Toronto FC hosts Montreal in the Canadian Championship

Toronto FC goalkeeper, Alex Bono trains as Toronto FC hosts Montreal on June 22
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PREVIEW – Toronto FC hosts Montreal, Canadian Classique rivals at BMO Field. They will add just another chapter of this special rivalry between both Canadian teams as both teams have struggled in MLS play recently.

Toronto FC hosts Montreal, Canadian Classique rivals at BMO Field

CF Montreal

Recent Form and Results

At one point, CF Montreal was leading the Eastern Conference. However, because of their recent struggles, they are now fifth in the Eastern Conference. This included losing against Austin FC at home despite being a man-up since the 44-minute. This is what the CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nany said about the game according to TSN:

“I would’ve like to see us get on the front foot and attack their box more, we need to pick up the pace and we just didn’t do that enough,” said head coach Wilfried Nancy.

Former CF Montreal player, Maximiliano Urruti, scored the game-winning goal in the 67-minute, despite being a man down since the 44-minute.

It was a disappointing game for Montreal which has been struggling as of late. Still, they are still in an MLS Cup playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. CF Montreal was sixth in short passes completed and seventh in long passes completed. They also have one of the highest assist totals in the league, something TFC should be wary of.

Players to watch

Djordje Mihailovic (if he plays) will be a player to watch. He is probably Montreal’s best player and a potential Most Valuable Player candidate. He also leads the team with seven goals. Second is Romell Quioto with five goals, followed up by Kei Kamara and Joaquin Torres with three goals each. This is while Torres leads the team with five assists. Alistair Johnston and Mihailovic have four assists each, followed up by Kamara and Kamal Miller with three assists each. The defending Voyageurs champions, CF Montreal, got to this stage of the Canadian Championship after dispatching Forge FC 4-0 at Stade Saputo.

Toronto FC

Recent Form and Results

Toronto FC has not had a great season so far. They have the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference and are dangerously close to the Wooden Spoon. The Chicago Fire FC and DC United are the only two teams with fewer points than Toronto in MLS play and are only a point behind the Reds.

Giving up goals has been a problem for the team. They are tied for the second-most goals conceded along with Sporting Kansas City. This includes giving up early goals in many MLS season games. One example is their 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls where Lewis Morgan scored the first goal of the game in the second minute of play.

This is what TFC head coach, Bob Bradley, said about the game according to Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun:

“We had a very poor start for the first couple of minutes,” TFC coach Bob Bradley added. “It took us a few minutes after that (to bounce back), but then I thought we started to increase the tempo of our play, we started to get forward quicker and, as the half went on, I thought we had 4-5 chances to get back to 1-1.

TFC was looking like they were on a high after defeating the Chicago Fire FC at home and winning the 2020 Voyageurs Cup against Forge FC in thrilling fashion on the road. However, as with a young team with many changes being made, TFC is still a work in progress. Their young players are getting their feet wet trying to compete at the highest level of professional soccer in Canada and in the U.S.

Players to watch

From a Montreal point of view, Jesús Jiménez and Alejandro Pozuelo, offensively are players to look at. Jiménez leads the team with seven goals while Pozuelo is second with four goals. This is while both players lead the team in assists along with Jonathan Osorio. Osorio is also third in team scoring with three with Deandre Kerr in fourth place with two goals. Luca Petrasso has had an excellent year with this team as he has two assists this year in MLS play.

Toronto got to this point of the Canadian Championship because of a 2-1 win over the HFX Wanderers FC at Wanderers Grounds. After a lacklustre first half, Toronto was able to get the job done, including scoring the first two goals of the game in Nova Scotia’s capital, Halifax.

Injuries for both teams

For TFC, the one injury they do have is to their local icon, Osorio. He, unfortunately, picked up a leg injury on May 28 just before the international break started according to transfermarkt. His return as of right now is unknown. A question mark for the team is Jahkelle Marshall-Rutty, who returned from injury against the Red Bulls on the bench but did not play.

This is while Mihailovic currently has an ankle injury. He has been out since May 30 and has missed one game for the Canadian MLS team.

Predictions

Prediction: Toronto FC 2 CF Montreal 2 (TFC wins in penalties)

As one could tell by this prediction, the game could go either way. If Montreal has Mihailovic, they have a better chance of winning this game. However, if he is injured for Wednesday’s game, they will need to look at other players to step up for the team. Quioto did that for Montreal in the 2021 Canadian Championship Final against TFC.

Also, playing at home benefits Toronto over Montreal, who will need to travel on the road to get a result. Saying that TFC is far from a perfect defence. They will need to be wary of Montreal, who is excellent at connecting players with passes. Toronto FC hosts Canadian Classique rivals CF Montreal at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The game will take place at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario. The winner of this game will play on the road for the final.  This game will be shown live on OneSoccer and Telus.

Photo Credit: Toronto FC on June 21, 2022.