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

face TFC.

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

June 27.

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