Toronto FC have given their season one last lifeline with a crucial 3-1 home victory over the Montreal Impact. The win at BMO Field allows Toronto to move within six points of the Impact, who currently sit in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The reds struck early, with Sebastian Giovinco chipping Evan Bush in the eighth minute, and often, with Giovinco adding a second and Osorio also scoring moments later.
Despite taking that three goal lead, it was far from a comfortable night for Toronto. The Impact had several chances against a shaky TFC backline, but were only rewarded once for their efforts with Alejandro Silva getting on the scoreboard.
TFC will have to quickly build on this result if they want to truly get back in the playoff push, however. They visit Portland on Wednesday before returning home for a battle against expansion side LAFC on Saturday.
84’ Bono comes up big, absolutely massive save from the Toronto keeper. He’s had a rough go of things late but that is a big save at a big time from him. Not a great second half from Toronto but it is working.
78’ - SUB: Final change for Toronto FC as Tosaint Ricketts comes on for Lucas Janson. Another good showing from Toronto’s Argentine loanee, and he could once again be crucial midweek against Portland.
72’ - SUB: Giovinco is out and replaced by Jay Chapman. Giovinco has been dealing with a bit of hamstring injury of late, so no need to risk that with the lead Toronto currently have. He has done his job, now Chapman comes in to help Toronto close out the last 20 minutes of this match.
62’ - SUB: Ashtone Morgan checks in for Victor Vazquez. Looks like Toronto FC are continuing to be careful with the Spaniard and his knee issues. As said on the broadcast it is highly unlikely we see him in Portland midweek as a result. He also checks out early here as Toronto FC shifts to a full back five with Morgan joining the match.
60’ - Pretty boring so far in the second half, comparatively at least, which is very much what Toronto FC will want. Getting caught in two minds a little bit in terms of whether to attack or defend this lead.
Half-time: Toronto FC have dropped 14 points from winning positions this season, and this game shows you why. Even up 3-0 the Impact still have far too many chances in front of goal. This could be an ugly second half, but it’s critical that Toronto slow this one down, keep their shape and solidify things defensively. Either that or Montreal will continue to claw their way back from 3-1. That being said, the attack looks absolutely deadly from a Toronto FC side with Lucas Janson added in, so much technical ability and skill up top.
38’ - Yeah this thing is still wide open. Toronto FC’s backline continue to look like they have a bunch of holes in it. Montreal with a number of chances, and could have just had a penalty.
30’ Goal Montreal Good heavens, this game is WIDE OPEN. Alejandro Silva with a class hit that beats Alex Bono. This game isn’t over just yet as the visitors seem to have woken up.
29’ Goal Toronto FC! It’s gone goal crazy at BMO Field! Yet another chip, this time from Jonathan Osorio as he deftly pushes the ball over Evan Bush. Great ball through from Delgado, Toronto FC have been excellent in combination tonight.
Apparently chips are on the menu at BMO Field tonight. 3-0. There's another from Osorio. pic.twitter.com/ruvG8MLG9S— Mitchell Tierney (@mitchelltierney) August 26, 2018
22’ - Goal Toronto FC! Alright Seba is on tonight. Another beautiful finish from the Italian as he combines well with Jonathan Osorio. Toronto’s two best players this season are the ones currently stepping up in perhaps the biggest game of the season, no surprise there.
The 500th MLS goal in Toronto FC History. No surprise it's Toronto's best two players this season combining in their moment of need. 2-0 against #IMFC. pic.twitter.com/3Mzva993NY— Mitchell Tierney (@mitchelltierney) August 26, 2018
8’ - Goal Toronto FC! Sebastian Giovinco with the cheeky little chip over Evan Bush. Just the kind of class Toronto FC needed early on in this one. Doesn’t happen without some solid play from Justin Morrow and a good deception run from Lucas Janson.
Brilliant chip from Giovinco to gave #TorontoF a 1-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/DVaJcOBsrP— Mitchell Tierney (@mitchelltierney) August 26, 2018
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Montreal Impact at BMO Field. This evening, though, the 401 Derby makes its return as Toronto FC welcome their rivals to Ontario. Last time these sides met, it was a 1-0 win for Montreal at the Olympic Stadium on St. Patrick’s Day, and before then, it was a 1-0 win for the Reds just a couple weeks before the 2017 playoffs began.
The Impact currently occupy the sixth and final playoff spot in MLS’s Eastern Conference. With 33 points, they’re nine ahead of TFC (although the Reds still have two games in hand). Montreal is in the thick of a very heated battle for position in the standings.
Perhaps that’s why they bolstered their forces during the transfer window with former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman made his debut last weekend in a win over the Chicago Fire, and he put in a solid shift through 90 minutes of work. The Impact will be hoping he can give their defence a boost, since the backline has been an issue this season (they’ve allowed 42 goals, worst among Eastern teams in a playoff spot at the moment).
Montreal haven’t been scoring all that much either, with just 33 goals — among the fewest in the league. They’ve really struggled to find finishing from anybody other than Ignacio Piatti, who has 12 goals. Matteo Mancosu, typically a first-choice striker for the Impact, has only scored three times.
Still, we all know what the Impact can do on the counter, and Piatti is a player who has terrorized TFC in the past. Plus, the Reds will be missing some key pieces. Jozy Altidore is suspended again, and although Chris Mavinga has served his time, he’s now apparently dealing with some kind of hamstring issue. Victor Vazquez’s status always seems to be up in the air nowadays, and even Jonathan Osorio apparently left training early.
The good news is that Drew Moor is ready to play 90 minutes!
Anyway. With their most hated rival coming to town, TFC may be able to find the spark they’ve been missing and finally put up another MLS win.
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: Auro and Chris Mavinga are both listed as out with hamstring injuries. As mentioned above, Vazquez and Osorio’s statuses are up in the air, although the latest word on Oso is he’s okay. Jozy Altidore remains suspended for violent conduct.
Montreal Impact: Midfielder David Choiniere (ankle) is a long-term injury, and defender Kyle Fisher (yeah, the one who bodychecked Steven Beitashour) is out with a quad injury.
How to watch
Match date/time: Saturday, August 25, 8 p.m. ET
TV: TSN 4/5, TVA Sports (Quebec)
Live stream: TSN GO
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto), TSN 690 (Montreal)