Home MLS Montreal Impact Vanney, Biello keep the temperature down in lead-up to Impact-TFC second leg

Vanney, Biello keep the temperature down in lead-up to Impact-TFC second leg

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In true Canadian fashion, the public stances of both Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact are to be as polite as possible in the lead-up to Wednesday’s second leg of the MLS Eastern Conference Final.

Don’t give the opposing team anything to tape up to the dressing room wall. Don’t give the other guys anything to rally around. Let the game play out, and let the lead-up be as, well, boring as possible.

That was clear from Monday’s MLS playoff-hyping conference calls. Except that everyone forgot to bring the hype.

Montreal holds a 3-2 lead after last week’s thriller played at the Olympic Stadium. The scene shifts to BMO Field Wednesday. But you could have started a drinking game with the media involved in Monday’s conference call — they had to drink every time TFC coach Greg Vanney said that he respected the Impact.

Some Vanney gems:

“It’s two opponents who respect each other greatly, who understand they have to execute on the day to get results.”

“I think there’s a respect that’s there. Both sides give everything they can to win.”

When Impact coach Mauro Biello spoke, he didn’t use the “R” word, but he didn’t say anything inflammatory, either. He spoke of how the rivalry is bigger than the two MLS teams, that it’s another sporting chapter between Canada’s two largest cities who each want to be seen as No. 1. He spoke about how the Impact winning at BMO Field earlier this season, with only 10 men, will give his team the “valuable” experience it needs to deal with difficult conditions in Toronto.

Ignacio Piatti, the Impact’s top player, was given an opening to say something nasty when he was asked if Toronto’s second goal last week should have stood – as there were strong suggestions TFC forward Jozy Altidore committed a foul in the box before Michael Bradley converted.

Piatti didn’t take the bait, said the team was looking forward to the next game. That’s it. The “what’s done is done.”

Vanney said that the rivalry hasn’t got the edge of some others because the Impact and TFC are in the early stages of their franchises’ lives. And, in the games the teams have played, there isn’t a huge history of personal vendettas or leg-breaking tackles.

“I think the rivalry is growing,” he said. “There’s a long sporting history in terms of rivalry between the two cities. But, in terms of MLS, the history of the rivalry is very young.”

That will build with bigger games. Last year’s playoff match between the two teams was what Vanney called a “first step” in building the rivalry. More playoff games, more intense late-season games, will help build the rivalry.

(Of course, nothing was mentioned about the Voyageurs Cup. Just wanted to put that disclaimer out there).

But, if we were hoping for a war of words between the teams, we didn’t get one. We just have to be happy with the knowledge that the actions on Wednesday will speak louder than the words on Monday.

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