Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Hosts Impact in Second Leg of Championship as Rivalry Continues

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Hosts Impact in Second Leg of Championship as Rivalry Continues

Article excerpt

Toronto FC always excited to face Montreal

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TORONTO - Michael Bradley says Toronto FC's greatest strengths this season has been a consistency in focus and intensity game in and game out.

But in a Canadian rivalry that grows increasingly hostile with each meeting, Toronto's captain doesn't deny there will be extra energy in the locker-room Tuesday before TFC hosts the Montreal Impact in the second leg of the Canadian championship final.

"One of the great things about this group is the excitement and the energy and the focus for every game has been consistently at a high high level," Bradley said. "But with that, you play a second leg at home, against Montreal with the chance to lift a trophy, there's no doubt there's big excitement. I think the atmosphere (Tuesday) night will reflect that and it's our first chance this year to win a trophy and that's something very important to us."

Matteo Mancosu and Jozy Altidore traded first-half goals in a 1-1 tie in the first leg on Wednesday in Montreal, with TFC's away goal giving them an advantage going into Tuesday's Part 2 of the two-game, total-goals series.

On the eve of TFC's third game in six nights, coach Greg Vanney said there was "good energy" at Monday's practice, which wrapped up just before a rain storm rolled into the city. "You could tell guys are still 12 to 24 hours away from getting their full legs back. (But) my sense is that everybody will be excited to play in front of our home fans and for another trophy."

Vanney said there's a danger, in these gruelling stretches of back to back to back games, of physical and mental fatigue. Training becomes about managing that.

"As players, you love to play, you love to go and play games," Vanney said. "Training sessions can get grinding, so I think during this stretch even though it gets to be tough, it's fun to play games that are meaningful and fun to play ones that are for championships."

There's little love lost between the two Canadian squads that met in the playoffs the last two seasons. Montreal dispatched Toronto in 2015, and Toronto knocked out Montreal last season in overtime in a wild Eastern Conference final. …

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