Toronto FC, CF Montreal renew rivalry after a tough run of luck of late

The Canadian Press

Toronto FC coach John Herdman is expecting a motivated CF Montreal at BMO Field on Saturday when the two teams renew their rivalry.

Both teams are coming off losses and looking for a change in fortunes.

A depleted Toronto, its roster shredded by suspensions and injuries, fell 2-0 at Nashville SC on Wednesday. It was a second straight loss after five consecutive wins in all competitions.

The rot is deeper in injury-ravaged Montreal, which has just one win in its last 10 games (1-6-3) and is winless in its last six outings (0-3-3) in all competitions. It is coming off a 3-1 mid-week loss to visiting Columbus.

Montreal’s last win was a 2-1 decision over visiting FC Cincinnati on April 13.

While Toronto (6-6-1) goes into weekend play seven points and seven places ahead of 13th-place Montreal in the Eastern Conference, Herdman sees danger signs in the visitors.

“They’re coming into a derby match which I’m sure is going to ignite them,” he said after training Friday. “If I’m on the other side of that fence, I’m talking about this is the moment that kick-starts the season. I’m talking about this is a reset button. And drawing on the passion of a rivalry that’s been here since the start of these two clubs in MLS.

“So there’s a lot for them to play for and a big opportunity. So for us, we have got to match that.”

But Montreal has leaked goals of late, outscored 10-4 in its last three league outings.

Laurent Courtois’s team ranks 28th in the league on defence, conceding 2.17 goals a game on average. Only San Jose has a worse defensive record at 2.46 goals a game.

“I think offensively there’s a lot of positives,” said Montreal midfielder Dominic Iankov, who was born in Toronto. “Obviously there’s been a lot of games where we score goals and then we just concede cheap goals. So maybe we have to work a bit on that, just to be concentrated throughout the whole game.”

Montreal is in the middle of the MLS pack on offence, tied for 15th with Atlanta, Columbus and Nashville at 1.33 goals a game.

In comparison, Toronto ranks 16th on defence (1.46 goals a game) and 19th on offence (tied with Austin FC, FC Cincinnati and NYCFC at 1.23 goals a game).

Herdman and nine players missed the mid-week loss in Nashville through injury or suspension after a post-game melee with New York City FC players and staff last Saturday. On Friday, the league handed fines and additional one-game suspensions to injured Toronto fullback/wingback Richie Laryea and NYCFC defender Strahinja Tanasijevic for…

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