Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC in Playoff Mode as Slumping Montreal Impact Come to Town

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC in Playoff Mode as Slumping Montreal Impact Come to Town

Article excerpt

Toronto FC welcomes slumping Impact

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TORONTO - Coming off a two-week break, Toronto FC returns to action Sunday primed for the coming playoffs with Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco expected back in the lineup for a date with perennial rival Montreal.

While league-leading Toronto (19-5-8) is gearing up for its post-season push, the Impact (11-15-6) are limping into the off-season. Montreal has lost three straight and seven of its last eight, a slide that started with a 3-1 loss to Toronto at Saputo Stadium on Aug. 27.

The lone win during that run, however, was a 5-3 victory on Sept. 20 at BMO Field that ended TFC's season-long undefeated streak at home.

"If Montreal coming back to our place not long after what happened last time doesn't motivate us then we shouldn't be out here," said veteran defender Drew Moor.

Toronto will celebrate securing the Supporters Shield as the team with the best regular-season record at a ceremony before Sunday's game. With two games remaining including an Oct. 22 date in Atlanta, TFC is three points from tying the 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy's league record of 68 points.

Coach Greg Vanney, who was part of that Galaxy side, says his team is now in playoff mode.

"It's about the mentality of arriving in the playoffs and not being caught by the shift in intensity and the shift in urgency when you get there," said Vanney.

"For us, we've managed through good results on the year to enable ourselves to really kind of look a little bit ahead without looking past our games, but to use these two (remaining) games to also work on some things that we need to prepare ourselves maybe for the playoffs."

It has also allowed the team to let Giovinco recover from the quad tightness that has kept him out of the last four games.

Toronto defeated the Red Bulls 4-2 before the international break, snapping a rare two-game losing streak.

Vanney says everyone is healthy. Captain Michael Bradley and striker Jozy Altidore are back from their disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign with the U. …

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