Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impact May Have Advantage in First Derby Match against Weary Toronto FC

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impact May Have Advantage in First Derby Match against Weary Toronto FC

Article excerpt

Impact look to jump on tired Toronto FC

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MONTREAL - Playing against a tired and perhaps distracted Toronto FC could be an advantage, but the Montreal Impact aren't counting on it.

The Impact (0-2-0) may not get a better chance to upset the defending Major League Soccer champions than in their home opener Saturday afternoon at Olympic Stadium.

Toronto (0-1-0) is coming off a thrilling win over Tigres in the CONCACAF Champions League in a two-game quarter-final that ended Tuesday night in Mexico. Between the travel, wear and tear of a hard-fought series and emotional high of winning, the Reds may be vulnerable heading back to league play on artificial turf in the home of their biggest rival.

"We did that ourselves three years ago," Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti said this week, recalling the Impact's 2015 run to the Champions League final. "The travelling and everything is difficult.

"But we're thinking about our team because if we do the job right we can win at home. We're not thinking about Toronto -- who's injured or who's coming or who's playing. We're only thinking about ourselves. We've worked a lot this week on the things that didn't go well the last games and that we need to improve. We'll be ready for Saturday."

The Impact went 0-3-2 in MLS play during its CONCACAF adventure and Toronto also had a setback against Columbus in its only league match so far. But TFC is a deep team that can field a strong side even if some regulars sit out.

"You've seen in the past this team has a lot of experience and a lot of character," said Toronto forward Tosaint Ricketts. "And we've proven that we can get through the hard times no matter the schedule.

"The guys, they're up for it. The derby's enough to fuel everyone."

There are question marks regarding defenders Justin Morrow and Chris Mavinga, who left Tuesday's game early.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney said Mavinga, who may have a sports hernia, has made the most progress of the two while Morrow is day-to-day with a calf issue. …

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