Montreal Impact fans head to Toronto for Game 2 of MLS Eastern Conference Finals
“People are excited, nervous ahead of the game. A few chants going on [on the bus] but we’re keeping our energy for the stadium,” said Dimitri, an Ultras member.
Two sold-out buses, leaving from the Berri-UQAM station at 6 a.m., are carrying over 100 Ultras to Toronto’s BMO field to face off against Toronto FC in the pivotal match.
That’s in addition to another two buses from another fan group known as 1642 and people driving in their cars – fans estimate there will be at least 500 Impact fans in the record sold-out crowd of 30,991.
“We are stressed for sure and excited at the same time,” Albert Khoury told Global News from one of the Ultras’ buses.
The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) international affairs student said that although it’s one less day to study for finals, it’s all worth it.
“Not thinking about school uor niversity work anymore, only thinking about the game. I really think it’s a big thing – what’s happening right now,” he said.
The Impact’s 3-2 victory on Nov. 22 brought over 61,000 fans to Olympic Stadium – tying the best attendance in Impact history – and they hope to draw a lot of support again, this time in “enemy territory.”
“[It would be] very exciting, especially since that means Toronto would get eliminated,” said Dimitri.
“It’s almost as important for us as reaching the final.”
The two teams faced each other three times in the regular season – often referred to as the 401 Derby – and both took away one victory and tied their game in October.
“For us now, it’s about focusing on what we control,” head coach Mauro Biello said last week.
The fans are hoping a Montreal victory will bring them face-to-face with the Seattle Sounders for the league finals on Saturday, Dec. 10.
In order for the Impact to make it past the eastern conference finals, the team has to either win or tie – most variations of a loss (0-1, 1-2, 1-4, 2-4) will eliminate them.
A 3-2 loss (leaving both teams with 5 total goals) will go on to overtime, and if necessary, penalty kicks.
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The team that makes it through will be the first Canadian team to reach an MLS final.
“This is where dreams begin for a lot of young players,” Biello said.
“Watching this game, having a chance to be a part of it or experience it as a youngster and one day maybe being a part of that.”
The game starts at Toronto’s BMO field at 7 p.m.
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