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Preview: Toronto FC head to Montreal with Canadian Championship on the line

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The Reds aim to officially close out 2021 on a high

Alejandro Pozuelo in action during Toronto FC’s 2-1 win against Pacific FC in the Canadian Championship semi-final.
(Sean Pollock/Waking The Red)

TORONTO, Ontario - The 2021 MLS season has been as tough as they come for Toronto FC, but despite the lack of success in the league this year, the Reds have a chance to finish this season with silverware. On Sunday afternoon, the Reds will travel to the Stade Saputo in search of their eighth Canadian Championship.

Kick-off is scheduled for 1 PM EST and can be streamed through OneSoccer.

This year’s final may mean more to the organization than ever in the past. Not only is this the final chance at silverware, but a win on Sunday will guarantee the Reds a spot in the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League and help bring some much-need optimism as the Club begins its planning for the 2022 season. Additionally, for some of the squad, and coaches for that matter, this might be their final contribution in a Reds shirt as the GM Ali Curtis will look to rebuild the squad.

The Reds limped over the finish line as the regular season came to a close as they were unable to record a win in their final five games in MLS play (3 draws, 2 losses). The Reds did play the Canadian Championship semi-finals in that time span defeating Pacific FC 2-1 to book their spot in Sunday’s final.

It’s not exactly unchartered territory for Head Coach Javier Perez at this point, but once again, Perez may have difficult decisions to make about his lineup on Sunday afternoon. Speaking to the media ahead of Sunday’s finale, Perez acknowledged that the Reds injury list was “extensive” and that two of the Reds’ three Designated Players may not be available.

Just like the Reds, Sunday’s final represents a chance to salvage the 2021 season for CF Montreal. CFM missed out on the 2021 MLS Playoffs by two points - a 2-0 loss to Orlando on the final day of the season sealing their fate.

With the 2020 Canadian Championship final yet to be played and a winner to be officially recognized, CFM is the most recent team to win this competition. In 2019, Montreal lifted the trophy by defeating Toronto on penalty kicks. CFM faithful will hope for a repeat of that result on Sunday. This will also be the first time since 2019 that CFM will play a Canadian Championship in front of their home crowd. En route to the 2021 final, Montreal won both games on the road, including a nail-biting penalty shootout against Forge FC at Tim Hortons Field.

Montreal Head Coach Wilfred Nancy will feel confident about his squad’s chances against the Reds heading into the final. Nancy and CFM found plenty of success against the Reds in 2021. TFC and Montreal met three times in 2021, with Montreal winning on two occasions and playing to a 1-1 draw in the most recent meeting. On that day, it was striker Jozy Altidore’s equalizer that rescued a point for the Reds and ultimately hurt Montreal’s chance at a playoff berth.

Having matched up with CFM three times, the Reds will know where the danger lies in this Montreal squad. In front of goal, Romell Quioto led Montreal in goals with eight, followed closely by Mason Toye and his seven goals. But the importance of Djordje Mihailovic will be well known to the Toronto coaching staff. Mihailovic appeared in 34 matches for CFM and collected 16 assists - the second-highest total during the regular season.

Rumours have already started about changes that are incoming to the Reds squad, both amongst the coaching ranks and on the field, but with one last game to play, it’s a chance for this squad to redeem themselves and end the 2021 season on a high note.

Path to the final:

TFC

Preliminary Round: Bye

Quarter-final: 4-0 win vs York United

Semi-final: 2-1 win vs Pacific FC

C.F. Montreal

Preliminary Round: Bye

Quarter-final: 1-3 win vs HFX Wanderers FC

Semi-final: 0-0 (7-8) win vs Forge FC

The winner of this match clinches a berth for the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League.


Match Details:

Opponent: C.F. Montreal
Stadium: Stade Saputo, Montreal, Quebec
Kick-off: 1 PM EST
Watch: OneSoccer