MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Columbus Crew

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal First Leg) – Montreal Impact vs. Columbus Crew 

Venue: Saputo Stadium – Sunday, November 1 – 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 6/5 – Draw 13/5 – Columbus Crew 21/10

Match Preview

Montreal Impact host Columbus Crew on Sunday night in their first ever MLS Playoffs Conference Semifinal as two sides with genuine hopes of lifting the MLS Cup this year go head-to-head.

After a 3-0 knockout round win over Toronto on Thursday Montreal will feel confident of progressing into the Eastern Conference Final after the two legs with Columbus.

Much of their recent success is down to Didier Drogba and his sensational goalscoring record since arriving in the summer. He has now scored 12 in his last 11 matches in MLS.

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With four wins on the bounce, you’d be brave to bet against the Impact in this one. They are a real force at home and deserve to be where they are right now.

Montreal Impact’s regular season record: P34 – W15 – D6 – L13

Columbus have been excellent this season and display consistency that is not to be underestimated. They are the favourites to win over two legs when you consider their regular season form but this is the MLS Playoffs and anything can happen as we’ve already seen this week.

Remarkably, Columbus lost both matches against Montreal during the regular season and so it seems the Canadian’s have the Crew’s number.

Columbus have been handed a boost however, as Kei Kamara is expected to start after serving his one-game suspension. The striker has been so important for them going forward this season and his tally of 22 goals – tied most in the regular season – is a fearful statistic for the Impact.

Columbus Crew’s regular season record: P34 – W15 – D8 – L11 

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Federico Higuain will also return for the Crew as they look set to strengthen in attack for the game, despite banging five past DC United last Sunday in that 5-0 win.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be missing Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper and Andres Romero, who are all out injured. Justin Mapp is a doubt. The Impact are likely to field an unchanged team to the one that beat Toronto. Didier Drogba had a first-half injury scare on Thursday but went on to play 90 minutes and should be fine to play.

Columbus Crew are without Kristinn Steindorsson through injury. Tony Tchani is questionable with a sore right thigh, while Matt Lampson and Chad Barson are both doubts. Federico Higuain and Kei Kamara will return after missing the final game of the season.

Key Points

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

Columbus Crew’s last five in MLS: W/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: Montreal Impact have won their last six at home in MLS, including Thursday’s 3-0 playoff demolition of Toronto.

Key Player: Didier Drogba – The Ivorian striker has been sensational since moving to Montreal and with 12 goals in 12 games it’s impossible to look past him as the difference-maker on Sunday night.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 1-0 Columbus Crew – Montreal have the added advantage of a 3-0 win in midweek to take into the game, however, Columbus have been consistent all season and have had an extra week to recover for this one. We’re expecting a nervy first leg for both sides but can see home-field advantage helping Montreal to narrowly win this one.

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Chelsea not looking to sign Didier Drogba for a third time

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has ruled out any chance of resigning Didier Drogba to help his side improve in the new year.

The Chelsea legend, who is the fourth highest goalscorer in their history, has been unplayable since joining Montreal Impact in MLS. He has scored 12 in 12, including Montreal’s third in their 3-0 playoff win last night.

Didier Drogba Chelsea Getty

Mourinho, speaking at today’s press conference, was posed the question of another Drogba return but ruled out the possibility.

“Do you want me to compare the Premier League with MLS?

“Didier will always offer something to a club and the group that loves him and that he loves. No doubt about it. But will I bring him back? No.”

The Ivorian goal-machine will be fully focused as he hopes to lead his side through the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday evening as they face Columbus Crew in the first leg.

Chelsea face Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime in what is a huge game for the club, and in particular, Jose Mourinho.

Should Chelsea consider bring Didier Drogba back to the club again?

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Toronto

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

Match Preview

Montreal Impact face Toronto FC in the first ever all-Canadian MLS Playoff match on Thursday night in what will be the second meeting between these fierce rivals in just five days.

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 – L13

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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 – L15

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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.

Team News

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.

Key Points

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.

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Score Prediction

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.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, October 17 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 10/11 – Draw 13/5 – Montreal Impact 14/5

Match Preview

New England Revolution host Montreal Impact on Saturday night only needing a point to secure their place in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with Montreal needing all three to guarantee theirs.

Without a win in three, the Revs have stuttered and supporters will feel they should probably be sitting in second in the Eastern Conference instead of in fourth.

Winning seven of their last eleven has helped to keep them in the playoff slots but they need to get over the line now and a win, or even draw on Saturday will see that happen.

New England Revolution’s record in MLS: P32 – W13 – D8 – L11

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Montreal Impact have been the surprise package of this season’s MLS season and deserve a slot in the playoffs as a result.

Orlando City’s win on Friday night means they are only a point clear of the Lions coming into the last two fixtures. They have won four of their last six and could secure the last playoff place with a win on Saturday.

A special mention has to be made for Didier Drogba, who has been little short of amazing so far in his short Montreal career, acting as a catalyst for the side and also adding valuable goals to their cause.

Montreal Impact’s record in MLS: P32 – W13 – D6 – L13

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Team News

New England Revolution are only without Darrius Barnes for this one as the defender is set to miss the rest of the season.

Montreal Impact are without Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper and Andres Romero as all three remain out. Justin Mapp and Kyle Bekker are both doubts.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five: W/W/L/D/L

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

Key Stat: New England Revolution are unbeaten in their last six home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Didier Drogba – The Ivorian striker has had a sensational impact on Montreal (no pun intended) and looks set to fire them into the playoffs this year.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 1-1 Montreal Impact – Both sides have had good seasons, although New England will feel they should have done better. But with the playoffs in sight for both, we think a score draws seems most likely. Montreal need the point more than the Revolution at this stage.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Saturday, October 3 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando City 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – Montreal Impact 11/4

Match Preview

Orlando City entertain Montreal Impact in an important clash in the Eastern Conference this weekend as the race for a playoff spot is set to further intensify.

Orlando are outsiders for a playoff place as it stands, sitting 7th and trailing their opponents Montreal, who sit 6th, by four points.

The home side come into this one off the back of their impressive 5-2 away win over the New York Red Bulls, making it three wins on the bounce. They will need to win all of their remaining fixtures, and have other games go their way, if they are to stand any chance of making the playoffs in their inaugural season.

This is the first regular season meeting between the sides at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, with the earlier meetings in the regular season both being away ties for Orlando. They are yet to beat Montreal, drawing one 2-2 and losing the other 2-0.

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Montreal Impact have also won three on the bounce and are unbeaten in their last six in total. They come into this one off the back of their 2-0 home win over DC United and look to be in good shape.

Montreal know their fate is in their own hands and they just need to continue this great run of form to ensure they remain in the last remaining playoff spot.

A loss in this one would not a catastrophic result due to their two games in hand over Orlando but they will be desperate to increase the gap to seven points over their opponents and continue to send out the message that they mean business as the regular season draws to a close.

This is the first of four away games in succession for the Impact, so they need to remain high in confidence in this tough run of fixtures. They will hope Didier Drogba can carry on his impressive scoring record to strike fear into opponents away from Stade Saputo.

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Team News

Orlando City have six injury concerns ahead of this one. Kevin Molino and Conor Donovan are out, while Harrison Heath, Corey Ashe, Pedro Ribeiro and Seb Hines are all doubts. Discipline is going to be key for Orlando here as they have Darwin Ceren, Cristian Higuita, Brek Shea and Rafael Ramos all one booking away from suspension.

Montreal Impact are expected to be without Cameron Porter and Kenny Cooper, while Justin Mapp is a doubt. Laurent Ciman and Andres Romero are both suspended and Marco Donadel is one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five in MLS: D/L/W/W/W

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

Key Stat: Homesick – Montreal have failed to win 28 of their last 30 away matches in MLS.

Key Player: Didier Drogba – Montreal’s talisman has netted seven goals in his first six regular season outings for the club. He has quickly become a fan-favourite and is always deadly in front of goal.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-2 Montreal Impact – Another tight tie between the sides to end with the same scoreline we saw earlier in the season.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. DC United

Venue: Stade Saputo – Saturday, September 26 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – Chicago 16/5

Match Preview

Montreal Impact entertain D.C United this weekend with both sides in playoff places as the end of the regular season closes in.

Impact come into this one off the back of their 2-1 midweek victory over Chicago Fire as Didier Drogba netted once again.

The home side are sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of Orlando City with two games in hand. Mauro Biello will feel his side should make the playoffs now but knows there is no room for careless mistakes.

This is the third and final regular season meeting between the sides and Montreal are yet to win against their opponents.

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DC United have dropped off the pace in the Eastern Conference and have now failed to win any of their last five matches, they need a big performance in this one.

Despite their poor run of form they still sit fourth with an outside chance of finishing top of the Eastern, but that would be dependent on results going their way.

They come into this one off the back of their 2-1 home defeat to the Columbus Crew and are a side lacking confidence.

DC will take confidence from the fact they have won the two previous meetings in the season between the sides, both 1-0, and know they are capable of beating Montreal. This however, will not be an easy task.

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Team News

Montreal Impact are expected to still be without Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Patrice Bernier and Justin Mapp. Laurent Ciman is suspended, while Nigel Reo-Coker, Andres Romero and Marco Donadel are all one booking away from suspension.

DC United have three injury concerns. Eddie Johnson and Chris Korb are expected to miss out while Davy Arnaud is a doubt. Perry Kitchen is suspended, while Conor Doyle, Steve Birnbaum and Taylor Kemp are all one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

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

DC United’s last five: L/L/L/D/L

Key Stat: DC United have failed to win any of their last five regular season games, losing four of them.

Key Player: Didier Drogba – The powerhouse has five goals in five appearances for Impact, leaving us wondering how much better their season could have been if they had the goal-machine from the start of the season.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 DC United – Impact to record their first of the season against DC as they take advantage of their opponents poor run of form.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire

Venue: Stade Saputo – Wednesday, September 23 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 4/5 – Draw 14/5 – Chicago 3/1

Match Preview

Montreal Impact host Chicago Fire on Wednesday night in what is set to be a key game in terms of playoff implications in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago are unlikely to still be looking at making the playoffs, but travel to Montreal with new interim head coach Brian Bliss looking to prove his worth following the departure of Frank Yallop this past weekend.

A third straight home win spelled the end for Yallop after what has been a thoroughly disappointing season for a Fire side that invested heavily through preseason. They have not won away all season and are unlikely to change that here.

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Montreal will see a game against the bottom side in MLS as an absolute must-win, especially in front of their own fans. They currently occupy the last remaining playoff spot in the East but have played the fewest game in the league so it’s their spot to lose.

Two home games in four days will test the squad but six points from the Chicago game and DC United on Saturday would all but guarantee a place in the postseason.

Didier Drogba grabbed his fourth MLS goal and first league assist in the 3-0 win over New England on Saturday. The Impact are now unbeaten in four and look to be in a very strong position.

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The home side has won each of the two previous matchups between these sides so far this season. Montreal claimed a 4-3 win in a thriller at the start of the month, while Chicago won 3-0 back in May.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be without Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Patrice Bernier and Justin Mapp. Drogba should start up front again, while Ambroise Oyongo returns from suspension.

Chicago Fire start life without Frank Yallop with just one player ruled out as Adailton continues to struggle with a muscle problem. Gilberto and Kennedy are likely to feature, while Matt Polster returns from suspension. Brian Bliss’ team selection will be intriguing.

Key Points

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

Chicago Fire’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Key Stat: Chicago Fire have now gone 22 away games in MLS without winning. Home sick.

Key Player: Didier Drogba – The powerful Ivorian netted his fourth MLS goal in the 3-0 win over New England last time out and will be relishing the prospect of playing against a Fire backline that has conceded 46 goals this term.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-0 Chicago Fire – Hard to see Chicago’s fortunes changing, despite a change of head coach. Montreal look very strong and will use their home advantage to seal another three points, giving them another boost as they look to hang on to their playoff spot.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire 

Venue: Stade Saputo – Saturday, September 5 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 1/1 – Draw 5/2 – Chicago Fire 13/5

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome Eastern Conference rivals Chicago Fire to the Stade Saputo on Saturday night as the Canadian side look to push on for a playoff spot.

Montreal come into the game having lost their last three in MLS by a solitary goal. More worryingly, in a crucial point of the season they have only managed two wins in their last seven.

All could be on the way up though as reports early in the week suggest that Didier Drogba could be in line for his first start in the Montreal Blue after previously coming off the bench in a loss to Philadelphia Union.

Montreal Impact’s record in MLS: P23 – W8 – D4 – L11

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Chicago are in the middle of another season of struggle as they are still searching for their first away win of the season, which is embarrassing for a club with an abundance of attacking talent.

With one win in five, they have demonstrated consistent negative results and have left themselves with it all to do if they are to make the playoffs with just eight games to play.

They are currently the only side not to win away in MLS and defensive frailties have left Frank Yallop disappointed time and again.

Chicago Fire’s record in MLS: P26 – W7 – D6 – L13

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Suffering with a weak squad, the Fire look set to miss out on the playoffs yet again this year and that will be a major disappointment for the organisation after such a busy preseason.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be without Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Hassoun Camara and Ignacio Piatti through injuries. Didier Drogba is doubt with a toe injury but should be fit to start his first game for the Impact. Maxime Crepeau, Ambrose Bitolo, Eric Miller, Johan Venegas, Kyle Bekker are all on international duty and Laurent Ciman is suspended.

Chicago Fire are missing defenders Adailton and Ty Harden through injury. Joevin Jones, Matt Polster Daniel Cyrus, Collin Fernandez and David Accam are all on international duty.

Key Points

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

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/D/L/W/D

Key Stat: Chicago Fire haven’t won away in their last 20 matches in MLS.

Key Player: Dominic Oduro – Three goals in his last five appearances highlight the importance of Oduro in the Montreal attack. His eye for goal could cause Chicago huge problems on Saturday night.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 Chicago Fire – Both sides are out of form and may see that as a chance to open out the game and have a go of it. Montreal being the home side should see them edge it as Chicago’s poor run on the road looks set to continue.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact 

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, August 29 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 4/5 – Draw 11/4 – Orlando City 16/5

Match Preview

Toronto host Montreal Impact on Saturday evening with both sides working hard for a playoff place in the Eastern Conference as the two go head-to-head in the latest 401 Derby clash as part of Heineken Rivalry Week in MLS.

Toronto are sitting fourth in the East on 34 points and come into the game off the back of their 5-0 thumping over Orlando City.

Greg Vanney will be pleased that his side got back on form with that impressive result after losing their previous two games. Toronto cannot afford to give away silly points, they are 12 points ahead of bottom side Chicago Fire but any side from seventh down still have a chance of making the playoffs.

Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore have been in brilliant form this season and have proved to be very difficult for opposition sides to keep out. Having netted 26 of Toronto’s 42 regular season goals between them, they will be feeling confident heading into this one against a Montreal side that has conceded 32 times this year.

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Montreal Impact’s last regular season game was their second successive defeat by a 1-0 scoreline. Frank Klopas will be disappointed with his side’s recent form as they have now failed to win in their last three games.

They are sitting in sixth place with 28 points and are more than capable of finishing in a playoff spot. Klopas will be hoping new signing Didier Drogba will impress and he could in line for his first start. The 37-year-old powerhouse’s addition should have given the squad a lift and his leadership qualities on and off the field will no doubt be a great help.

Montreal are yet to win in Toronto since they joined MLS, losing five and drawing four of the nine meetings between the sides at BMO Field. They know this weekend’s tie will be a real test.

Impact have struggled on the road this season, having won just two of their ten away games, they lost the earlier meeting in the campaign 3-1 and will be looking to finally put their winless run at BMO Field to an end.

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Team News

Toronto FC will are still without Mark Bloom, as he is out for the season. Damien Perquis and Luke Moore are both doubtful. Nick Hagglund is one booking away from suspension.

Montreal Impact have four injury concerns. Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper and Hassoun Camara are out, while Ignacio Piatti is a doubt. Laurent Ciman and Marco Donadel are both one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five in MLS: D/L/W/L/L

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

Key Stat: Montreal have conceded at least two goals in their last five regular season away ties.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – You cannot overlook the Italian. He has had a brilliant debut season and has caused opposition defences chaos. His 17 goals in 24 games make him the player to watch in this one and Toronto are a force when he is in this kind of form.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-1 Montreal Impact – Toronto to prove just too much for the Impact and win their second game on the bounce, taking another 401 Derby win with them.

Montreal Impact confirm Didier Drogba signing as “one of biggest days in club history”

Didier Drogba has completed his long anticipated move to Major League Soccer by joining the Montreal Impact as a Designated Player.

The 37-year-old Ivorian striker joins on a free transfer after leaving Chelsea at the end of his one-year contract last season, winning a fourth Premier League title with the Blues, and will undoubtedly help the Impact improve in all aspects.

Drogba is a huge international name and is regarded as one of the greatest players to have emerged from Africa. He has won the African Player of the Year award twice and is the Ivory Coast’s all-time leading goalscorer.

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Chicago Fire looked to be in pole position to land Drogba, though the player was reportedly not so keen on the move and instead wanted to join Montreal.

That looked improbable until the Impact made a huge trade with Chicago for both general and targeted allocation money believed to be worth at least $250,000, according to ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle.

Chicago have since acquired Gilberto from Toronto but it’s Drogba’s move to MLS that will be stealing headlines on Tuesday morning.

“It’s an honor to welcome Didier Drogba to the Impact,” Montreal President Joey Saputo said in a club statement. “From the first conversation I had with him, I felt that he really wanted to play in Montreal.

“This is one of the biggest days in club history and his arrival to the club will be beneficial in every aspect.”

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The Chelsea legend’s leadership qualities and eye for goal will make him an instant hit with Montreal fans, who will be relishing the prospect of watching their new man in action.

The Impact beat Seattle 1-0 on Saturday to move into a playoff position in the Eastern Conference and face New York City FC this Saturday night. Drogba could make his debut against an NYCFC side boasting Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, though long time teammate Frank Lampard is not yet fit enough to make his debut.

How big a signing is Didier Drogba for the Montreal Impact?