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A derby with playoff implications


Toronto sit nine points behind Montreal in playoff race with two games in hand

Is there anything better than the rivalry between Toronto and Montreal? This rivalry extends beyond the realm of sports, but it becomes particularly intense when it takes its form in the beautiful game.

Some of the Impact’s current players will be experiencing the Canadian Classique, as some have named it, for the first time. And considering the playoff implications that go along with this matchup, the intensity should be at a high, this Saturday at BMO Field.

“For us, it remains a game like the others,” said defender Rudy Camacho. “It’s a bit particular because it’s so important for everyone here. We’ll need to win against a good team in this league, who will want to do everything in its power to get back into the playoff race.”

“I know it’s a big game, and that there’s a big rivalry between the two clubs,” said striker Quincy Amarikwa. “I’d say it’s similar to the derby over in San Jose against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Not to say you want to be the losing team in any situation, but I know there’s a little bit more pride involved in a derby match. I’m looking forward to it.”

This will be the second game between the two Canadian clubs this year, the Impact having won the first matchup at Olympic Stadium 1-0 thanks to a goal from Jeisson Vargas. Of course, both teams have changed quite a bit since that game in March. 

“We played a good game last time, but our system of play has changed,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “We keep the ball better now and we create more chances. We’ve progressed, and we feel better every day. Not everything is perfect, but the team has gained in confidence, and you can feel it on the field.”

The Reds, currently sitting nine points behind the Impact but with two games in hand, will visit Montreal as well before the end of the season, on October 21. These two matchups should be crucial in deciding which team will book its ticket to the postseason. Despite the Impact being in a more favourable position, Rémi Garde’s men are certainly not taking the defending champions lightly.

“They have very good individual players, so we’ll have to be careful,” added Taïder. “On top of it being a derby, it’s also a very important game. We’re going there to win, of course.”