Derby 401 will be a road to hell if TFC don’t win on Sunday

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It’s fitting that BMO Field is close to the CNE Food Building as the Toronto FC players are really hungry. At least they should be hungry. In fact, they should be hungry for a win on Sunday night when arch-rival CF Montreal hits town.

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While the Quebec boys have all but secured a spot in the MLS playoffs after what has been a strong regular season, TFC are still on the outside. Toronto only has five games left and every game is hugely important. The Reds are 10th in the Eastern Conference with 34 points, two points from a playoff spot, with three teams to jump to cross the postseason line. Montreal is coming off a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, but is having a great season (15W 9L 4D) and sits second in the East with 49 points, eight points behind the Philadelphia Union which is leaking the pack.

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“A very good game,” said TFC coach Bob Bradley when asked what he expects from Sunday’s game. “Montreal has been in good shape lately, but they also deserve credit for being a good team most of the year. (They) have a clear idea of ​​how they want to play, have different options that fit into their system, which gives them different looks, different types of attackers. They can play 1 under 2. They can play a sort of version of 3. Starting points at full back and midfield are normally the same – they rely heavily on their full-backs, solid guys in the center from midfield and a back three who has a good understanding, especially Kamal Miller. It becomes important in the way they play because it goes up, not wide, but narrow.

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“They play a lot with two of the centre-backs and then they do a three in front of them, which is normally like Kamal Miller, (Victor) Wanyama, and sometimes (Samuel) Piette goes a bit to the right,” Bradley added. “So it’s a good team.

TFC have also been a strong team of late, having lost just once in their last eight games (W4 D3) after a 2-2 draw against LA Galaxy on Wednesday at BMO Field. The Reds have scored 18 times in those games after netting just eight times in their previous eight matches. Right winger Federico Bernardeschi has scored in his four home games for TFC, including against Galaxy on Wednesday. He is the fourth player to score in four consecutive home games for Toronto after Jozy Altidore in 2019, Danny Koevermans in 2012 and Dwayne De Rosario in 2010.

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CF Montreal are undefeated in four straight games against TFC for the first time in club history in MLS, following a 1-0 victory on July 16. Only once has either team swept the season series against the other in MLS, with Toronto winning both encounters. in 2019.

The Montrealers have won four straight games this season for the first time in club history. CF Montreal’s eight wins, 26 points and 25 goals are all it’s ever had on the road in a single MLS season. Still, TFC right-back Richie Laryea said there was firm belief in the dressing room that it was possible to reach the playoffs.

“I think if we look after those next two games, I think the playoff line is very doable for us,” Laryea said. “We’ve got the team to do it and I think we’re going to put ourselves in that position to cross that line. And once we get to (the playoffs) I think that will obviously be a good achievement for the club, but it will also mean that we get some good momentum because we have to win the majority of these games going forward.

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TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who has not played since August 20 due to an undisclosed and unrelated COVID-19 illness, was back in full training on Friday, which bodes well for the match. Sunday. Another veteran midfielder, Mark-Anthony Kaye (lower body injury), is likely out. Bradley revealed that Kaye “came with a little something” from the Colorado Rapids in the trade with Toronto in July. TFC captain Michael Bradley, the only healthy veteran midfielder of late, has done a good job adjusting to young substitutes Jayden Nelson, Kosi Thompson and Noble Okello. But it was a challenge.

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“(It’s) more difficult when the younger guys are on the pitch,” Bob Bradley said of the situation in midfield. “(The young guys) have improved. Obviously, if Lorenzo (Insigne) comes in the middle, there have been a few moments in the last two games where Michael moves a bit, the first pass goes to Lorenzo, and that sets the wheels in motion. But we know – and that takes nothing away from Kosi and Jayden and now Noble – that they are still younger players and when Mark and Oso are not on the pitch we miss them. There’s no two ways about it.

The big news from Montreal these days is that the club will lose midfielder Ismael Kone to Sheffield United and the move is imminent. Last month, CFM negotiated Djordje Mihailovic’s $6million transfer to Dutch Premier League club AZ Alkmaar, but the two sides reached an agreement for Mihailovic to end the season in Montreal.

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