Montreal Impact host Toronto FC at Saputo Stadium in the Week 3 of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship Wednesday Night. The match couldn’t get much tougher for the home team

The match will be the third in three weeks for the Impact in the NCC, and their North American Soccer League schedule hasn’t slowed at all during the competition. Montreal has managed a 2-1-1 record in the league with 7 points so far. It wont get any easier for the team as they head back out to Vancouver for an NASL match this weekend, making it two cross country trips in ten days. Returning from Vancouver, Montreal meet 2nd place Portland Timbers at Saputo Stadium next Wednesday then host Serie A side Fiorentina in the first of L’Impact’s summer friendlies.

In addition to the brutal schedule the Impact will be facing a TFC side that they have never beaten in 5 attempts, drawing only once. This will be the second meeting between the two rivals in three weeks  after losing 2-0 in a bruising battle in Week One of the NCC in Toronto.

Complicating this will be the fact that Montreal must win to stay alive in the tournament, after collecting just one point in their first two matches 2 matches.

More concerning still is that Montreal will have a depleted strike force as strikers Reda Agourram and Roberto Brown will both be out of the match due to red card suspensions suffered in the first two matches of what is shaping up to be a physical tournament.

Agourram was sent off against Vancouver last week and Brown is serving the second game of a two-game suspension for punching defender Nick Garcia in the first Toronto match.

Potentially the most distressing concern for Marc dos Santos’ team is that they are running into a TFC side that seems to be firing on all cylinders after a 4-1 thrashing of the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

The Reds have rebounded from a tough start to their 2010 MLS campaign to post some impressive victories over the Fire and Seattle and outscoring their opponents 9-3 in their last four matches, including the 2-0 win over Montreal at BMO Field. Chad Barrett seems to have sorted out his finishing problem and Dwayne DeRosario has bagged six goals and set up four more this season.

Toronto struggles away from home though and have yet to collect a point on the road and Preki’s team will also be suffering from fixture congestion and travel as well. After Wednesday’s clash, TFC will have their own cross country trip to meet up with the seemingly unstoppable LA Galaxy, then drop in on Swangard Stadium next Wednesday for Week 4 of the NCC with Vancouver, finally returning to BMO to host the New England Revolution on May 22.

Preki is a savvy one, and his squad for Wednesday’s match will be interesting to see. He rested players in the Week One NCC clash with Montreal but there is no telling if he is likely to do it again on Wednesd. A win against Montreal will eliminate the Impact from the competition and a win next Wednesday in Vancouver will seal the tournament for TFC. This may factor into Preki’s decisions, as he will want his team to have a birth in the CONCACAF Champions Cup more than he will want 3 points in a league match.

Montreal will have an uphill battle on their hands (and at their feet) on Wednesday Night and one might fear that a level of desperation that high could really boil over and lead to cynical pointless challenges and cards, especially with a team as openly aggressive as Montreal is.

Hopefully the desperation will come out in the play on the pitch, and If the NHL Game 7 (scheduled for the same time as kickoff) doesn’t keep too many fans away, their just may be a Battle Royale with a great atmosphere at Saputo, setting the stage for a classic Voyageurs Cup tie.

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