A golden opportunity

Impact could cement position for CanChamp final with win

If it feels like the thousandth time that the Montreal Impact will take on Toronto FC this season, you’re not alone. We’re already at matchup number four between the two rivals in 2020, with this being the second game at Stade Saputo between the Torontonians and the Montreal squad.

And despite everything that happened in those previous matchups, this final Canadian Classique showdown in this phase of the schedule will prove to be very important; a win for Montreal would put the club in ideal position to qualify for the final of the Canadian Championship, where it will have a chance to defend its title against the winner of the Island Games in the Canadien Premier League. Thierry Henry’s men would need just one point from their last two games to qualify in this scenario.

“Before talking about winning, we need to first respect our defensive structure, and our offensive one as well,” said head coach Thierry Henry. “We need to try and maneuver them, which is extremely difficult to do. In the end, we’ll see what happens, but first, we need to have a huge game against a very good team, that knows how to keep the ball and put you under pressure. We’ll try to play the same way we did last time, with hopefully a little more finishing after certain actions. But we need to stay focused. We know winning is always better than losing, even if it won’t be easy after their loss last week.”

Toronto FC has lost its last two games, including a 3-2 loss in Vancouver last weekend, after going 17 games unbeaten in the MLS regular season. That puts the Impact in the driver’s seat in the race to the Canadian Championship final, with three games remaining on the schedule. After facing Toronto FC tonight, the Impact will head out West for two straight games against the Whitecaps, on September 13 and 16.

“We feel good right now,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “We know that a win [today] puts us in a good position to win this tournament, which would qualify us for the Canadian Championship final. We’re at home and we’re well rested. I think tomorrow, we can’t be passive, and we need to bring ourselves forward.”

The Queen City representatives are coming off a trip from the West Coast just a few days ago and will be without captain Michael Bradley, who suffered an injury in the last game between these two sides.

“No matter what, they will miss Michael Bradley,” added Henry. “He’s been in this league for a while, he’s played in Europe, and he excelled in both. He’ll be missed all over the field because he knows how to control the tempo.”

Tonight’s game kicks off at 8pm at Stade Saputo, on TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, and TSN 690. You can still purchase your tickets to watch the game on the biggest screen in Montreal, at the Royalmount Theatre Drive-In, here.