MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact will play the first leg of the Canadian Championship against Toronto FC on Wednesday, September 18, at 7:30 pm at Stade Saputo (98.5sports.ca). Excellent tickets remain available on impactmontreal.com.
“We have a final in front of us,” said Impact head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “It’s an important game. You don’t play finals every day. We need to focus, and our mindset needs to be on this final. I don’t have to motivate the players. They’re motivated. They know this is a final, and that it’s a great opportunity. No matter what’s happened in the past, everything is even in a final and it starts from scratch. We have two games, and in those two games we have the possibility to win something for the club, for the players, and for the city of Montreal and for the supporters. Now, we need to focus on being well-prepared.”
Stade Saputo's gates will open at 5:30pm, allowing you to take advantage of the summer. From 5:30pm to 6:30pm, the 2-for-1 special on all drinks will be in place, and animations, numerous activities, and photobooths will be available beneath the stands. Finally, a new pregame ritual, during which supporters will be able to welcome players in the stadium's North stand, will take place as of 6pm, 90 minutes before kickoff. Please note as well that our new IMFC grilled cheeses made by chef Danny Smiles will henceforth be on the concessions' menu at Stade Saputo, starting as low as $2.83 (plus tax).
The MLS bag policy will be in place for this game. Backpacks, camera bags, and big tote bags, as well as any bag larger than 35cm x 35cm x 15cm will not be accepted inside the stadium.
Also, please note that more traffic than usual is to be expected in the Sherbrooke/Pie-IX/Pierre-de-Coubertin/Viau area, as well as to access the different parking lots around Stade Saputo due to roadwork.
The Viau metro station is undergoing an important renovation project. Construction on the new bus rapid transit corridor (BRT) on Pie-IX Boulevard has begun, and as such, traffic on Pie-IX between the A40 and Pierre-de-Coubertin Street will be impeded, while bus routes may be diverted. The P1, P2, P3, P4 parking lots are available. The P5 parking lot is reserved for Members with a parking pass.
Canadian Championship expanding
With the arrival of the Canadian Premier League, the Canadian Championship’s format was revisited and expanded this year. 13 clubs stemming from five different leagues now compete through five different rounds for the Voyageurs Cup and a chance to qualify to the Concacaf Champions League. The Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC enter the fray in the third round, while TFC, winners of the 2018 edition, have a bye until the semifinal.
With nine Voyageurs Cups to its name, Montreal is the team that’s most often lifted the Canadian trophy. Its last championship, in 2014, propelled the Impact all the way to the Champions League final, in 2015.
“It’s a final that could bring a lot of good things,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “First off, a trophy for the club. It’s my first final as an Impact player, so I’m very excited on my end, and I know all the players are as well. Every time we play against a team in a better moment than ourselves, that’s when our characters shine, and we react. We know we’ll have chances against Toronto. I think if we play to our qualities, we’ll do lots of good things.”
Opportunity to bounce back
Wilmer Cabrera’s men will want to get back to winning ways in this one, an important game considering the global portrait of the 2019 season, after losing two consecutive games at home. However, the Impact remains unbeaten in Montreal against Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship, having conceded just one goal to Toronto in six games on Quebec soil.
Designated Player Nacho Piatti is used to bringing his game to another level against the Reds, having scored 10 goals while adding seven assists in 17 games against the rival. Catalan forward Bojan, on his end, open his scoring account with the Impact in his only game against Toronto FC.
“It’s a final, and it’s going to be a huge 180 minutes,” said defender Jukka Raitala. “It’s all about our mentality right now. We need to focus over two games if we want to win that trophy. That’s what is interesting in sports: sometimes, one good result can change everything. That’s why we need to stay focused and believe in ourselves. That’s something we’ll need to show from the first minute.”
Toronto FC visits Montreal on a streak of nine games without losing that began on August 7. Greg Vanney’s men won both regular-season matchups in 2019 between the clubs on either side of the Ottawa River. The offensive partnership consisting of Alejandro Pozuelo, with 11 goals and 11 assists, and Jozy Altidore, with 10 goals and six assists, will, of course, need to be closely surveilled by the hosts.
The Impact will travel to California to take on the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, September 21, at 10:30pm EDT (TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). Montreal will then play the return leg of the Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC on Wednesday, September 25, at 7:30pm at BMO Field. The club will then return to Stade Saputo to conclude a sequence of five games in 16 days on Sunday, September 29, at 5pm against Atlanta United for the penultimate game of the MLS regular season (TICKETS – TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690).