The Montreal Impact came to Toronto leaking losses and surrounded by a soap opera-like atmosphere. They leave with bragging rights, at least for one night, over the best team in Major League Soccer.
Ignacio Piatti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel each scored twice as the Impact ended their slump in spectacular fashion Wednesday in a wild 5-3 win that derailed, if only temporarily, Toronto FC’s seemingly relentless march towards the Supporters’ Shield.
Toronto striker Tosaint Ricketts made it interesting with goals in the 77th and 79th minutes as the desperate home side looked to claw its way back with the BMO Field crowd of 28,898 roaring it on.
“Tonight was massive,” said Montreal coach Mauro Biello, who has heard it from the fans and his owner in recent days. “We fell into a little bit of a rough spell these last couple of weeks. We dropped some games at home.
“Tonight was important to forget about the standings, forget about the distractions. Focus on a game — us versus Toronto. The guys came out, they bounced back. They played with intensity, with quality and confidence.”
Toronto (18-4-8) had not lost since July 1 when it dropped a 3-1 decision at FC Dallas. TFC came into the game unbeaten at home this season and on record pace as it chewed up MLS opposition.
But Montreal (11-12-6) was full value for the win, leading 2-0 after 12 minutes and 3-0 after 24. While Toronto may have the last laugh come the playoffs, it was a loss that the home side will long remember — Montreal payback for past indignities at the hands of TFC.
Marco Donadel also scored for Montreal, which came into the game six points out of the playoff picture. Toronto, missing three star players in Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Victor Vazquez, also got an own goal from Deian Boldor late in the first half.
Off night for Zavaleta
Toronto made errors early, with defender Eriq Zavaleta having a rare off night.
“We looked a little bit uncomfortable at the start of the game,” said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.
Toronto came into the match without Giovinco and Altidore, both injured, and star playmaker Vazquez on the bench after a slight fever. The three have a combined 35 goals and 27 assists.
With 12 other TFC players also scoring this season, there was offence available elsewhere. But it was the visiting side that showed its teeth early.