Preview: Canadian pride on the line in Toronto
TORONTO FC vs MONTRÉAL IMPACT
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
October 20, 2012 (WEEK 32, MLS Game #305)
1:30 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS)
Pride and placing in next year’s Canadian Championship is at stake when Toronto FC and the Montréal Impact for the third time this season, the first at BMO Field, on Saturday afternoon. TFC are looking to put a halt to their 12-game winless run, extended in their last match, a late 1-0 home loss to D.C. United. The Impact were eliminated from playoff contention in their first MLS season following their 1-1 draw at Houston before the international break. The teams split their first two meetings this season, both played in Montréal.
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REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 4; pens: 4
TORONTO FC – OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); FW Danny Koevermans (L knee ACL tear); DF Ty Harden (lower abdominal strain); MF Torsten Frings (L hip); MF Matt Stinson (R quadriceps strain); FW Keith Makubuya (L ankle sprain); FW Quincy Amarikwa (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Eric Hassli (R ankle sprain) …
MONTREAL IMPACT – OUT: DF Nelson Rivas (L knee surgery); MF Felipe (sports hernia); FW Bernardo Corradi (L knee ACL tear)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: TOR: Ryan Johnson (caution accumulation; through Oct. 21) … MTL: Jesse Marsch (head coach; through Oct. 21)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Eric Hassli, Torsten Frings … MTL: Sanna Nyassi
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Reggie Lambe, Ashtone Morgan … MTL: Davy Arnaud, Patrice Bernier, Bernardo Corradi, Matteo Ferrari
MLS ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Impact 1 win, 2 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
2012 (MLS) - 4/7: MTL 2, TOR 1 (Ubiparipovic 18; Wenger 81 – Koevermans 88); 6/27: MTL 0, TOR 3 (Frings 52; Johnson 72; Koevermans 78)
• The Canadian rivals are meeting for the third time this season in MLS, the first at BMO Field. Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Andrew Wenger each scored to lead the Impact to a 2-1 win April 7 at Olympic Stadium, then Torsten Frings, Ryan Johnson and Danny Koevermans all scored for a 3-0 TFC victory, June 27 at Stade Saputo.
• The teams also met in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals, TFC taking a 2-0 win in the second leg on May 9 at BMO Field, to win the series 2-0 on aggregate.
• Toronto FC and the lower-division Impact met 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: Paul Mariner vs. MTL: P1 W1 L0 T0… Jesse Marsch vs. TOR: P2 W1 L1 T0
• Toronto FC took the lead at the 52nd minute. Torsten Frings unleashed thunderous free kick from 22 yards out which passed right through the hands of Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
• The lead was doubled in the in the 72nd minute, as Nick Soolsma picked up a loose ball tackled away by Danny Koevermans. He fed Ryan Johnson, whose left-footed strike from the top of the box curled its way through a scrum of Impact defenders and into the back of the net.
• Toronto sealed the match in the 78th minute, a Koevermans finish from close range on a low cross from the left by Ashtone Morgan, after he was freed behind the Impact rearguard by Johnson.
• MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Zarek Valentin (Eduardo Sebrango 65), Shavar Thomas, Hassoun Camara, Jeb Brovsky - Patrice Bernier, Collen Warner - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Lamar Neagle (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 76) - Marco Di Vaio (Sanna Nyassi 55).
• TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Jeremy Hall (Nick Soolsma 46), Logan Emory, Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Terry Dunfield, Julian de Guzman (Doneil Henry 57), Torsten Frings, Eric Avila (Reggie Lambe 72) - Danny Koevermans, Ryan Johnson.
Toronto FC saw their league winless run stretched to 12 games in cruel circumstances, D.C. United scoring a late goal for a 1-0 win Oct. 6 at BMO Field. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 22 points from 32 games.
• The game's lone goal came in the 88th minute. TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic mishandled a low shot from United forward Maicon Santos, leaving an easy opening for Hamdi Salihi to tap the ball into a wide-open goal.
• TFC head coach Paul Mariner made two changes to the team that suffering a 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Milos Kocic came in between the posts in place of Freddy Hall and Logan Emory started at fullback for Ashtone Morgan.
• TORONTO FC (4-2-3-1): Milos Kocic - Jeremy Hall, Darren O'Dea, Richard Eckersley, Logan Emory - Aaron Maund, Terry Dunfield - Reggie Lambe, Luis Silva (Eric Avila 86), Ryan Johnson - Quincy Amarikwa (Andrew Wiedeman 33).
• Toronto FC last won on July 18, the loss to D.C. United extending their MLS winless streak to 12 games, one shy of the club record set earlier this season. TFC also had a 12-game winless run in their inaugural season of 2007.
• I asked for something today during the week from the players and I most certainly got it. This is as well as I've seen them play in quite some time,” said TFC head coach Paul Mariner. “If you have an overview, I thought we did really well considering (D.C. United) are well into the playoffs and we are miles away from the playoffs. It’s just heartbreaking for the players, but it’s all about scoring goals. We've got to take our chances but we are not taking our chances.”
WATCH: Reds fall at home vs. DC
• The United goal was the 16th allowed this season in the final 15 minutes of games by TFC, tied for most in MLS (along with Montréal).
• “That’s when you have to probably concentrate the most, the last 10 minutes of the game because you’re obviously tired and it affects your decisions,” defender Richard Eckersley said. “Obviously goals come from mistakes. That’s been our problem this season.”
• Said TFC assistant coach Jason Bent: “It’s not just a problem over this season but it’s been a problem for several seasons with Toronto FC, so I don’t know if it’s a mental thing or what have you. But we have to correct that at the end of our games and find ways to get over the finish line because we’re losing valuable points. I wouldn’t disagree that psychologically it might be in the back of their heads and we have to find ways to get over it.”
• Goalkeeper Milos Kocic returned to the lineup after a two-match absence, and it was his gaffe that allowed United to score the match-winning goal.
• “It’s unfortunate. I worked hard all week. I was ready to help the team. I looked good the whole game. It was just a mistake that happened at the end and I lost the game for my team today,” Kocic said. “I just want to apologize to everybody. The boys deserved better and the fans and the club. Everybody deserved better. I let them down.”
• Quincy Amarikwa made a second consecutive start at striker, but a hamstring injury forced him off after just 33 minutes, and he is not expected to be available for the Impact match.
• Eric Hässli, who last appeared in a match Sept. 15 vs. Philadelphia, could be ready to return to action for the final two games of the season.
• “I feel way better,” Hässli said. “We’ll do everything to make it so that I can play because I really want to play in this game. … It’s really frustrating because I didn’t play so much, I really wanted to play but I got two injuries in a row.”
• After returning to the starting lineup for two consecutive matches following four matches out of the first team, fullback Ashtone Morgan was ill and unavailable for the United game.
• “It’s still kind of lingering, but it’s getting better,” Morgan said. “I think I should be good by Saturday, but it’s been like off and on. It feels good but after a while, my chest still gets clogged up.”
The Montréal Impact saw their winless slide extended to four games, despite coming back for a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Oct. 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Impact are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points from 32 matches.
• The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 44th minute when winger Calen Carr shook Impact defender Alessandro Nesta in the box and set up Will Bruin up for a poke inside the near post.
• But the Impact pulled even in the 66th minute. Marco Di Vaio played a sublime turn and through ball to Sanna Nyassi, who was persistent cleaning up his own rebound after an initial save by Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
WATCH: Impact, Dynamo draw in Houston
• Houston’s Brian Ching appeared to pull out the full three points with a chip of Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the 93rd minute, but after a conference between referee Chris Penso and assistant referee Jason Cullum, Ching was ruled offside and the goal was disallowed.
• Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made three changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City at Stade Saputo. Calum Mallace, Sanna Nyassi and Andrew Wenger came into the team, in place of Collen Warner, Felipe Martins and Justin Mapp.
• MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta (Lamar Neagle 46), Jeb Brovsky - Davy Arnaud, Calum Mallace, Patrice Bernier, Sanna Nyassi - Andrew Wenger (Justin Mapp 65), Marco Di Vaio.
• With the draw, the Impact were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in their inaugural season. They were bidding to become the fourth expansion team in MLS history to qualify for the playoffs.
• “The feedback from around the league and within the league has been that we’ve had a good team, that we even play a unique brand and that there’s something to this group,” Impact head coach Jesse Marsch said. “In the end, we’ll finish this season strong, we’ll make adjustments for next year, we’ll come back next year and it’s another huge challenge again.”
• With 41 points on the season, the Impact can still end up with the third-best record for an expansion team in league history with one more point – and with two wins, can equal Seattle’s 47 points in 2009, the second-most for an expansion team.
• “It’s disappointing when you look at the cohesion, the strength we gathered in July and August,” said Patrice Bernier. “That helped us to have a go, but with all the points that we lost when we had the lead, it’s tough not to give it double meaning. Yet deep down, we know we have to look at the big picture and be satisfied.”
• After coming on as a halftime substitute to pair up top with Marco Di Vaio in the Sporting KC match, Andrew Wenger started alongside Di Vaio from the start in Houston.
• “[Wenger] learns and understands a lot,” Di Vaio said. “He asks me a lot of questions about what we have to do on the field, how we play together, how we move and everything. He’s a smart guy who knows what he needs to understand in order to improve every day. For the Impact, he’s a forward for now and for the future.” Said Marsch: “Marco has helped Andrew in a lot of different little ways, giving him ideas and guiding him in a good way. We’ve got to keep pushing that.”
• Calum Mallace made his first league appearance since June 30. But unlike that MLS debut – when he featured at right back – Mallace this time played his more natural role as a holding midfielder.
• “I thought I played all right,” Mallace said. “Not my best game, not my worst game. I started the game in the middle, which is my natural position, and I think that, from the very first minute, I felt a lot more comfortable.”
• Said midfield partner Bernier: “Being older, I had to manage the middle more because he hadn’t played a lot, but he showed good things in a difficult game that we had to win. He did particularly well in the first half, when we enjoyed a bit more control.”
• However, the Impact will be without influential playmaker Felipe for the remainder of the season after he underwent sports hernia surgery during the international break.
• “He’s been playing with it for a long time, but he’s a competitor,” Marsch said. “He tells me he wants to play, and I’ve had to actually pull back. But it’s gotten to the point where he’s actually started pulling himself out, which is a good indication to us that there’s more in there than we initially thought.”
• Sanna Nyassi returned to the scoresheet with his sixth goal of the season, assisted by Di Vaio. Di Vaio has four goals and an assist over the last six games.
• “Sanna [Nyassi] has a few things going for him. He has a very good work rate. He has good speed. He is flexible enough to use in different spots,” Marsch said. “In games that are hot, it’s not a problem for him. He has shown he can still put up a good effort when it’s tough for other guys.”