Things were tense between the Impact and SKC once upon a time
Rivalries aren’t built in a day. What they need is a few specific ingredients: geographical proximity, emotional scenarios, games of importance or maybe even a historical component. In its first three seasons in MLS, the Impact made a few rivals due to its style of play, its unique identity, and also due to the short temper of certain people on the first team, let’s be honest. A team like Kansas City, who used to be in the Eastern Conference, would face the Bleu-blanc-noir much more often than the one meeting a year in place at the moment, and these meetings were often heated, very heated. If this rising rivalry was cut short due to SKC’s move out West, it may rise from the ashes following 90 minutes of intense play, this Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park (TVA Sports, TSN, CTV, 98.5, TSN 690). Until then, let’s take a look at some of the Impact’s slumbering rivalries.
Sporting Kansas City
From 2012 to 2014, the Bleu-blanc-noir and SKC played against each other three times a season, a total of nine games, but most would say that the rivalry began off the pitch: Sporting traded its captain Davy Arnaud to the Impact in 2011 in exchange for defender Seth Sinovic, who was picked up by the Montreal club during the expansion draft from – you guessed it – Sporting Kansas City. Sinovic remains a part of Peter Vermes’ line-up to this day.
The arrival of Swiss head coach Marco Schällibaum at the Montreal Impact only added fuel to the fire: in his first game against SKC, in 2013, he was sent off in the 81st minute with his team trailing; then, in his second game in Kansas, Schällibaum was once again told to leave the bench, this time at half-time, before Alessandro Nesta was also ejected in the second half in a Montreal win.
As far as creating rivals goes, 2013 was definitely a good year for the Impact. We especially remember the club’s first ever game in the MLS Cup playoffs, during which two Impact players were ejected, but also that 5-0 victory at Stade Saputo. Also noteworthy is the fact that every matchup between the Texans and the Impact was won by the home team, expect for that one draw in 2012, at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Rochester Raging Rhinos
The first ever rival in the club’s history, back in the A-League and NASL days, hasn’t faced the Impact since it made the jump to MLS, despite seven meetings between the Rhinos and FC Montreal. This rivalry was born as much on the field as it was created by the supporters, with only a five-hour drive separating both cities. And if the playoffs are where most rivalries are born, Exhibit A would be what happened between these two teams: they faced off in the post-season in three straight years, in 2002, 2003, and 2004, Rochester taking the first two meetings. Noteworthy fact: from 2000 to 2007, the Rhinos didn’t score a goal in Montreal, a sequence of 17 games and 1,581 consecutive minutes.