Relief for Toronto as Giovinco’s injury not thought to be serious

Sebastian Giovinco’s injury is not thought to be serious, despite initial concerns as he limped off the field in Toronto’s 2-2 draw away to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening.

Toronto fans would have feared the worst when they saw the Italian star replaced by Tosaint Ricketts in first-half stoppage time, but Greg Vanney revealed after the game that the injury is not as serious as it appeared.

“He’s OK,” the Toronto head coach said after the game. “He’s sore. It was a contusion around the side of the leg. When that gets swollen and tightened up, it’s tough to loosen up and move. We’ll see how he progresses over the next couple of days.”

Giovinco was forced off after a heavy challenge from defender Oguchi Onyewu, just moments before Toronto then earned a penalty which Jozy Altidore dispatched to get them back into the contest.

The Reds then went 2-1 up on 71 minutes thanks to a Justin Morrow goal but were pegged back two minutes later when CJ Sapong rounded Clint Irwin to seal a draw.

Toronto have started the season with back-to-back road draws but will be frustrated after letting their lead slip at Philadelphia, just a week after Giovinco missed a penalty at Real Salt Lake in that opening 0-0 draw.

They travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps next weekend but it is unclear whether Giovinco will be back in time to play on the artificial turf at BC Place.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC

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

Venue: Stade Saputo – Sunday, October 16 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 6/5 – Draw 23/10 – Toronto 21/10

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome rivals Toronto to Stade Saputo on Sunday in the penultimate weekend of fixtures. This is a tie that can have a huge an impact on the final MLS regular season standings.

Mauro Biello’s side are sitting 4th in the Eastern Conference on 44 points, five behind Toronto, depending on results going their way, Montreal can still finish the season in third place.

Montreal come into this one having won their last two games. The latest of the two, a 1-0 away win over Orlando.

The Impact have had a strong season and will be looking to take some form into the playoffs, but they have to ensure they get there first. Biello’s side are above the red line by five points. Their fate is in their own hands.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Toronto are still in the running to finish top of the East. Though they cannot win the Supporters’ Shield, topping their conference would cap off an impressive regular season.

Grey Vanney’s side are just two points behind both New York franchises, so the remaining two fixtures for all three sides are extremely important.

Toronto have been in great form on the road, winning their last three. They do however, come into this one without a win in four, all home games. This will have frustrated their fans no end, as they could have been in the running to win the Supporters’ Shield had they won those games.

Their latest outing was a surprising defeat to DC, a result they will be looking to forget and patch things over with in this tie. Toronto know they’re in for a tough game with so much at stake.

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Team News

Andres Romero remains the only injury concern for Montreal Impact.

Toronto could well be welcoming back Sebastian Giovinco in this tie but Vanney offered no guarantees, so the injury list remains just two players as Ashtone Morgan is expected to be out, while Gio is questionable.

Key Points

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

Toronto’s last five: W/D/D/D/L

Key Stat: Away form – Toronto have won their last three games on the road.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Argentine has netted an impressive 15 goals this season as well as registering four assists. Piatti has struck fear into opposition defenders since the start of the campaign and that will be no different this weekend.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact Ignacio Piatti

Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-2 Toronto – A draw would not be a surprising result given the magnitude of this tie. Neither side will be coming into it expecting to lose and the intensity of the game could certainly spice things up.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, May 21 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 19/20 – Draw  5/2 – Columbus Crew 14/5

Match Preview

Toronto FC welcome Columbus Crew to BMO Field on Saturday evening for the latest instalment of the Trillium Cup series.

The home side come into this tie off the back of their 1-1 draw against New York City FC. The Toronto faithful would have been hoping for a win but it was a good result as their side had to come from behind for a share of the points.

This was a missed chance for Greg Vanney’s side, who would have gone top of the Eastern Conference with a win. Toronto currently sit fourth, trailing top spot by two points.

Toronto need to take a win from this game to end their run of four consecutive outings at home with a respectable points tally. They have taken four points from three games so far, so seven from four matches would be a solid return.

Toronto Celebrate New York Red Bulls

Columbus Crew come into this one off the back of their 1-1 tie with Colorado, their second consecutive draw.

Crew have been on a far better run of form recently, only losing one of their last five, winning two and drawing two. They have built up momentum to push their way up table but know this is going to be a tough tie, especially considering they have failed to win in their last seven away games.

Columbus sit 9th in the East, seven points off top spot and three outside of the playoffs. They need to continue their run of form and push into the top six, the very least that would have been expected of them at the start of the season given the strength of their 2015 campaign.

Seattle Sounders vs Columbus Crew

Team News

Toronto FC are missing four players for the visit through injury. Benoit Cheyrou, Marky Delgado, Jonathan Osorio and Jozy Altidore are all out.

Columbus Crew have just two injury concerns ahead of this one as Chad Barson is out, while Tony Tchani is a doubt.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/L/W/L/D

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Columbus were unbeaten in all three Trillium Cup meetings last season, winning two and drawing one and lead the all-time series with six wins to two. The Crew fans will be hoping their side can recreate the form they showed in the 2015 campaign and take a positive result in this one.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Toronto frontman has netted eight goals and racked up five assists so far this season. If he is on form here he could prove to be the difference for the home side once again.

Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC 2016

Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-1 Columbus Crew – Toronto to peg another win back on Columbus in the Trillium Cup series and get back to winning ways here. Columbus have been in a great run of form but this tie will be a huge challenge and their struggles on the road will continue.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. New York City FC

Venue: BMO Field – Wednesday, May 18 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 8/13 – Draw  3/1 – New York City FC 4/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC welcome New York City FC to BMO Field in the first outing of a double gameweek for both of these Eastern Conference sides on Wednesday night.

The home side come into this one off the back of that exhilarating 4-3 loss to Vancouver, a frustrating result to take, but somewhat unsurprising as they never led at one point in the game. That loss was Toronto’s second in their last five games and their first home loss of the season, albeit only their second home outing.

Toronto face Columbus at home in the second of their double gameweek clashes, so they have two intense fixtures in the space of four days to contend with here.

Greg Vanney’s side are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference, trailing top spot by two points, but they do have this game in hand, so a win would take them top ahead of the weekend.

Toronto Celebrate New York Red Bulls

New York City FC are in fine form. They come into this tie off the back of their 2-1 away win over Portland, their third win on the bounce.

Patrick Vieira has made a great impact in his time at the club and as a result New York City are 2nd in the Eastern Conference, only behind Montreal on goal difference. They just need to avoid defeat here to go top.

New York City are unbeaten against Toronto since their inception, winning two and drawing two. They have scored at least two goals in all four of those games against the Canadian side.

Up next for NYCFC is the New York Derby in the second of their double gameweek matches – the first of four consecutive home outings for Vieira’s side, so they have a great chance of continue their challenge at the top of the East.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

Toronto FC are missing three players for the visit through injury. Benoit Cheyrou, Marky Delgado and Jozy Altidore are all out. Altidore’s hamstring injury is also a huge blow for the USMNT as he now looks set to miss the Copa America.

New York City FC could also be without three for this tie. Connor Brandt is out, while Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison are both doubts. Mikey Lopez is one caution away from suspension.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

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

Key Stat: Goals – The two sides have netted a combined 18 goals against one another in their four meetings in all competitions – an average of 4.5 per game.

Key Player: David Villa – The NYCFC talisman has scored four in his last three, showing just how important he is to Vieira’s side. They will be reliant on him to outperform Sebastian Giovinco to win them this game. Both forwards have had incredible seasons so far, netting eight goals each.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact David Villa

Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 New York City FC – In all four of the meetings between these sides there has been plenty of action with an astonishing 18 goals being scored. It has the makings of becoming an MLS classic and we can expect a real battle again here. Giovinco vs Villa is the matchup most fans will be relishing, so many will be looking forward to seeing this unfold and we don’t expect the two goal-machines to disappoint.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, May 7 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Match Odds: Toronto 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Dallas 12/5

Match Preview

Toronto FC finally play their first home game of the season this weekend as they welcome FC Dallas to BMO Field on Saturday evening.

Toronto come into this tie off the back of their 2-1 away loss against Portland. They sit 3rd in the Eastern Conference, which is impressive considering all their matches have been away from home.

This tie starts a run of four consecutive home games for Toronto. If they can make home form count they could find themselves at the top of the Eastern Conference and mount a strong challenge for the Supporters’ Shield.

Greg Vanney’s side will be under pressure from their home fans who will expect them to win against a Dallas side who have struggled on the road.

Toronto Celebrate New York Red Bulls

FC Dallas come into this tie off the back of their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of NYRB, a far from ideal result heading into this one.

Oscar Pareja’s side have conceded 17 goals already this season, which is a concern as they face a Toronto side who have only let in seven.

Dallas haven’t lost a Major League Soccer tie between the sides since 2007, but they will be aware of how tough this game will be.

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Team News

Toronto have just three injury concerns heading into this tie as Clement Simonin, Benoit Cheyrou and Jonathan Osorio are all expected to miss out. Vanney has no players suspended or nearing suspension.

FC Dallas are expecting to be without two as Alex Zendejas and Matt Hedges are both carrying injuries. Pareja also has no players missing through suspension.

Key Points

Toronto’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

FC Dallas’ last five: D/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: Despite playing every game away from home so far this season Toronto have conceded the least amount of goals in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – An easy choice. The Toronto goal-machine has already scored six in his eight appearances this season. He will be looking forward to playing at home just as much as the Toronto fans will enjoy watching their star-player.

Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC 2016

Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-0 FC Dallas – There will be a buzz about this game for Toronto. They have conceded less goals than games they have played this season and will be relishing the chance to play in front of their home fans. Dallas have struggled away from home and might not have enough to take anything from this clash.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC

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

Stadium: Stade Saputo – Saturday, April 23 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 3/1

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome Toronto to Stade Saputo this weekend in the latest chapter of the 401 Derby between two Canadian rivals.

Montreal come into this tie as leaders of the Eastern Conference. They were victorious in their last outing, coming from behind to beat Chicago Fire 2-1.

The Impact have won the last two meetings between the sides and will be feeling confident heading into this fixture.

Mauro Biello’s Montreal have scored at least two in their last nine home Major League Soccer fixtures and have won all of those games so Toronto are up against it this weekend.

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Toronto are 4th in the Eastern Conference heading into this tie which, considering they have played all six of their fixtures this season away from home, is a good position to be in.

They come into this tie having won 1-0 away at DC United which ended a four-game winless streak. Greg Vanney’s side have struggled for consistency this season, but we can expect that to change once their home fixtures begin in two weeks.

This tie will be a test for Toronto who have averaged just one goal a game, and with Montreal’s home goalscoring form in mind, they could struggle to take all three points here.

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Team News

Montreal Impact have just three injury concerns ahead of this tie. Andres Romero and Cameron Porter are both expected to miss out, while Victor Cabrera is a doubt. Biello has the luxury of no suspensions or players nearing suspension through yellow card accumulation.

Toronto also have three injury concerns. Clement Simonin and Benoit Cheyrou are both out, while Tsubasa Endoh is a doubt. Vanney also has no concerns of players nearing suspension.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s form: W/L/L/W/W

Toronto’s form: D/L/L/D/W

Key Stat: Fortress – Montreal have won their last nine home Major League Soccer games.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Montreal playmaker has already netted four goals this season including his side’s late winner last time out. He will be full of confidence.
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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 Toronto FC – As the goalscoring form suggests Montreal will have just a little too much for Toronto and will remain top of the Eastern Conference after this Canadian derby clash.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Toronto

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Toronto

Stadium: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, April 9 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: New England 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Toronto 11/4

Match Preview

New England Revolution host Toronto at the Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening in an intriguing MLS clash between two Eastern Conference sides.

The Revs will be relieved to have got their first win on the board in their last outing, as they edged past the New York Red Bulls with a 1-0 home victory.

Jay Heaps will be reasonably satisfied with his side in the opening five games, having lost just once, but will know they need to turn draws into wins if they have ambitions of challenging for the Eastern Conference or Supporters’ Shield title.

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New England have only lost two of their last 29 home games in MLS (W18, D9), so they’ll be hoping to continue their good record at the Gillette Stadium.

Toronto’s last two games has seen them suffer consecutive 1-0 defeats to Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids, as their strong start to the season has deteriorated slightly.

It was always going to be tough in the opening stages for Greg Vanney’s side, with their first eight games being away from home due to renovations at their BMO Field stadium.

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The Reds know that staying in touch with the top places in the Eastern Conference is vital over the next four weeks, as a run of four straight home games awaits at the end of this long stretch of road games.

The last meeting between these two sides saw New England beat Toronto 3-1 away from home in September 2015, while the last clash at the Gillette Stadium also saw the Revs win by the same scoreline in August 2015.

Team News

New England Revolution only have one injury concern, as defender Darrius Barnes may miss out with an ankle sprain. Other than that, Jay Heaps has a full compliment of players to call upon.

Toronto will be without midfielder Benoit Cheyrou who is suspended following his red card away at Colorado last time out. Defender Clement Simonin is out with a knee injury, while Tsubasa Endoh is a doubt with a leg problem.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s form: D/D/L/D/W

Toronto’s form: W/D/L/L

Key Stat: New England Revolution are unbeaten against Toronto in their last seven MLS meetings (W5, D2).

Key Player: Diego Fagundez – The Uruguayan has been the brighest spark for the Revs so far this season, with two goals and two assists from five appearances. He could be the difference on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-1 Toronto – Neither side has been entirely convincing in the early stages of this MLS season. But New England will fancy themselves to edge this one on home soil. Toronto will provide a stiff test, but this run of away games may be starting to take its toll.

2016 MLS Season Preview: Toronto

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what Toronto will be looking to achieve this year…

A sixth placed finish in 2015 would’ve been a slight disappointment for Toronto, given how good they were at times. But there were mitigating circumstances, as eight of their first nine games were away from home due to expansions and upgrades to their BMO Field stadium. Five defeats, a draw and just three wins from those nine fixtures immediately put them behind schedule, so they did well to recover. Had they not lost their final two games of the regular season though, they could’ve finished second and avoided the conference knockout round, showing how little there was between the Eastern Conference sides. It meant they faced Canadian rivals Montreal Impact in the MLS Cup knockout round and suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat. The margins between success and failure were paper thin in 2015, and the 2016 campaign is likely to be a similar story – fine tuning the minor details will be key.

Last season’s finish:

Eastern Conference – Position: 6th – P34 – W15 – D4 – L15

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What needs to change this year?

The Reds were exhilarating going forward in 2015, thanks in most part to Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore who bagged 35 of Toronto’s 58 goals between them. As a result, Greg Vanney’s side had the second most lethal attack in MLS – only New York Red Bulls managed to score more (62). As good as they were offensively, they were equally as bad at the other end of the pitch. They leaked far too many goals (58) meaning they had the worst defensive record in the league alongside Chicago Fire and New York City. If they have aspirations of finishing higher up the conference and thus having a better seeding come the postseason, they must tighten things up.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Clint Irwin – Goalkeeper, Drew Moor – Defender, Steven Beitashour – Defender, Will Johnson – Midfielder

Outs: Joe Bendik – Goalkeeper, Chris Konopka – Goalkeeper, Ahmed Kantari – Defender, Jackson – Midfielder, Robbie Findley – Forward, Luke Moore – Forward

Key Player:

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Sebastian Giovinco – Forward – The Italian was quite simply sublime in 2015. He became the first player in MLS history to top both the goalscoring and assists charts. He scored 22 and set-up 16 goals in 33 appearances and quite rightly scooped the 2015 MLS Landon Donovan MVP Award. Everyone will be eagerly anticipating the start of the 2016 season and hoping that Giovinco can replicate last year’s performances.

One to Watch:

Marco “Marky” Delgado – Midfielder – The youngster was a regular feature in the Toronto side last season, making 20 appearances and contributing three goals and three assists. At just 20 years of age, he’s an extremely exciting prospect and playing in a team with the likes of Giovinco, Altidore, Michael Bradley and Benoit Cheyrou will only help both his experience and quality grow. 2016 will be another big year in his development.

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Predicted Finish:

Eastern Conference – 3rd – Unlike many of the teams in MLS, Toronto have done well to limit the amount of offseason activity in terms of players coming in and out of the squad – the main acquisition being Will Johnson from the Portland Timbers. It means they’ve kept things fairly stable and for that reason, they should be raring to go in 2016. These players have spent a significant amount of time together now and should have really developed a strong understanding between one another. It leaves them in a great position to push on to bigger and better things this season, so don’t be surprised to see them climbing the Eastern Conference. There’s no reason that Toronto shouldn’t be aiming for an MLS Cup win this year.

What are you expecting from Toronto in 2016?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC 

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, September 5 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle Sounders 5/6  – Draw 13/5 – Toronto 16/5

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders welcome Toronto to CenturyLink Field on Saturday with both sides battling for playoff places.

Sounders are 6th on 38 points in the Western Conference and their recent shaky form has resulted in them only just sitting in a playoff spot.

Sigi Schmid’s side have won just three of their last 12 regular season games but come into this one off the back of a 2-1 home win over Portland Timbers.

With San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo applying the pressure on Sounders, Schmid is more than aware his side cannot afford anymore sloppy performances and this is a game they have to take points from.

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Toronto have been in solid form, winning their last two on the bounce and have registered three wins in their last five outings.

Greg Vanney’s side have struggled to find form on the road and haven’t won in their last five attempts away from home.

Toronto are sitting 4th in the Eastern Conference on 37 points and aren’t out of the running to contest for the Supporters’ Shield, but their main aim will be to finish the season with a good run of form and head into the playoffs full of confidence.

They come into the game off the back of a 2-1 home win against Montreal Impact and will feel they have a chance of upsetting Sounders but know this will be a tough task.

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Team News

Seattle have six injury concerns heading into this tie. Andreas Correa, Andy Craven and Damion Lowe are all out, while Leonardo Gonzalez, Clint Dempsey and Andreas Ivanschitz are all doubts. Osvaldo Alonso and Andy Rose are both one caution away from suspension. While Roman Torres, Marco Pappa and Victor Mansaray are away on international duty

Toronto also have six injury concerns for this one. Mark Bloom remains out, but their main concern will be whether or not key man Sebastian Giovinco will feature as he is a doubt. Benoit Cheyrou, Jackson, Damien Perquis and Nick Hagglund are also all doubts. Jozy Altidore is away on international duty with the USMNT, while Colleen Warner is suspended.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five in MLS: L/L/W/L/W

Toronto’s last five in MLS: W/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: Toronto have failed to win any of their last five away ties in MLS and have conceded at least three in all of those games.

Key Player: Obafemi Martins – The Sounders forward has netted an impressive ten goals in 14 appearances this season and it has left us wondering how much better things could be if he had been fit all campaign.

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Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 3-1 Toronto – Sounders to make home advantage count and beat a Toronto side who have struggled of late on the road.

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.