For the first time in Major League Soccer history, two Canadian teams will play in the Eastern Conference Finals for the right to proceed to the MLS Final.
Toronto Football Club has reached the conference finals by defeating the Philadelphia Union and New York City Football Club twice, once at home at BMO Field and once on the road at Yankee Stadium.
During their campaign, Toronto has scored 10 goals, the most of any MLS playoff team so far.
Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio have combined to score all ten of those goals.
Defensively Toronto has been impressive, as they have only conceded one goal, which came at the hands of the Philadelphia Union. Against NYCFC, Toronto kept two clean sheets in two games. NYCFC was the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference this season.
While Toronto had been established as a soccer team in 2005, they joined MLS in 2007 as an expansion team. Despite this, it has taken Toronto 10 years and eight managers to finally win their first playoff game, which came this year against the Philadelphia Union
Toronto has been labeled as disjointed defensively, but they have also had what many consider the league’s best player in Sebastian Giovinco. They have a good chance to win the MLS Cup with their impressive talent and run of goal-scoring form in the playoffs.
The Montreal Impact has reached the conference finals by defeating DC United 4-2 on the road and defeating the New York Red Bulls twice, once on the road at Red Bull Arena and once at home at Stade Saputo.
Montreal has scored seven goals in the playoffs so far. They have had a diverse group of goal scorers in striker Ignacio Piatti, midfielder Matteo Mancosu and defender Laurent Ciman, who have combined to score all seven goals.
Defensively, Montreal has conceded three goals, which is an average of one goal conceded per playoff game.
Montreal has been out-possessed in every game they have played this season, and has relied much on their ability to counter-attack with experienced players such as Didier Drogba, and quicker players such as Ignacio Piatti.
Montreal has been to the playoffs three times in their MLS history, reaching the knockout stages in 2013, the conference semifinal in 2014 and now the conference finals in 2016. For Montreal, they have continued to improve.
Toronto FC and Montreal Impact have had a historic rivalry in the MLS, known as the 401 Derby, in reference to the Ontario Highway 401 which connects the two cities. The record is currently 15-8-9 in Toronto’s favor.
Isaiah Chisolm is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.