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Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC
2017 MLS Regular Season Stade Saputo – Montreal, Quebec
Sunday, August 27 – 4:30 pm ET
WATCH: TSN 1/4/5, TVAS in Canada | ESPN in the United States

They’re the league’s two hottest teams, they’re archrivals, and they’re less than a year removed from one of the most epic playoff series of all time.

The first regular season meeting of 2017 between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC promises to be a tantalizing affair, with the two teams' recent run of good form adding a little more heat to what has always been a spicy series.

The Impact are simply unstoppable these days, and welcome their rivals from Ontario on the back of a four-game winning streak. They most recently dismantled Real Salt Lake, 3-1, with Ignacio Piatti setting aside questions over his future with the club beyond this year to produce some truly special moments. The Argentine has scored in each of the Impact's games during their current winning streak, and has added a second goal in each of their last two games.

Piatti has been supported by a revamped midfield starring Serie A veteran Blerim Dzemaili, who has registered two goals and three assists in the same time period, and Canadian international Samuel Piette, who has brought the Impact some sorely-missed defensive consistency in the middle of the park.

For all their recent success, though, the Impact may well have to step up their game to topple what some pundits are starting to call one of the greatest teams in MLS history. While everyone at Toronto FC acknowledges there's much more to be done – and won – before that superlative sticks, there's no denying their historic pace. Sebastian Giovinco has returned to his imperious, MVP-caliber form in the last five games with four goals and two assists, and head coach Greg Vanney continues to keep opposing teams on their toes with his seemingly endless tactical wrinkles.

Montreal Impact

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M Ballou Tabla, M Hernan Bernardello, M Matteo Mancosu
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT – D Ambroise Oyongo (right knee surgery)

Projected Starting XI
4-3-3, right to left
GK: Evan Bush – Hassoun Camara, Victor Cabrera, Laurent Ciman, Daniel Lovitz – Patrice Bernier, Samuel Piette, Blerim Dzemaili – Michael Salazar, Matteo Mancosu, Ignacio Piatti

Notes: Montreal have won six of their last seven games at home (1L). They have conceded multiple goals just once over this run after conceding multiple goals in three of their first four home games. … In the 13 games that Blerim Dzemaili has started, Montreal average 2.0 goals and 1.7 points per game. In the 11 games he has not started they average 1.4 goals and 1.3 points per game.

Toronto FC

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M Michael Bradley
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT – M Benoit Cheyrou (calf tear), D Nick Hagglund (left MCL sprain)

Projected Starting XI
3-5-2, right to left
GK: Alex Bono – Eriq Zavaleta, Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga – Steven Beitashour, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Justin Morrow – Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco

Notes: Toronto has lost just three games on the road, the fewest in the league this year. The Reds average 1.5 points per game on the road, the best in the league. … Sebastian Giovinco has scored 11 free kick goals since the start of 2015, the most in the league and five more than the next closet player (Didier Drogba). The next closest active player is Joao Plata with three. 

All-Time Series

This will be the first regular-season meeting between the two rivals this year, but they have already met in the Canadian Championship. Toronto edged Montreal over the two-legged series, drawing 1-1 draw at Stade Saputo before sealing the title with a winning 2-1 at home. (Stats below include only MLS regular-season games.)

  • Overall: Montreal 4 wins (15 goals) … Toronto 6 wins (22 goals) … Ties 4
  • At MTL: Montreal 3 wins (8 goals) … Toronto 3 wins (12 goals) … Ties 1

Referees

Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Eric Weisbrod, Jason White
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Canadian official TBD

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