It goes without saying in two-legged playoffs, but the home leg is incredibly important. The last two seasons Toronto FC has conceded too many away goals and it has ultimately cost them.
Last year against the Impact they scored three goals at home, but allowed two. It was enough to see Montreal through to the tournament final. The year before it was a late Justin Mapp goal that cost them.
With the exception of the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC has been fairly strong at home defensively. The problem has been breaking teams down enough to score.
Toronto will start a rookie striker pairing of Jordan Hamilton and Mo Babouli tonight, and they will be relied upon to do the majority of the clubs attacking. Jonathan Osorio will play behind them as the attacking midfielder.
A string of injuries has stung the Toronto frontline, as Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Tsubasa Endoh are all out of the lineup. There was some speculation that Giovinco could be on the bench for today's match as his adductor injury is not serious, but the team likely decided to rest him instead.
Key to the Game: Stepping up to the occasion
Toronto FC is playing a rather inexperienced lineup tonight, and therefore will need some of their younger players to step up in a big way in order to get a crucial win tonight. It starts up front with Hamilton and Babouli, two players who have plenty of potential but have struggled at times to make it translate to the senior level.
At the back, Toronto FC is playing a young pairing of Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta. They have rarely seen the pitch, let alone the 18, much this season so it is a big test for them up against a full strength Montreal attack. At left back, Ashtone Morgan is another rarely used option who will get the start tonight.
Toronto does have one important returning player, however, as Benoit Cheyrou is back after missing time with an injury and suspension. The veteran midfielder will be crucial to what Toronto is able to do in the midfield tonight.
Toronto FC: Irwin; Beitashour, Zavaleta, Hagglund, Morgan; Cheyrou, Delgado, Lovitz, Osorio; Babouli, Hamilton
Subs: Bono, Morrow, Moor, Chapman, James, M. Johnson
Montreal Impact: Kronberg; Gagnon-Lapare, Lefevre, Camara, Fisher; Bernier, Bekker; Ontivero, Oduro, Piatti; Drogba
Location: BMO Field Toronto, Ontario
Kick-off time: 7:30 PM Eastern
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Available TV: TSN 4
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