Montreal vs Toronto

Patrice Bernier 2014

The MLS Rivalry Week action kicks off in earnest on Wednesday evening with the famed 401 Derby, pitting Toronto FC against the Montreal Impact at Toronto's BMO Field (8 pm ET, TSN and RDS in Canada, MLS LIVE in the USA).
The rivalry between these two Canadian clubs is a relatively young one, having started with the creation of the Amway Canadian Championship in 2008, but it is rooted in a much deeper history. The two cities – the largest in Canada – are differentiated by distinct history, culture and politics, as well as a strong sense of city pride. Oh yeah, and there's the small matter of that hockey rivalry.
With that in mind, linked up with some of the native Torontonians and Montrealers that will be representing their city in the derby on Wednesday night to get their thoughts on the rivalry, Canadian soccer and life in the cities they love. Native Montrealer and Impact captain Patrice Bernier flew the flag for his hometown, while TFC Homegrowns Jonathan Osorio and Ashtone Morgan offered a youthful perspective of their own city. Check it out:
1. What has been the sweetest victory over your rival team?
Ashtone Morgan (Toronto): I’ll say we’ll go back for Champions League a couple years ago. We knocked them out at BMO Field. It was a good game. It was 2-0 I think it was. It was a good feeling!
Patrice Bernier (Montreal): When we won 6-0 at home [in the Amway Canadian Championship on May 1, 2013]. I remembered the 6-1 loss for the Voyageurs Cup [on June 18, 2009], when Vancouver thought they’d clinched it. I was there. I saw that game. And then, I knew that a lot of people had criticized us for our first leg. The coach had fielded kind of a B-team, and people thought we didn’t take the competition seriously. We lost 2-0 there. 6-0 sent a pretty clear message.
Jonathan Osorio (Toronto): The 6-1 game, when De Ro scored a hattrick. That was the best one.
2. What's your favorite thing about the rival city?
AM: I like the Quebec aspect, the French aspect of the whole city. Everyone speaks French there, and English as well. I think it’s a neat place, a neat place to visit with family. It’s a nice place!
JO: The casino!
PB: It’s a pretty high-end city. It has evolved, more so than Montreal. It’s more modern, to a certain degree. We’re more European. They’re more like the New York of Canada. Ten years ago, I’d go to Toronto, and now, it’s not the same city as before. The skyscrapers, everything… It’s a more modern, jet-set kind of city now.
3. What's your least favorite thing about the rival city?
JO: I don’t really have a least favourite thing. The roads are all in French. I don’t know!
PB: Well, the sports teams. (Laughs.) The sports teams. It’s natural. It’s not hate, it’s dislike. Naturally, from Montreal to Toronto, you can’t support their teams
4. Which player on the opposing team do you respect or admire the most?
PB: Good question. I have a lot of respect for Dwayne [De Rosario] – the Canadian national team, everything he’s done – but his time in Toronto was short. So I can’t say Dwayne, really. I like [Sebastian] Giovinco, right now. He brought them something new. [Michael] Bradley, of course. But my pick is Jim Brennan. He was one of the first there. I think he's got the most games in their history. He was a pillar, at first.
JO: I think [Ignacio] Piatti is a really good player.
AM: I have a couple teammates on that team. I like Maxim Tissot. I think he’s a good player, and I wish him all the best. I play with him on the national team, and he’s a talented player.
5. Any good Toronto-Montreal rivalry memories outside of soccer?
JO: Yeah, Habs-Leafs is always a fun game. It’s fun to go to the bar with friends to watch that game, for sure.
PB: Any time that the Habs beat the Leafs.
6. Best Canadian soccer player of all time, male or female?
JO: All time, I would say it’s a toss up, for males, between [Dwayne] De Rosario and Paul Stalteri. For women, Christine Sinclair.
PB: It's tough. Do you go with Craig Forrest, Atiba Hutchinson, Alex Bunbury? It’s not easy. Look, it’s my generation: I’ll go with Atiba Hutchinson. He’s the most consistent talent. He’s the one that has, so far, for the past five or six years, maintained the best level on the Canadian team. Even when Dwayne or Julian [De Guzman] was there. He's really the most consistent and shows that his talent is always at that level.
AM: Dwayne De Rosario, and I’d say Christine Sinclair!
7. Does the CanWNT have what it takes to make the World Cup final and if so, who'll be the hero?
AM: I think so. I think they have what it takes to make it to the final. Sinclair will bring it home for them and bring it home for the country!
JO: I think they have what it takes. People are saying, offensively, it hasn’t really come yet but I think, if that gets clicking, they’re a dangerous team. The player to take them there? I really admire Ashley Lawrence in the middle. She’s a really good player.
PB: Yes. They’ve got the will. They’re motivated. They’re at home. I feel that it’s enough to push all the way. Christine Sinclair is the easiest name to call, but the thing is she hasn’t exploded yet. She’s a clutch player. She scores a lot, but she scores in the big moments. And those are coming.
8. What's the best thing to do on a bye week in your city?
JO: Enjoy all the patios on College Street!
PB: It depends on the weekend. The Jazz Festival’s coming up. But for me, I’m going to my summer cottage. I’ll get away from Montreal, from the Montreal bubble. But there's so much to do in the summer in Montreal. This is a summer city. Jazz Festival, French music festival, food festivals, Osheaga are coming up. It really depends on when, during the year, I get my two days off.
AM: Just relax with the family. That's really it.
9. Best musician/artist/author to come out of your city?
PB: I’ll say [comedian] Anthony Kavanagh. Our families have known each other for a long time. He's someone who, despite not being so present in Quebec lately, has had a great career internationally. He’s succeeded not just here, but elsewhere. He’s established his brand overseas.
AM: I think everyone would want me to say Drake, so I’ll go with that.
JO: Drake!
10. Thoughts on poutine?
PB: Fantastic. Lots of calories, but it’s a fine comfort food. When you feel like having something heavy, poutine will do the trick.
JO: I like poutine. It's not my favorite thing in the world, but I like it. I'll eat it.
AM: It tastes good.