Impact host TFC in all-Canada clash
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Canadian rivals will clash on Saturday as the Montreal Impact welcome Toronto FC to Stade Saputo.
Toronto will be hoping for a bounce-back effort after a lackluster 3-0 defeat on Wednesday at the hands of D.C. United at RFK Stadium, which leaves the club with just two wins in its last nine games.
United jumped out in front after just eight minutes through Eddie Johnson, who fired home following a deft pass from midfielder Perry Kitchen. Johnson has found the back of the net in three consecutive matches.
Chris Rolfe doubled United's lead in the 16th minute when blistered one past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik from close range for the two-goal margin.
Seven minutes later, DC would put the game out of reach with a bit of help from TFC defender Nick Hagglund. United's Nick DeLeon bossed TFC defender Justin Morrow off the ball 20 yards from goal, rounded Hagglund and struck a shot towards goal. His attempt caromed off Bendik, and Hagglund�s attempt at a headed clearance found its way into his own net.
"Unfortunately, we didn't do well in either (penalty) box," Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen. "We have to defend, and we didn't defend very well. Goals change games."
Montreal will be aiming to break a lengthy losing streak as the club has lost five straight in league play heading into Saturday's all-Canadian clash.
The Impact's latest setback came last Sunday in a 3-2 loss to the Portland Timbers at Stade Saputo.
The hosts grabbed the opening goal through Andres Romero in the 13th minute, but Max Urruti equalized for Portland in the 34th minute before Timbers captain Will Johnson put his side ahead with a penalty kick five minutes before the break.
Montreal fought back to level the score two minutes later through Max Tissot as the clubs went into the intermission all square.
But Portland seized control of proceedings in the second half and netted the winning tally eight minutes from time through Argentine Designated Player Diego Valeri, who ripped a low strike from 20 yards out that dipped past Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush for the winner.
"We are fragile right now," said Impact assistant coach Mauro Biello, who ran the bench in the absence of Frank Klopas, serving a one-game suspension. "As much as it's on the field, it's mental as well. We can't allow three goals at home and expect to win the game."
"We let the game get a little bit too open looking for the winning goal and that hurt us," explained Bush. "We got stretched a little bit on the third goal, and then I managed to get a fingertip to the ball, but unfortunately I wasn't able to push it around the post."
Saturday's match will be the first meeting of the season between the sides. TFC claimed a 1-0 win in the last meeting on Oct. 26, 2013 at BMO Field.
08/01 16:57:44 ET