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MLS Preview: Montreal Impact at Toronto FC

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  • Toronto are 1-2-1 against Montreal since the Impact joined MLS
  • TFC have conceded just three goals in their last five games
  • Marco Di Vaio leads MLS with 10 goals, Montreal have scored just eight away from home all season.

On the eve of Independence Day in the USA, one heck of a battle is set to ensue north of the border in Canada.

There will be no love lost between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact tonight, as the fierce rivals square off at BMO Field.

Montreal have had the upper-hand so far this season after winning their MLS encounter at the Olympic Stadium 2-1 early in the season, before rallying to beat Ryan Nelsen’s men 6-2 on aggregate in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals.

Toronto will be without Kyle Bekker, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio who are all on Gold Cup duty for the Canadian national team. Montreal have no such worries, although veteran defender Alessandro Nesta could have inadvertently announced his retirement from soccer at the end of this season ahead of the clash.

But TFC did have a boost earlier this week, as Scottish defender Steven Caldwell signed a new contract with Toronto after impressing during his short-term loan with the club. Caldwell, 32, has helped shore up TFC’s defense, who have conceded just three times in their last five games. During that stretch Toronto have a 1-2-2 record.

A win for the Reds tonight, watch on TSN in Canada from 7pm ET, would see them close the gap on Chicago to just three points but they have scored a measly nine goals at home all season, only D.C. United have scored fewer home goals in the whole of MLS.

Meanwhile Montreal are coming off the back of a wild defeat to the Colorado Rapids, as Tony Cascio’s dramatic late winner stunned the Eastern conference leaders. That 4-3 defeat to Colorado was down to defensive mistakes, according to head coach Marco Schällibaum. “My team had intensity, heart and a will to win,” he said. “But individual mistakes cost us the tie, and they’re a part of football. Maybe we wanted the win too much, but that’s my team: we absolutely wanted the three points.” Meanwhile Schällibaum was handed a one-game ban by the MLS Disciplinary Committee after his actions on the bench during the defeat.

No doubt Montreal will be favorites for the three points tonight, but after TFC dominated for large spells but couldn’t find the net against Real Salt Lake last time out, maybe their luck will change and a huge win in the 401 Derby.

OTHER NOTES: Since coming to MLS, the Impact have not won in Toronto, with two losses and a draw in three meetings in all competitions at BMO Field.

Ferguson still being asked about Moyes: “We chose a good football man”

David Moyes Alex Ferguson
AP Photo/Martin Rickett/PA
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In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.

Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.

[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]

One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.

In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.

From the BBC:

“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.

“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”

The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.

What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.

Tax evasion charges against Messi dropped; Case vs father continues

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, Barcelona F.C. star Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona prosecutors are calling for the arrest of Messi's father in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors have cleared Messi of wrongdoing but are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, for allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
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Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.

Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.

From the BBC:

Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.