Competition: MLS Playoffs (Knockout Round) – Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC
Venue: Stade Saputo – Thursday, October 29 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports)
Match Odds: Montreal 19/20 – Draw 12/5 – Toronto 5/2
Montreal came from behind to beat Toronto 2-1 on Sunday’s MLS Decision Day, thanks to two Didier Drogba backheel goals, earning home-field advantage for the knockout round as a result.
That’s crucial for the Impact as they have won each of their last five at home in MLS and are a much more dangerous side in front of their own fans.
Montreal Impact’s 2015 MLS Record: P34 – W15 – D6 – L13Embed from Getty Images
Toronto will be concerned with their late drop in regular season form as they suffered defeat in their last two games. They had won four on the bounce before that and need to be at their best if they’re to win here.
They do have this year’s best player in MLS in the shape of Sebastian Giovinco, who ended the regular season with the Golden Boot as well as leading the league in assists. He hasn’t scored away from home since July though.
This will be the Reds’ first ever MLS Playoff game and the players must ensure they don’t let the huge occasion get the better of them.
Toronto FC’s 2015 MLS Record: P34 – W15 – D4 – L15Embed from Getty Images
Three Canadian sides have made the playoffs for the first time in MLS history this year but one will exit from the postseason at the first hurdle here.
This will be the sixth matchup between the 401 Derby rivals this year. The home side has won each of the past five games to this point.
Montreal Impact should have Didier Drogba fit and ready to start despite the fact he left Sunday’s game with what seemed to be a leg injury. Cameron Porter remains along with Kenny Cooper and Andres Romero. Justin Mapp and Kyle Bekker are doubts.
Toronto FC are expected to make a couple of changes to the team that lost on Sunday but they won’t be able to call on Mark Bloom, Clement Simonin or Damien Perquis. Daniel Lovitz remains a doubt.
Montreal Impact’s last five: L/L/W/W/W
Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/W/L/L
Key Stat: Montreal have won their last five home games, while Toronto have lost their last five.
Key Player: Didier Drogba – The Montreal superstar gets the nod ahead of Sebastian Giovinco as this game’s key player. That’s because he single-handedly earned Montreal three points in this fixture on Sunday and because he has scored nine goals in his five home starts. Impact.Embed from Getty Images
Montreal Impact 2-1 Toronto FC – Form suggests this one will only end one way and while form has to be disregarded somewhat in matches as big as this one, it’s tough to see Montreal losing. Toronto are more than capable of beating the Impact but their struggles away from home mean their first ever playoff run might end very early.