Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact | Canadian Championship Match Preview
TORONTO FC vs. MONTREAL IMPACT
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ontario
Amway Canadian Championship semifinal, first leg
June 1, 7:30 pm ET (TSN4 in Canada, MLS LIVE in US)
The Montreal Impact and Toronto FC will begin the fight to try to unseat the Vancouver Whitecaps as reigning Canadian champions for a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League. The teams met once already on April 23 during the MLS regular season, when Toronto beat the Impact 2-0 in Montreal. Each side will likely be able to field strong squads with the MLS break for the Copa America Centenario group stage underway beginning this weekend.
How they got here
TORONTO: Four years removed from the last time they took the Canadian Championship title, Toronto enter alongside Canada's MLS clubs, that all automatically enter the competition in the semifinal round. Toronto won the title four consecutive times from 2009 to 2012.
MONTREAL: The Impact won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014, and they memorably made the most of their latter berth to the CONCACAF Champions League by advancing all the way to the final of the 2014-15 tournament, where they lost the two-leg series against Mexican powerhouse Club América.
The season so far
TORONTO: It's been something of an up-and-down season for Toronto, who currently sit in 6th place in the Eastern Conference. Despite playing their first eight matches on the road while renovations to BMO Field wrapped up, Toronto managed to pick up points in five of those contests, giving way to optimism for their home return. But injuries and mixed results have put a damper on the homecoming. Striker Jozy Altidore injured his hamstring at home two weeks ago, ruling him out for as long as eight weeks. But even worse, star striker Sebastian Giovinco went down in a 3-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday with an adductor injury, putting his availability on Wednesday in doubt. The Italian international has scored or assisted on all but one of Toronto's goals this year.
MONTREAL: Fresh off a 3-2 win against the LA Galaxy, the Impact head into Wednesday in good form. They sit third overall in the Eastern Conference and Ignacio Piatti continues a goal-scoring tear with eight goals on the season, plus three assists. He is tied for second place in the Golden Boot race and has notched a goal in his last two matches. Didier Drogba has played five fewer games, but has still notched five goals in eight appearances this season, along with four assists, and he has scored in each of his last four appearances.
TFC and the Impact have a years-long rivalry, popularly known as the 401 Derby, and regard the other team as their biggest rival. Given their relative proximity, they are frequent opponents both in MLS and Canadian Championship action. Montreal and Toronto did meet in the Canadian Championship final in both 2014 and 2008, which Montreal won both times.