MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: BMO Field – Wednesday, June 24 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST – Thursday, June 25)

Match Odds: Toronto 5/6 – Draw 11/4 – Montreal Impact 3/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC and Montreal Impact clash in a crucial MLS Canadian derby at BMO Field on Wednesday night.

Toronto come into the 401 derby following an extremely disappointing 2-0 home defeat to New York City at the weekend, which marked their first loss in five games.

Greg Vanney’s side had previously won three on the bounce and they currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with 19 points from their opening 13 games.

The Reds also have numerous games in hand on the teams above them, so they’re in a good spot as it stands and a win over their Canadian rivals could lift them into third depending on other results.

Embed from Getty Images

Montreal Impact will arrive in high spirits after an impressive 2-0 win against Orlando City last time out and have won five of their last seven games.

The Impact secured a first MLS away win since September 2013 when they beat the Columbus Crew 2-1 on June 6, so that’s a burden they will be happy to have off their back and should give them a real incentive to believe they can win the derby.

Frank Klopas’ side are fifth in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from 12 games and will leapfrog Toronto with a victory as their challenge for a playoff spot this season is in good shape.

Embed from Getty Images

The last MLS meeting between the two sides was a 1-1 draw back in October 2014. They most recently met in the 2015 Canadian Championship with the Impact winning the first leg 1-0 and Toronto winning the second leg 3-2 as Montreal progressed on away goals.

Team News

Toronto’s Clement Simonin (knee), Steven Caldwell (achilles), Mark Bloom (leg) and Daniel Lovitz (knee) are all out injured.

Montreal Impact will be without the injured Adrian Lopez (knee), Justin Mapp (elbow), Cameron Porter (knee) and Kenny Cooper (knee). There’s also doubts over the fitness of Hassoun Camara (knee) and Eric Miller (hamstring).

Embed from Getty Images

Key Points

Toronto’s last five in MLS: D/W/W/W/L

Montreal Impact’s last five in MLS: L/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Montreal Impact have failed to win 27 of their last 28 away matches in MLS (D7, L20). The Impact have also never beaten Toronto away from home.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Italian has been a revelation so far and if ever there is a game that the Toronto fans want see him provide the goods, then this is it. He could make the difference as he has done so many times this season already.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Toronto 2-2 Montreal Impact – This is a clash that has the potential to be a fascinating watch. And it’s likely it will be, as both sides will hopefully serve up an entertaining affair that should provide us with goals.

Advertisements

Montreal Impact new signing Eric Alexander says players “have to push” each other

Midfielder Eric Alexander has recently joined Montreal Impact following two successful seasons at New York Red Bulls and has already spoken positively of how the team can improve.

When speaking to his new club’s YouTube channel this week, he said, “competition is always good in positions and it brings out the best in players. There are a lot of good players here, especially in the middle so it’s going to be tough but I think it’s going to be good for the club overall because we’re going to have to push each other.”

He also added that he hopes to bring “competitiveness” into positions where he may be playing and will “push” his teammates in order to try and “make everybody better.”

Eric Alexander is an experienced MLS player and has also had spells with FC Dallas and Portland Timbers before his time in New York.

Embed from Getty Images

Settling in at a new club can sometimes be a daunting prospect, even for the most decorated professional players, but it isn’t something that fazes the 26-year-old.

“It’s my fourth team in six years so being traded is nothing new. You always know it can happen, but I’m pretty excited to be here and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Alexander sees his strongest position as a central ‘box-to-box’ midfielder and said, “my better stretch of games came last year when I played in the middle, I think that’s my more natural position, but I don’t mind playing out wide at all. I’m not your typical winger but I still feel I can contribute.”

How important will Eric Alexander be for Montreal Impact in the 2015 MLS season?

Playoff Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Vancouver Whitecaps

FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps have both earned their spot in the playoff positions after successful regular seasons in the Western Conference but the dress rehearsals are over and now it’s time for the real thing as they clash in the knockout round at the Toyota Stadium on Wednesday.

Dallas are appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 when they fell at this stage, losing 2-0 to New York Red Bulls – they were MLS Cup runners-up in 2010 which is the furthest they’ve ever been.

They’ve finished the regular season with slight inconsistency with four wins and five defeats from their last nine games.

Dallas met with Vancouver twice in the closing stages of the season, winning 2-1 at home in September and losing 2-0 away in October, so this is a game that couldn’t be harder to predict and should make for a fascinating tie.

FC Dallas home form: Played 17 – Won 12 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Embed from Getty Images

Vancouver’s only appearance in the playoffs came in the 2012 season when they were beaten 2-1 in the knockout round by LA Galaxy so they will be hoping to make it through to the semi-finals this time around.

As the regular season was nearing its conclusion, Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey stressed the importance of going into the playoffs in a good run of form and they’ve certainly done that, winning four and drawing one of their last five games.

Picking up victories on the road has proven to be a slight issue for the Canadian outfit, but they don’t lose too many games either, so if they don’t win this in 90 minutes, they may be able to force extra-time and penalties.

Vancouver Whitecaps away form: Played 17 – Won 3 – Drawn 9 – Lost 5

This game marks the beginning of the MLS Cup 2014, so let’s hope these two sides can set the tone with an entertaining spectacle.

Embed from Getty Images

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Whitecaps playmaker has been crucial to their success this season (10 goals, 12 assists) and a lot of responsibility will fall on his shoulders again.

Key Stat: Vancouver Whitecaps have never beaten FC Dallas at the Toyota Stadium – is there a first time for everything?

FC Dallas last five: W/L/W/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps last five: W/W/W/D/W

Prediction: FC Dallas 0 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Preview & Prediction: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

Toronto take on Montreal Impact at BMO Field in the penultimate game of the 2014 season in an Eastern Conference clash on Saturday night.

Both sides are most likely to be fairly low on morale coming in to this game for slightly different reasons.

Toronto will probably still be feeling the effects of a 3-1 defeat against New York Red Bulls which has all but ended their hopes of finishing in a playoff place.

There is still faint hope for the Canadians, but they are relying on a minor miracle as they need to win both of their last two games and hope that Columbus Crew lose both of their last two.

It’s not out of the question as anything can happen in football, so they will still need to stick to their side of the deal here.

Embed from Getty Images

Inconsistency has been a problem for Toronto and they are on a run of 3 consecutive defeats, so they need to turn the tide to get a result against their Canadian rivals.

Toronto’s home form: Played 16 – Won 7 – Drawn 2 – Lost 7

Montreal have had a season to forget as they’ve found themselves rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the entire campaign.

Moments to remember have been few and far between for them with just 6 wins all season, although they did pick up an impressive 2-2 draw with New England last weekend and are in one of their best spells of the season.

They haven’t won a single game away from home this season and this is their last chance to do so.

Putting it simply, the odds are heavily stacked against them getting a victory, but they’ve got nothing to lose and will look to pile misery on the Reds.

Montreal Impact’s away form: Played 16 – Won 0 – Drawn 4 – Lost 12

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – he’s Toronto’s top goalscorer but hasn’t scored since returning to action on 5th October against LA Galaxy so you would think he is due a goal, especially in what could be his final home game for the club.

If he has a good game, there is little Montreal will be able to do to stop him.

Key Stat: Montreal have scored just 13 goals away from home this MLS season – only Houston have scored fewer (11 goals).

Toronto’s last five: W/W/L/L/L

Montreal Impact’s last five: L/W/L/D/D

Prediction: Toronto 2 – 0 Montreal Impact