Some classics never go out of style, like a Montreal-Toronto duel on a Saturday night. Even less when the two teams have just fought an emotional battle a few days earlier.
CF Montreal (4-6-0) had plenty to celebrate on Tuesday night when they left BMO Field with a fifth consecutive victory and a ticket to the semi-finals of the Canadian Championship.
Head coach Hernan Losada’s men now have the task of completing the sweep at Stade Saputo on Saturday as Toronto FC (2-3-6) look to erase a 2-1 loss that he suffered in front of his supporters.
Overflowing with confidence, the Bleu-blanc-noir arrived in Toronto with a streak of four shutouts and offered one of his best performances of the season. Although he scored well, star Italian Lorenzo Insigne was well controlled by the Montreal defense and his compatriot Federico Bernardeschi did not appear to be very threatening either.
“I think we played as a team and defended as a team. We were very compact and we limited their space and their opportunities on the counter-attack or one-on-one, observed defender George Campbell. If you play as a team and move together, they can’t do much more. They have become players like the others. »
At the start of a grueling eight-game streak in 28 days, Losada managed to use 15 different players on Tuesday. He now hopes that his troop is rested enough to once again counter Insigne, Bernardeschi and the many talented players of the TFC.
“I don’t think it will be a rematch because it’s another competition. We’ll see how the players feel and what the best starting 11 will be. Still, it’s an important game. Not just because we face Toronto at home, but because we have to keep winning,” said the head coach.
As a player, Losada was at the forefront of one of the fiercest rivalries in the world of soccer. In his country, the Argentinian wore the colors of Club Atlético Independiente and he played a few matches in the “Clasico de Avellaneda”, a rivalry against Racing Club which began in 1907.
Losada was no longer part of the squad when a duel between the two Argentine teams turned sour on August 13, 2006, when violence and rioting in the stands forced referee Horacio Elizondo to abruptly end the meeting.
Obviously, the Canadian derby has not yet reached this historic status, but Losada has already grasped the emotion to be drawn from these clashes between CF Montreal and Toronto FC.
“Each derby has its historical baggage. We have to take this derby against Toronto very seriously for our fans. It’s three points to go for, but it gives you the feeling that it’s much more than that. It gives you more motivation, more energy. You know you shouldn’t disappoint your fans in this kind of game,” he explained.
Striker Romell Quioto is one of the players who rarely disappoints against the TFC since his arrival in Montreal.
Quioto, who scored a goal in his return to action against Orlando City SC last weekend and played 75 minutes on Tuesday, has four goals and one assist in 10 games against the Toronto club.
The Honduran, however, approaches Saturday’s game in the same way as all the others. He also says he’s ready to go into overdrive if Losada needs him, even though he’s only just recovered from a right leg injury that caused him to miss four games.
“Rivalry matches are always special. Against Toronto, there is always a special motivation, but no matter the opponent, I always want to give the best of myself, hinted Quioto. I feel comfortable on the field. I’m happy that I was able to get minutes against Orlando and Toronto. I’m ready to play on Saturday. »
Defender Joel Waterman will be absent as he serves a one-game suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards. Campbell could replace him as a starter on central defence.
In addition, the section of Stade Saputo usually reserved for opposing fans will be closed, following the incidents that occurred at BMO Field on Tuesday.
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