Quote-unquote: the Canadian Classique

Impact players weigh in on Saturday’s rivalry match

Let’s be honest; the rivalry between Toronto and Montreal is one of the best in MLS, no questions asked. Whether on opposite sides of the standings, or just nine points apart, supporters on both sides know they’ll be in for an intense game once both teams hit the field, no matter the circumstances.

But Saturday’s circumstances will bring an added layer of intensity to this rivalry; Toronto, sitting nine points behind with two games in hand, will be looking for nothing short of a victory if they want to keep their MLS Cup playoff hopes alive, while Montreal, sitting tight in the last playoff spot, would love to cement their position in the standings at the expense of its sworn enemy.

No matter what, Saturday’s game is sure to have it all. Here are the top quotes from Impact players this week regarding this old and bitter rivalry.

Samuel Piette, on what makes a derby special

A game against Toronto is always a game apart, that’s out of the ordinary. Every time we play them, it always makes for more exciting games that go in every direction. Emotions get the better of you, and friends become enemies. It’s always special.

Daniel Lovitz, on the matchup’s unpredictability

Regardless of the context of each team when we go into these games, it’s always unpredictable. Regardless of who’s on the field, the feeling is always the same. We went there last year when they were having the best season in MLS history and scored five goals on them at home, which is one of the best experiences I’ve had as a pro. 

Nacho Piatti, on the importance of Saturday’s result

We always want to beat Toronto. It’s a rivalry, a clasico. We have to win Saturday. We’re in a position to take points from them and leave them at the bottom of the standings.

Evan Bush, on introducing the new guys to the rivalry

Anytime you come into a new team, you understand right away who the rival is. Here, it’s Toronto. There’s no Toronto and someone else, and it’s the same for them. It’s just Montreal and Toronto. There’s more media present, more articles being written about it, and more on social media. From the standpoint of new guys coming in, they can kind of sense that. It means more than just a game for the club, to the fans, and to the city. There’s more than just the sporting aspect.

Head coach Rémi Garde, on his experience with the matchup

It’s a good war. In any championship, you’ll get derbies like this one. We like playing these types of games, although I personally like when it stays within the right limits. There’s always a little more engagement during games like these. For the new players, I’ll take to them about it a little too, because I understand now as well.