Toronto-Montreal rivalry gets new look in MLS playoffs

Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:08pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Toronto and Montreal, longtime foes on the ice, are fueling a rivalry on the soccer pitch as they prepare to battle for a berth in Major League Soccer's championship match.

Toronto FC visit Montreal Impact for the opener of their two-leg Eastern Conference finals on Nov 24 against the Impact at 60,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

It marks the first appearance by either club in a conference championship that will determine which Canadian side advances to the Dec. 10 MLS Cup versus either Colorado or Seattle.

"Obviously, a special game," Montreal coach Mauro Biello told a conference call about playing Toronto. "I think history is being made here in Canada in terms of soccer. It's a great opportunity for Canadian soccer to grow.

"There is a big buzz in the city about this game."

The game was shifted from Montreal's Saputo Stadium home to Olympic Stadium, which has a roof and can seat an additional 40,000 fans.

"This is going to be special," said Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier. "You always want the stellar performance that can ignite soccer in Canada.

"This is, for Canadian soccer, a big moment. Something kids can look upon as games you want to play."   Continued...

Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA;  Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) celebrates his goal with Toronto FC forward Eriq Zavaleta (15) during the first half against the New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports