Toronto FC-Impact Preview
The Montreal Impact are the biggest surprise of the MLS
Toronto FC is coming off its own impressive performance.
After winning their first two games on the road, the Impact look
to carry that momentum into their home opener Saturday when they
Montreal (2-0-0) showed promise as an expansion team last
season, but fell 11 points shy of the playoffs thanks in large part
to a 2-12-3 road record.
The Impact have matched that win total already, and in stunning
fashion. They opened 2013 by winning 1-0 at Seattle in front of a
raucous sold-out crowd of 38,998 on March 2, then followed that up
with a 2-1 victory at sold-out Portland a week later.
“I know it’s not easy to play in these two places, but I think
we have a team that’s capable of going on the road and getting
results,” captain Davy Arnaud said. “Six points is huge. It’s a
huge achievement for us on the road.”
This time, Montreal will have an expected sold-out crowd on its
side at Olympic Stadium, as it attempts to show improvement against
Toronto (1-1-0) after going 1-1-1 in last season’s series.
The Impact beat TFC 2-1 in the only meeting at Olympic Stadium
on April 7, but fell 3-0 at their regular home – Stade Saputo – on
Montreal enters this matchup with growing confidence.
“That’s a big rivalry for us, and I think we just have to
continue our confidence and take to the next game and take it day
by day,” goalkeeper Troy Perkins said.
Toronto is experiencing some rare confidence of its own after
scoring twice in the opening 21 minutes and holding on to beat
Sporting Kansas City 2-1 last Saturday.
Rookie coach Ryan Nelsen has been tasked with trying to change
TFC’s fortunes since it’s been one of the biggest disappointments
in MLS, failing to reach the playoffs in all six of its
“From Day 1, since the new manager has come in, there has been a
certain type of way that he wants to play and we are building to
that every day and we are improving,” defender Darren O’Dea told
the team’s official website.
“We need to move forward so we don’t take one step forward and
two steps back,” he said. “It’s the first step in the right
direction and we need to keep going. We now need to keep our heads
down and stay grounded.”
Continued production from Robert Earnshaw would also help. The
Welsh forward, who joined Toronto from Cardiff City last month, had
both goals against Kansas City after coming up empty on four shots
– one on goal – in a season-opening 1-0 loss at Vancouver on March