Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC | 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Match Preview
MONTREAL IMPACT vs. TORONTO FC
2016 Eastern Conference Championship – Leg 1
Olympic Stadium | Montreal, Quebec
Tuesday, Nov. 22
8 pm ET (ESPN, WatchESPN in the US | RDS, TSN1/3 in Canada)
One of North American sports’ fiercest rivalries will rise to a new level as the Eastern Conference's Canadian clubs square off with a trip to the MLS Cup at stake.
Both teams are in uncharted territory. Toronto had never before won a playoff game before this year, and Montreal had never reached the Eastern Conference Championship. But the two teams are quite familiar with playing each other with the season on the line: the Impact eliminated Toronto in the Knockout Round of the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Wiebe: About time Canada teams took center stage – and played for MLS Cup
- Toronto FC see MLS Cup quest as opportunity to grow the game in Canada
- Toronto FC using bitter memories of 2015 exit as motivation vs. Impact
- Vanney: Toronto FC "have to be the favorite" to advance to MLS Cup
- Toronto FC the slight favorite to win MLS Cup, per ESPN Soccer Power Index
- Toronto mayor supports TFC with huge jersey outside city hall
- Eye on Impact, Toronto FC "continuing to develop a culture" of winning
- Giovinco, Altidore driving Toronto FC's run to Conference Championship
- Castillo: Complete team, fervent fans driving historic Toronto FC run
- Watch Montreal Impact locker room celebrations after playoff series win
- Didier Drogba, controversy behind him, making major impact for Montreal
- Overlooked, underrated? Montreal Impact find motivation in dark-horse role
- Ignacio Piatti showcases MVP-caliber skills to lift Impact into next round
- Montreal-Toronto, a rivalry like no other
- Montreal Impact's Johan Venegas enjoys huge game to help Costa Rica sink US
- After years of disappointment, TFC have everything in place
- With Toronto FC still in hunt, Sebastian Giovinco not thinking about Italy
- Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact: Which Canadian team has the edge?
- Who's more valuable to his team: Seba or Piatti?
- Did Toronto FC get Drake's blessing?
- Opta Spotlight: How Osorio has sparked TFC
- Toronto not afraid of huge Olympic Stadium crowd in Montreal
- Stejskal: Top Conference Championship storylines
- Impact, TFC set to add to the legend of Olympic Stadium
- Impact supporters move North Star Bell to Olympic Stadium
- Montreal feel they have an advantage on Olympic Stadium's turf
- Relive Toronto FC's road to the Eastern Conference Championship
- The Montreal Impact's path to the Eastern Conference Championship
- Views from Couch: Impact are this year's MLS "Team of Destiny"
- Impact don't mind Toronto FC claiming favorites tag
- Toronto FC and Montreal Impact look to make more history at the Big O
- Fans explain Toronto-Montreal rivalry: This runs deep
- Olympic Stadium sold out for Leg 1 of Montreal-Toronto series
- Canadian rivalry renewed in Eastern Conference Championship | MLS Now
Montreal Impact Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: East No. 5 seed (11-11-12 record, 45 pts / 7-5-5 home record)
- Current Form: D-L-W-W-W
- Strengths: Despite an up-and-down regular season, the Impact have gotten hot at the right time. Now playing with house money, they’ll have a chance to ride a unique home-field advantage at Olympic Stadium — site of many dramatic moments on their run to the 2015 CONCACAF Champions League final — to an early aggregate lead over favored Toronto.
- Weaknesses: Although the drama surrounding Didier Drogba appeared to end when he made his first appearance in more than a month in their huge 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Nov. 6, questions remain as to how much he’ll play in the Eastern Conference Championship and how effective he’ll be coming off the bench.
- Injuries/Suspensions: Andres Romero (ACL) – out.
- Player to Watch: Ignacio Piatti: The star playmaker was at his best with two goals in Montreal’s Eastern Conference Semifinal triumph, causing his coach and teammates to question how he wasn’t an MLS MVP finalist. He’ll need to be at his best again in a matchup with several other of the league’s marquee players.
- Probable Starting XI: Evan Bush; Hassoun Camara, Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera, Ambroise Oyongo; Hernan Bernardello, Patrice Bernier, Marco Donadel; Dominic Oduro, Matteo Mancosu, Ignacio Piatti
Toronto FC Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: East No. 3 seed (14-9-11 record, 53 pts / 8-3-6 home record)
- Current Form: D-W-W-W-W
- Strengths: It’s all coming together for Toronto, who got the monkey off their back with their first-ever playoff win — in the Knockout Round vs. Philadelphia — before steamrolling New York City FC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 7-0 aggregate win. When Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are all at their best — as they have been of late — no one in the league is touching that trio.
- Weaknesses: Before getting hot in the playoffs, Toronto limped to the finish line, winning just once in their final six games as Giovinco dealt with an injury. Another injury to a key player could similarly derail their momentum.
- Injuries/Suspensions: QUESTIONABLE: D - Ashtone Morgan (stress fracture in foot)
- Player to Watch: Sebastian Giovinco: How has the Italian star been enjoying the playoffs? Oh, you know, just your average four goals in three games, including a hat trick in Toronto’s 5-0 rout of NYCFC to clinch a spot in the Eastern Conference Championship. Anyone doubt he’s got a couple more goals left in him?
- Probable Starting XI: Clint Irwin; Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta; Justin Morrow, Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley, Armando Cooper, Steven Beitashour; Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal (AR1), Matthew Nelson (AR2)
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Toronto vs. Montreal Head-to-Head
All-Time (14 meetings):
Toronto 6 wins, 22 goals • Montreal 4 wins, 15 goals • Ties 4
All-Time Playoff (1 Meeting):
Toronto 0 wins, 0 goals • Montreal 1 wins, 3 goals
All-Time in Montreal (7 meetings):
Toronto 3 wins, 12 goals • Montreal 3 wins, 8 goals • Ties 1
2016 Meetings (3 meetings):
TOR 2, MTL 0 (April 23); MTL 1, TOR 0 (Aug. 27); MTL 2, TOR 2 (Oct. 16)