MLS Snapshot: Montréal Impact 0-2 Toronto FC

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em-BaPAH09o]

One game, 100 words (or less): In theory, Montréal and Toronto should be rivals, but Saturday’s game at Stade Saputo never captured a derby’s intensity. Conceding early to Gilberto, the Impact looked like a team in flux, one facing a team trying to rebound from mid-week disappointment. When Luke Moore converted early in the second half, that rebound was assured, with Toronto FC going on to claim full points in Quebec, 2-0.

Goals

Montréal: None
Toronto: Gilberto 11′, Moore 54′

Three moments that mattered

11′ – Too easy for Toronto – As the TSN team identified early, Michael Bradley was seeing too much time on the ball, something that came back to bite Montréal after 10 minute. Swinging a ball from the top of the box to the right flank, the U.S. international found Dominic Oduro, who played the ball back toward the spot for Gilberto. With the Impact defenders slow to react, the Reds’ striker had the time he ended to put his team up.

54′ – Again, too easy – It was a totally different kind of goal, but still one Montréal could have prevented. With the ball at the edge of his team’s defensive third, Bradley had the time to play a majestic long through ball behind Montréal left back, Krzysztof Krol:

Oduro’s speed allowed the Toronto midfielder to go in alone on goal, with his pass across the box to Moore giving his teammate an empty net goal.

87′ – Never gonna get it (never gonna get it) – Montréal almost ruined Joe Bendik’s clean sheet, with a 86th minute header from Andrés Romero drawing cheers from a crowd deceived into thinking the ball had gone in. Seconds later, Michael Bradley couldn’t catch up to a streaking Felipe Martins, whose try from just outside the six-yard box was blocked by Bendik. A late goal could have finally generated some excitement; ultimately; this was Toronto’s day.

Lineups

Montréal: Troy Perkins, Hassoun Camara, Futty Danso (Felipe Martins 51′), Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol; Justin Mapp (Dilly Duka 74′), Patrice Bernier, Eric Miller, Andrés Romero; Marco Di Vaio, Jack McInerney (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 65′)
Toronto: Joe Bendik; Warren Creavalle, Nick Hagglund, Doneil Henry, Justin Morrow; Dominic Oduro (Jackson 74′), Michael Bradley, Collen Warner (Kyle Bekker 84′), Jonathan Osorio; Gilberto (Daniel Lovitz 90′), Luke Moore

Three lessons going forward

1. Business of the rebound – At this point, winning in Montréal is almost obligatory, but coming off their mid-week disappointment, the Reds were facing that expectation along with the need to bounce back. Their response was an encouraging one, a result that provided them with much-needed points in the East’s playoff race.

2. Even without Defoe – That the team rebounded without Jermain Defoe is another reason to be encouraged. Jackson, so good along Toronto’s left of late, was also held back, as was Bradley Orr. For a team that finished near the bottom of last year’s Eastern Conference, Toronto’s required an enviable amount of depth.

3. Montréal adrift – With six losses in a row, the Impact appear done. Maybe Frank Klopas can get his team focused on Champions League (starting this week), but unable to get home points against Portland or Toronto, the Impact aren’t even ready for a spoilers’ role.

Where this leaves them:

  • Toronto is temporarily alone in third, the team’s 29 point leaving it three clear of Columbus and New England.
  • Montréal is still last, five points away from the league’s next-worst team (Houston).

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET