Wayne Rooney and DC have playoffs in sight ahead of pivotal clash with Montreal

DC United’s upturn in form has been stunning since former England captain Wayne Rooney crossed the Atlantic to bolster their offensive ranks. The all-time leading England and Man Utd goal scorer joined a DC side sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference, with a miserable record when it came to goals, shots on target and chances created. But he has dragged them up to seventh in the standings and was instrumental once again as they drew 3-3 with conference leaders New York Red Bulls at the weekend. DC United now stand on the brink of a playoff spot and they will bid to further those claims when they take on Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Montreal are currently in sixth place, four points clear of DC United, but Rooney and co have a game in hand. Win at the weekend and they will close the gap to just one point, with a fair amount of games left in the season. The top six teams go through to the playoffs, and it would be exciting to see Rooney taking on the best in the league, so fans hope he can produce more magic.

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Check out a BetDSI review and check their odds and you will see that DC United are the favourites to pick up the win. With Rooney in the team, anything looks possible. He has five goals and seven assists in 12 starts, including the most incredible play of the season. DC United were drawing 3-3 with Orlando City and they won a corner deep into injury time, so the goalkeeper went up for it. But the ball was cleared and Orlando’s forward was in possession with an empty net gaping in front of him. However, Rooney burst back with phenomenal pace, delivered an inch perfect slide tackle, won the ball cleanly, carried it up the pitch and blazed a long ball directly onto Luciano Acosta’s head, allowing the diminutive forward to nod in the winner.

Rooney followed that up with a well-taken brace in a 4-1 victory over Portland in their following game, and he has scored in his last two matches. He is pulling the strings with aplomb, and Acosta’s performances have improved greatly since teaming up with the former Everton and Man Utd star. His arrival gave the entire team a lift, and they have not lost in four games now.

Yet Montreal Impact are also in great form, so it should prove to be a cracking game. Last time out, they travelled to fifth placed Philadelphia Union and earned a thrilling 4-1 victory courtesy of Alejandro Silva Gonzalez’s brace and further strikes from Saphir Taider and Quincy Amarikwa. That followed a 3-0 win over Red Bulls, in which former Arsenal and Man City right-back Bacary Sagna was on target. Evan Bush has arguably been the best goalkeeper in the league this season, and they too are surging with confidence.

The last meeting between these teams finished 1-1 in August, and DC United have not beaten Montreal since 2015. Yet after a testing few years there is finally optimism around this club, thanks to Rooney’s arrival and their subsequent upswing in form. If they want to finish in the top six and surge into the playoffs they need to win games like this in front of their home fans. They have the quality and the momentum to pull it off. But Montreal know that victory will leave them heavy favourites to seal the final playoff spot, so the stakes are extremely high. Both teams have been exceptional in front of goal lately, so we should be in for a high-scoring affair, full of chances and individual brilliance.

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Five MLS clubs set to battle for signing of former Liverpool and Chelsea star – report

Five Major League Soccer teams are set to fight for the signing of Spanish striker Fernando Torres this summer, according to Marca. The 34-year-old forward will be a free agent once his contract with Atletico Madrid comes to an end in June, leaving the former Liverpool and Chelsea star free to negotiate what will surely be the final move of his career.

Torres has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but it’s understood he is not keen on making the move to Asia. He rejected the chance to join CSL side Dalian Yifang in February and would reportedly prefer a move to the United States.

With no La Liga sides making Torres an offer at this point, and just a month left of the season in Spain, Torres is looking to MLS. The five clubs who are reportedly interested in bringing him to the league are Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact, New York City FC, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

A move to NYCFC would allow Torres to link up with former international teammate and good friend David Villa. The pair fired Spain to Euro 2008 glory as well as the 2010 World Cup title. New York City FC do not currently have a Designated Player slot free though, so Torres would need to accept being a TAM signing to move to the Big Apple.

Chicago and Montreal are the only sides of the five linked that have a DP slot available. It’s not certain that Torres would need to fill a DP slot, particularly at 34 years of age. But it will certainly help negotiations having that option.

The Fire are a particularly interesting option, given the fact that Torres played with Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic during his first spell at Atletico Madrid. The pair spent two seasons together in 2003/04 and 2004/05.

On top of that, Chicago own the discovery rights to Fernando Torres if he does indeed move to MLS, according to league sources. The Fire have opened the 2018 season with just four points from their opening five games. They’ve scored seven goals but could undoubtedly benefit from partnering Torres with 2017 Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic up front.

Match gallery: Sounders lack discipline, lose 1-0 to Impact

Three games. Three reds. Zero goals. Zero points.

It’s been a nightmare start for Seattle Sounders (0-3-0, 0 pts) this season as they lost 1-0 at home to Montreal Impact (2-2-0, 6 pts) on Saturday night. Kelvin Leerdam was sent off for violent contact in the first half as a lack of discipline continued to plague the Sounders’ season. Down a man, Seattle was still able to create chances in the final third but couldn’t keep a clean sheet as Ignacio Piatti dribbled through the Seattle defence and found a wide open Jeisson Vargas to give the Impact a 1-0 win.

Losing Leerdam was only half of the problem for the Sounders as the club is currently on their longest scoring drought to start a season. Still missing Osvaldo Alonso to injury, Seattle lacks a midfield presence to both distribute offensively and stop the ball on defence. As a result the Sounders have had to rely solely on moving the ball up the wings and playing outside-in instead of being able to work from the middle of the field and play from the inside out.

Against Montreal, too often the attacking midfield of Handwalla Bwana, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Magnus Wolff Eikrem were pushing too high, almost in line with the Montreal defenders while Gustav Svensson and Christian Roldan were sitting deep to play the ball out of the back. This left a void the center of the field making it difficult for the Sounders to mount an attack. Once they turned the ball over to Montreal there was no one in the middle of the pitch to slow down the attack and the Impact were often quickly into the final third.

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With two weeks before their next match, a Sunday trip to Kansas City, Seattle have some time to find a solution. Alonso is likely to be healthy in two weeks although it remains to be seen if he’s ready for 90 minutes. While his control of the midfield should help the Sounders, the defensive midfielder known as ‘the Honey Badger’ is not one for being disciplined. That task will have to fall on the shoulders of head coach Brian Schmetzer in the coming weeks as the team prepares for Sporting KC.

If there was any bright spot from Saturday’s loss, it’s that Seattle still managed to create scoring opportunities even while down a man. The Sounders had multiple shots on target late in the match but failed to trouble keeper Evan Bush with them. Had they managed to more accurately place their shots, we could be talking about an improbable win or draw instead of their third-straight loss.

Clint Dempsey will return from his one-match suspension when the Sounders travel to Kansas City on April 15th to help Seattle find their first goal of the MLS season. It will be a difficult task against Sporting (3-1-1, 10 pts) who currently lead the Western Conference but who have also allowed nine goals to ten scored.

MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 3 – Montreal defender’s near perfect performance

For every week of the 2018 MLS season, MLSGB will award two Player of the Week accolades to the previous gameweek’s standout performers. We will highlight one star attacking player, as well as the leading defensive performer from the last round of fixtures. The Attacking Player of the Week award can be won by strikers, wingers and advanced midfielders. While the Defensive Player of the Week award can be won by goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders.

Week 3 saw teams find their defensive edge. Although there was still plenty of attacking action to enjoy, there were six clean sheets from the nine games. With Week’s 1 and 2 providing just three clean sheets combined – there has been an increase in standout performances from the defensive positions.

One man who put in a near-perfect performance was Montreal Impact’s MLS debutant Rod Fanni. The signing of the experienced French centre-back has surprised some, given that he is now 36 but he silenced any doubters in Week 3 and that’s why he is the MLSGB Defensive Player of the Week.. It was a memorable occasion for Montreal, who beat their rivals, and current MLS Cup winners, Toronto in the 401 Derby.

As you can see above, the stats really do speak for themselves. Fanni made four interceptions, which was the second highest on the field. Of his five clearances, four of those were headers, which highlights his impressive timing and ability in the air.

While Fanni made just the one tackle, his passing statistics were very strong. With an accuracy of 94%, the debutant completed 31 of his 33 attempted passes.

An in-depth look at Rod Fanni’s performance in Montreal’s 1-0 win over Toronto FC in Week 3 (stats via @StatsZone app)

The image above gives further support to show just how well Fanni played. Four of his five clearances (green circles) came in the box (two clearances in the six-yard box overlap).

Fanni’s four inceptions (green diamonds) came within the final third of the pitch, where he was key in breaking up Toronto attacks, an area they are particularly dangerous in with long-range shots.

The Frenchman also made nine ball recoveries (green +’s) showing he was quick to snuff out Toronto’s usual dominance in attacking positions.

Don’t miss – MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 3

Fanni has made an impressive start to life in MLS and he will be hoping to put in consistent performances like this on a weekly basis. If he can add that to the Montreal backline they will be in good standing moving forward this season.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC

Olympic Stadium – Saturday, March 17 2018 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Preview

It’s taken just three weeks for the first 401 Derby of the season to take place as Montreal Impact and Toronto FC go head-to-head at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. The Impact will be looking forward to playing in front of their own fans for the first time this season but know Toronto arrive in incredibly high spirits.

The Impact have opened their season with back-to-back road losses, but have managed to score three goals. They fell 2-1 at Vancouver on opening weekend and were perhaps unlucky to lose 3-2 at Columbus last week. Gyasi Zardes netted a penalty in the 94th minute after Montreal had come from 2-0 down at halftime.

Photo Credit: Hazel May

Remi Garde’s men need to shore up their defence but it’s unclear if the arrival of Rod Fanni will help in that regard. The Impact need to impress on their home opener and will be desperate to get at least one point on the board.

Toronto FC travel to their Canadian rivals after their incredible CONCACAF Champions League win over Tigres on Tuesday night. The reigning MLS Cup champs advanced to the semifinals with a 4-4 away goals aggregate win, and now have a few weeks to prepare for their clash with Club America.

Their priority now needs to be getting their MLS season up and running. They haven’t played since opening weekend, when they fell 2-0 to Columbus in one of the surprise results of the season so far.

Montreal will hope to capitalise on any fatigue that may be on show but both sides will be looking to attack in what should be an entertaining battle. They both come into the game as the bottom two sides in the East, so they will be going for the win at this very early stage of the campaign.

The rivals met five times last season. Toronto beat Montreal over two legs in the Canadian Championship Final before they went head-to-head three time in MLS over the final two months of the season. The Reds won at Montreal 3-1 before the Impact got revenge with a crazy 5-3 win at BMO Field. Toronto then made amends with a 1-0 win at home on the final day of the regular season.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Team News

Montreal Impact

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Zakaria Diallo (ruptured achilles), Kyle Fisher (leg), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (hamstring).

Toronto FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Justin Morrow (leg), Chris Mavinga (leg).

🚑 Out: None.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Key Stats

Montreal Impact’s MLS form: L/L

Toronto FC’s MLS form: L

Key stat: There have been 30 goals in the last six MLS clashes between these two sides (including playoffs) – an average of five per game.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-2 Toronto FC: It’s a tough game to call, as Toronto are expected to make some changes to the team that advanced past Tigres on Tuesday. Montreal will be ready to take advantage but the Reds still have strength in depth. Goals are expected but this one might just end in a high-scoring draw.

In pictures: Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Montreal Impact – New faces on show as ‘Caps edge out Canadian rivals

The Vancouver Whitecaps got their 2018 MLS campaign off to the perfect start, beating Montreal Impact 2-1 thanks to goals from new signing Kei Kamara and teenage sensation Alphonso Davies.

Both sides had plenty of new faces on show following busy offseason work on restructuring their teams for the 2018 season. The game was scoreless at the half, with neither side able to stamp their authority down.

But the hosts took the initiative in the second-half, scoring twice in eight minutes to go 2-0 up. First, Alphonso Davies crossed for Kamara to head in brilliantly. Then, Davies himself got a goal, slotting in Cristian Techera’s low cross, despite Evan Bush seemingly doing enough to keep it out. It was Davies’ first MLS goal and the 17-year-old winger earned MLSGB’s Attacking Player of the Week accolade for his fine performance.

Montreal didn’t give up and managed to claw a goal back through Matteo Mancosu in the 81st minute, after a brilliant cross by Daniel Lovitz. But the ‘Caps were able to hold on to a valuable opening win in front of a record crowd at BC Place for a season opener.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of Simon Fearn and Hazel May.

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2018 Key Transfers: Montreal Impact

With the 2018 MLS season edging closer with each day, we are running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Montreal Impact and their key moves ahead of their second MLS campaign in 2018…

Key Signings

Raheem Edwards: Canadian international Edwards is a versatile left sided prodigy. After a breakthrough season last season with Canadian rivals and MLS Cup champions Toronto he was picked up by LAFC in the expansion draft, only to traded to Montreal immediately. Two caps for his country last year were well deserved and he will look to push on this coming season.

Michael Petrasso: Young wing-back Petrasso started out at the Toronto academy before a move to Queens Park Rangers in 2013. After numerous loan spells and frustration with playing time, he has moved back to the great white north. Toronto-born Petrasso is also a Canadian international and a move back to his native land may spark a career yet to really get going.

Saphir Taider: The former Saints Loanee (if only for a month) has yet to reach his potential. As a young 17 year old he put in some very impressive displays playing for Grenoble in France. After two stints with Bologna sandwiched between a spell at Inter Milan, he has made the move to MLS. And at only 25, he still has a lot of life in his career.

Notable Departures

Laurent Ciman: Perhaps the biggest loss to an MLS club this year is Belgian stallwault Ciman. In three seasons with Montreal he has time and again proved to be one of the greatest MLS defenders. He was moved to new franchise LAFC in a surprise trade following the expansion draft, with Raheem Edwards and Jukka Raitala moving to the Impact. He will be a big loss.

Hernan Bernardello: Argentine international Bernardello has finished his second stint in Montreal after only one season. In the two spells at the Canadian franchise he has amassed 53 matches but only registered a single goal. The 31-year-old midfielder started 17 regular season games last term and has since joined Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland.

Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla: Perhaps a worrying sign for not only Montreal but the league as a whole. The 18 year old Tabla is a prospect from the Montreal academy, and has moved to FC Barcelona. For such a young talent to leave the league before really showing what he can do is a potential concern. The move is great for the young forward, but begs the question why MLS is struggling to keep hold of their own young talent.

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – Playoff ranking battle continues

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – With just two games remaining, the Eastern Conference top six has already been confirmed. Toronto FC have been crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is still plenty for the rest of the top six to fight for ahead of the postseason.

The five Eastern Conference fixtures will kickoff at the same time on Sunday evening at 17:00 ET (22:00 BST). You’d be mistaken to think any of the teams in action will take it easy just because they have already secured a playoff spot. The battle for a second-placed finish goes on to secure a Knockout Round bye. Read on for all of this weekend’s Eastern Conference predictions: MLS week 32 is going to be an exciting one…

Toronto 3-1 Montreal Impact

The buzz around Toronto continues after being crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is no time to take their foot off the gas. Montreal Impact have missed out on the playoffs in what has been an underwhelming season. The home side could be boosted with the return of Sebastian Giovinco, they’ll need him fit and inform if they’re to go the distance in the playoffs. Expect a TFC win.

Orlando City 2-2 Columbus Crew

Orlando’s 2017 campaign hasn’t been one to remember. Although they have missed out on the playoffs, this should be a special occasion. Kaka, who has been their captain since their inception to MLS, announced he will be leaving the club at the end of the season. This will be his final game. The Lions’ faithful will be holding out for him to sign off in style and make it a memorable ending. Columbus Crew will have no time for sentiment however, they’ll be looking to finish the season strongly as the playoffs loom.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Atlanta United

This is possibly one of the most important fixtures in the Eastern Conference this weekend. Atlanta can still finish second. They trail NYCFC by three points with two games remaining. They’ll be hoping to secure second place to get the reward of a bye in what has been an incredible debut season. NYCFC will be holding out for their rivals to do them a favour. It was a healthy win last time out for Red Bulls. They look likely to finish 6th in the conference, but that won’t be a concern to them, with a playoff place secured.

New England Revolution 1-3 New York City

As mentioned, New York City are sitting second in the East. The Knockout Round bye is theirs to lose as things stand. This is New England’s last home game of the 2017 season. It hasn’t exactly been what the doctor ordered for the Revs faithful. They need to give their fans something to be cheerful of to sign off 2017 as their countdown to next season beings early. In all honesty, NYCFC should be looking to take three points here and likely confirm second place.

Chicago Fire 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Who would have thought this time last season Chicago would be in the playoffs a year later? The Fire have been impressive in 2017 and have rightfully booked their place in the postseason. Philadelphia have nothing left to play for other than pride. If it’s any conciliation to their fans, they can’t finish bottom of the East, as DC United have got that locked down. We predict Chicago to make it three games without a loss and pick up another home win.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs New York City FC

Major League Soccer: Montreal Impact vs New York City FC

Stade Saputo – Wednesday, September 27 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 23/20 – Draw 5/2 – NYCFC 2/1

Montreal Impact vs New York City FC: Preview

Montreal Impact welcome New York City FC to Stade Saputo on Wednesday night with their season hanging by a thread. The home side’s playoff hopes are in the balance and they need three points to keep them alive.

Montreal’s postseason hopes received a huge boost with last Wednesday’s 5-3 win at Toronto. But they followed that result up with a 2-0 defeat at Atlanta on Saturday and still have it all to do.

The Impact have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons but are at real risk of missing out this time around. They trail the New York Red Bulls by three points coming into Wednesday’s games. Plus, the Red Bulls have a game in hand.

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Montreal are six points off matching last season’s total points tally with five games to go. They haven’t necessarily gone backwards as a team, but failing to make the postseason would be a massive disappointment.

New York City will have no such problem as they booked their place in the playoffs this weekend. They became the second team to guarantee a top six finish in the East, as results went in their favour.

Despite failing to beat DC United at home in that 1-1 draw, NYCFC secured their playoff berth as a result of the Impact’s loss at Atlanta. The visitors will now be hoping to pile more misery on the Canadian side as they look to pick up form ahead of the postseason.

Patrick Vieira’s men haven’t won in three and know they need to improve form over the final few games of the regular season. They have only lost one of their last eight and are tough to beat but need to rediscover that clinical edge before entering knockout football.

This will be the second and final meeting between the two sides in 2017, unless they meet in the playoffs. They shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium back in Week 3. NYCFC have won both their previous away trips to Montreal in MLS so far.

Montreal Impact vs New York City FC: Team News

Montreal’s only injury concern remains Ambroise Oyongo as the left-back is out for the season. Hernan Bernadello, Laurent Ciman, Blerim Dzemaili and Victor Cabrera are all one booking away from suspension and need to be careful.

New York City FC will travel to Montreal without three players. Miguel Camargo and Maxime Chanot are long-term absentees, while Yangel Herrera is also sidelined. Alex Ring is listed as ‘questionable’ with a toe injury. Maxi Moralez is one booking away from suspension.

Montreal Impact vs New York City FC: Key Points

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

New York City FC’s last five: D/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Montreal have lost three consecutive home games coming into Wednesday’s game. They have not lost four in a row at home in MLS since joining the league in 2012.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – If Montreal are going to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need their star man to shine. The playmaker scored twice and picked up one assist in the 5-3 win over Toronto last week. Expect him to look to take the game to New York City from the off, as he looks to prove the difference once again.

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Montreal Impact vs New York City FC: Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-2 New York City FC – The problem for Montreal is that they are so inconsistent. They can put goals past anyone when on song, as proven against Toronto last week. But they concede too many and that ultimately costs them more often than not. NYCFC have dropped off a little themselves, but they are still hard to beat. The Impact need this more but they might not have enough left to make the postseason for the third-straight season. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

BMO Field – Wednesday, September 20 – [19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto 4/11 – Draw 15/4 – Montreal 6/1

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Preview

Toronto FC take on Montreal Impact in the penultimate 401 Derby clash of the 2017 regular season. The two rivals come into the game in contrasting form, with Toronto on a red hot streak and Montreal really struggling.

Toronto made it six wins on the bounce with a 4-0 demolition over LA Galaxy on Saturday night. That away win was made even more impressive when you consider Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco didn’t travel to California.

Don’t miss: Will Toronto break the record for the highest MLS points tally?

The Reds are closing in on their first-ever Supporters’ Shield title. They are 11 points clear of NYCFC in second place. They need five points to guarantee top spot, with their playoff place already confirmed.

via @TorontoFC on Twitter

Montreal fell 3-2 at home to Minnesota on Saturday night, making it four-straight losses. The Impact found a bit of form through August, winning four on the spin. But since then, they’ve reversed their form and dropped four consecutive games.

They are six points outside the top six with six games to play. Failure to win on Wednesday night would leave them with a mountain to climb if they’re to make the postseason.

After making the playoffs for the past two seasons, it would be a serious step backwards for the franchise if they failed to make the top six this term. But that concern will likely become a reality with a loss at their rivals here.

Toronto won the reverse fixture 3-1 last month, with goals from Giovinco (2) and Altidore proving too much. The Reds also beat Montreal over two legs to win the Canadian Championship back in June.

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Team News

Toronto FC should welcome back star attacking duo Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco here after both were rested for the trip to LA. Benoit Cheyrou and Nick Hagglund are both ruled out through injury once again. Greg Vanney might make changes to his side again here, with a trip to New England coming up on Saturday.

Montreal Impact’s only injury absentee remains Ambroise Oyongo, as he is ruled out for the season. The Impact face a tricky trip to Atlanta United on Sunday night and might have to rotate the squad here as a result.

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

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

Key Stat: It’s been almost a year since Toronto FC lost a home game during the regular season. Their last defeat came in October last year, when DC United picked up a 2-1 victory at BMO Field.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Atomic Ant was rested for the weekend trip to LA but he should be back and ready to attack Montreal on Wednesday. He has played more games against Montreal than against any other team in his career, scoring eight in 14 against them.

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Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Prediction

Toronto FC 3-0 Montreal Impact – The fact is, Toronto FC are the best side in MLS right now. They are riding a six-game win streak and haven’t lost for two-and-a-half months. Montreal, on the other hand, have lost four-straight games and look to be in trouble. Their playoff hopes are fading fast and defeat here would leave them up against it. But with such a contrast in form between these rivals, it’s tough to see anything other than a convincing home win.