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Preview: Impact, TFC square off in first round of Canadian Classic

April 7, 2012 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #38)
12 noon ET (TSN/RDS)

While meeting for the first time in Major League Soccer, the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC renew their rivalry forged by years of history - and encounters in the Canadian Championship - when the clubs face off Saturday afternoon. Both are looking for their first victory this season. The Impact are coming off a third loss on their three-game road swing, a 1-0 defeat at Real Salt Lake, while Toronto FC are winless in three tries after a 1-0 home loss to Columbus last weekend.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 61 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 13; pens: 9



  • MONTREAL IMPACT - OUT: DF Nelson Rivas (L hamstring strain); FW Eduardo Sebrango (L groin strain); DF Hassoun Camara (R quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Justin Braun (L groin strain)
  • TORONTO FC - OUT: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); DF Jeremy Hall (sports hernia surgery recovery); MF Torsten Frings (R hamstring strain); GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); QUESTIONABLE: DF Miguel Aceval (R hamstring tightness); PROBABLE: DF Adrian Cann (R knee surgery recovery)




ALL-TIME (MLS): First meeting.
RETURN MATCHES: 6/27: Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m. (TSN/RDS); 10/20: Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact, 2 p.m. (TSN/RDS)

  • While the clubs are meeting for the first time as members of MLS, Toronto FC and the lower-division Impact did meet six times from 2008-2010 in the Canadian Championship. TFC won five matches; the lone draw came in 2008 at BMO Field, giving the Impact the Canadian domestic title.
  • Coaches record: Aron Winter vs. MTL: first game ... Jesse Marsch vs. TOR: first game


The Montreal Impact completed their three-game road swing with another loss, falling 1-0 to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Impact are tied for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 1 point from 5 matches.

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  • The game's lone goal came after a flurry of Real chances in the box in the 12th minute. Impact striker Justin Braun handled the ball in the area when defending a set piece, giving referee Ricardo Salazar no choice but to point to the spot.
  • Paulo Junior confidently stepped up and slotted a shot to the left of Donovan Ricketts who guessed correctly but couldn't reach the shot. It was his first goal of the year, and first since April 9, 2011.
  • Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made five changes to the team that fell 5-2 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Jeb Brovsky and Shavar Thomas came into the back four for Zarek Valentin and Tyson Wahl, Lamar Neagle entered the midfield for Patrice Bernier, and Justin Braun and Collen Warner started up top in place of Sanna Nyassi and Bernardo Corradi.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-1-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jeb Brovsky (Andrew Wenger 83), Shavar Thomas, Matteo Ferrari, Josh Gardner - Collen Warner, Lamar Neagle (Sanna Nyassi 63), Felipe Martins, Davy Arnaud- Justin Mapp - Justin Braun (Bernardo Corradi 76)


  • For the third time in three games, the Impact conceded a penalty kick, and as in Columbus to start the three-game road swing, the one at RSL was the match-winner.
  • "The penalty shots against has become completely infuriating," said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. "I felt that we were a real team on the field today. We battled for each other and we played some really good soccer in a place that is hard to play in on the road. It hurts us all because the results are not going our way, but we are getting closer and closer. There is such a strong belief in what we are doing here, and we are going to get over that hump very soon."
  • Marsch used the midweek game to extend his squad rotation. Jamaican international defender Shavar Thomas made his first appearance for the Impact, coming into central defense.
  • Midfielder Lamar Neagle and striker Collen Warner also made their first starts for the club, Warner's coming against his former team.
  • "It was nice to see the guys from last year, but once you step on the field, you're enemies," said Warner. "We put up a good fight. It's been tough with penalty shot calls, but we can't use those as excuses. We have to take responsibility for all goals scored against us and work on that."
  • The Impact were shut out for a third time this season. The single goal allowed matched their MLS-low, also coming in their 1-1 draw vs. Chicago in the home opener.
  • "Just to be able to turn around from a 5-2 loss in New York and come out in Salt Lake against a quality side in their home ... it tells us that our team's chemistry is getting better, we're connecting more, we're getting our chances," said defender Josh Gardner. "We've been unlucky here and there, we've given up three penalties this year, so if you take those away, I think we were in every game, at that point."
  • Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was credited with three saves on the night. "He's a good goalie and he makes big saves, that's what he does. The save he made in the second half on the [Fabian Espindola] header kept us in the game for sure. We're counting on him," said Marsch.


Toronto FC lost for the third time in as many starts to open their league season, falling 1-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.


  • The Crew nearly took the lead just before halftime, when TFC center back Ty Harden was ruled to have fouled Olman Vargas near the end line in the 42nd minute. Milovan Mirosevic stepped up to take the spot kick, driving a shot low and to the left, but goalkeeper Milos Kocic dove to deflect it for a corner kick.
  • Still, Columbus took the lead in the 56th minute when Bernardo Anor hammered home a shot from the center of the box after TFC couldn't clear their lines. Anor charged through the midfield and into the box after a turnover by Julian de Guzman. Defender Logan Emory attempted to clear the ball, but it deflected back to Anor, who drove a shot past Kocic.
  • TFC head coach Aron Winter made three changes to the team that lost 3-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field. Logan Emory came into the back four for Miguel Aceval, Nick Soolsma to the wing for Luis Silva, and Danny Koevermans replaced Reggie Lambe in attack.
  • TORONTO FC (4-2-3-1): Milos Kocic - Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Logan Emory, Ashtone Morgan - Terry Dunfield (Eric Avila 61), Julian de Guzman (Junior Burgos 84) - Nick Soolsma (Luis Silva 46), Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata - Danny Koevermans.

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  • Toronto FC have started a league season 0-3-0 for the second time, matching the start in their inaugural season of 2007.
  • Everybody wished for a better start to the season. We started off well against LA [in winning the CCL quarterfinals], but that's not MLS," said Danny Koevermans. "We wanted points in MLS and again today we didn't get even a point, a draw, so we have to go to next week. We have to get off zero points. I think we deserve to be at least three points in the league but we don't have them. That's for sure."
  • The Reds also come into the Montreal match with a 202-minute goalless drought in league play, since Ryan Johnson scored in Seattle in the MLS season opener.
  • "In soccer, you have to score, otherwise you can't win," head coach Aron Winter said. Added Koevermans: "We played better, we had more chances. If we weren't having chances, then we should be concerned. Of course there is frustration. But that's normal, I think. ... It has to turn around. It's impossible if it goes like this and we don't score and keep losing. It's impossible."
  • The club announced Tuesday goalkeeper Stefan Frei has undergone surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left ankle, and will be out 4-6 months.
  • On Wednesday, Toronto FC saw their CONCACAF Champions League run come to an end in a 6-2 loss to Club Santos Laguna in Torreon, Mexico, Santos winning the semifinal tie 7-3 on aggregate.
  • Joao Plata scored twice in the first half to put TFC into the lead, but Herculez Gomez answered on each occasion to leave the teams level on the night and on aggregate at the interval. After the break, Juan Pablo Rodriguez scored twice on penalty kicks and Daniel Ludueña and Oribe Peralta each netted to send Santos into all-Mexican final against defending champion CF Monterrey. Santos has scored six goals in three separate home matches in the CCL, including in the semifinal second leg vs. Seattle Sounders FC.
  • "They made six goals, but actually we gave away four, and that makes it hard because I think that we played well," said TFC head coach Aron Winter. "The second and third goals were crucial at that moment because at 1-0 and then 2-1 against a good opponent, we were playing well. If you go in leading 2-1 at that moment ... the penalty was not smart."
  • Here's the TFC team: Milos Kocic - Ashtone Morgan, Ty Harden, Miguel Aceval (Doneil Henry 69), Richard Eckersley - Luis Silva, Julian de Guzman, Terry Dunfield (Matt Stinson 59) - Ryan Johnson, Nick Soolsma, Joao Plata (Reggie Lambe 65)
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