This is, quite frankly, the biggest match in Toronto FC history.
While there have been high-profile friendlies against majestic teams like Real Madrid, CONCACAF Champions League-berth battles, and venue-unveiling evenings, there has never been a chance to go to MLS Cup for the Reds.
For the opportunity to come against Canadian rivals Montreal? Even better.
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The bright lights of Canada’s biggest city shine on the second leg of the Eastern Conference final, a 7 p.m. kickoff at beautiful BMO Field.
Toronto trails 3-2, but scooped up a pair of potentially huge road goals through Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.
How will Montreal react to their one-goal advantage, knowing that danger lurks with the concession of a single goal? Impact veteran Patrice Bernier said he knows the club can “score a goal and defend better“, a tacit acknowledgment that buttressing the lead is important to coach Mauro Biello’s vision of reaching the MLS Cup Final.
Montreal managed a point in 11 of 17 road matches during the regular season, second to only the Galaxy. TFC will have to get past a deadlock to keep its dreams alive, but how will Greg Vanney go about it? Given the way Drew Moor and company have defended this year, the TFC boss could unleash the dogs knowing that a two-goal win or 1-0 or 2-1 would be enough, and 3-2 would push it to extra time.
There’s so much at stake here: national bragging rights and a chance at the final. For TFC, there’s the chance for a historic and lucrative home final.