designated players Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are coming back from a disappointing qualifying campaign for the United States Men’s National Team that ended in a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago. As a result, the Americans will not be a part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Armando Cooper, who was called up by Panama, helped his country qualify. Liechtenstein defender Nicolas Hasler will also be back in time for Sunday’s game, along with Canadian internationals Raheem Edwards, Jonathan Osorio and Tosaint Ricketts.
Nacho Piatti to stay in Montreal
Designated Player Nacho Piatti accepted a contract extension earlier this week that will keep him at the club until 2019, with an option for 2020. The Impact’s number 10 is particularly effective against the Reds. In 14 games until now, he has scored eight goals and added six assists.
During his last game at BMO Field, a game the Impact won 5-3, Piatti scored twice and had a assist in the contest. Canadian forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel also had a strong game in Toronto last time around, scoring a brace and an assist to boot. Designated Player Blerim Dzemaili was equally brilliant against Toronto this year. In three games so far, the Swiss international has a goal and three assists.
The Impact will put an end to its 2017 campaign at Stade Saputo, on Sunday, October 22, at 4pm, when they will face the New England Revolution (TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, CJAD 800 – TICKETS). It will also be the last game of captain Patrice Bernier’s career, who announced that he will retire at the end of the season. An entire array of celebrations are being planned to celebrate the career of the Brossard native before and after the match, in honor of Supporters Appreciation Day.