SPORTS

Bradley, Giovinco, Altidore score in Toronto FC's 3-1 win over rival Montreal

06/24/2015 10:03 EDT | Updated 06/24/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Seconds after the final whistle blew on Toronto FC's thorough dismantling of the Montreal Impact, TFC 'keeper Chris Konopka walked behind his net to high-five a fan. He then chugged the fan's beer.

It was that kind of night.

Toronto's stars Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco, and Jozy Altidore each scored in Wednesday's highly entertaining 3-1 victory over the Impact — the first time the team's three designated players have all scored in the same game.

"We'll take it," coach Greg Vanney deadpanned. "I thought all three of them were excellent on the night, and they all played off each other, and combined and created a lot of problems for Montreal's defending."

The game was also part of Major League Soccer's Rivalry Week, and what's been dubbed the "401 Derby" isn't just a rivalry of proximity alone. The two teams went into the game separated by just one place in the Eastern Conference, Toronto (7-6-1) in fourth, and Montreal (5-6-2) right on their heels in fifth.

"It's always a little more special, it's a rivalry, so for our fans and us, it's one you always want to win," Vanney said. "But what's most important for us is we rack up points as we move forward.

"Obviously it's a little bit sweeter when it's against one of our rivals and against an Eastern Conference team, that's always a bonus."

Ambroise Oyongo had the lone goal for the Impact.

Toronto got off to a sluggish start and in the 19th minute, Ignacio Piatti launched a cross in that Oyongo one-timed past Konopka, prompting cheers from the tiny crowd of Montreal fans in the top northeast corner of the stadium.

Bradley got TFC on the board in the 27th minute when he found himself on the end of a beautiful cross from Giovinco. The tiny Italian, who was held off the board in a frustrating performance four days earlier in a 2-0 loss to New York City FC, pulled the ball back, dancing around flat-footed Impact defender Laurent Ciman to get a cross off for a team-record seventh assist.

"It was a very nice game, he enjoyed the game, of course when you win it's always better," Giovinco's interpreter said. "He knows Montreal is a sort of derby, but for him the team is another team and the goal is always to win."

Altidore, starting for the first time in five games, was the recipient of a long floating forward pass from Bradley. The American, who'd been hampered by a hamstring injury, chested down the ball before scoring from the corner of the 18-yard box.

"I've done that 100,000 times with Michael," Altidore said. "The ball was fantastic, I just tried to hit the target."

Montreal defender Bakary Soumare sealed Montreal's fate in the 82nd minute when he took Giovinco down in the box. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, and Giovinco calmly slotted his shot into the left corner of the net, thrilling the red-clad crowd of 24,895 at BMO Field.

Giovinco was in fine form all night, and could have had several more goals, mercilessly peppering Montreal's net, including one beautiful shot that rung off the post in the 59th minute.

Asked in the post-game locker-room if MLS is challenging enough for the skilled Italian, he laughed when talking to his interpreter.

"He also gets challenged when he plays with his son," the interpreter relayed, "so he always has the challenge, doesn't matter where he plays."

Montreal arrived in town on the heels of a 2-0 victory over Orlando on Saturday, the Impact's fifth win in seven games.

Toronto's loss on Saturday that snapped their five-game unbeaten streak was a feisty affair that saw Damien Perquis fined by the league Wednesday for a post-game altercation.

The Canadian rivals will meet twice more in regular-season action, on Aug. 29 in Toronto, and Oct. 25 in Montreal.

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