Toronto will be fuelled by leftover feelings from last weekend's nasty loss to New York City FC that had Reds coach Greg Vanney seeing red on Tuesday.
Vanney was angry that Major League Soccer decided not to discipline New York's Andrew Jacobson, who hit an unsuspecting Damien Perquis hard in the back of the neck, dropping the TFC defender to the turf. When the final whistle blew on Toronto's 2-0 loss Saturday, an irate Perquis made a beeline to Jacobson, and a shoving match ensued.
"My understanding is there isn't anything that's going to be done about it," Vanney told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "It's beyond baffling to me. To me it's as vicious an attack on a player who was defenceless and facing the other direction of anything I've seen in the league in a couple years or more."
Soon after the game, video of the incident, which happened on a corner kick, surfaced on social media. Toronto FC had reached out to the league to review what happened.
"I've looked at it many many times, and I don't know how with video evidence and looking back at something you can't say that that was some form of an egregious act on a player, towards his head," Vanney said. "It was something in this day and age of concussions that we tend to be concerned about. How that can be acceptable, because now every other player that looks like that in the box should be acceptable and that's setting a standard this league does not want to get into.
"But clearly with the disciplinary committee, they found that OK, and I find that disgusting in my own opinion."
Toronto's game against visiting Montreal is part of Rivalry Week in MLS.
Toronto — with six wins, six losses and a tie — is fourth in the Eastern Conference, while the Impact (5-5-2) is right behind them in fifth.
Captain Michael Bradley say emotions always run high in rivalry games.
"A lot of times these rivalry games, when you get to a club they're the first games you hear fans talk about," Bradley said. "For me, that was certainly the case, it was: 'playoffs, playoffs, playoffs; Montreal, Montreal, Montreal.' They're big games, they're exciting games.
"The main thing with a derby is the passion and emotion of the fans, and what the game means to them."
Vanney said Toronto versus Montreal makes for an "intriguing" rivalry.
"I think it's an interesting one in a lot of ways, because there's a number of sporting levels where the rivalry between Montreal and Toronto exists, and this is another one," the coach said. "Fans clearly don't care much for each other, which makes it all the more interesting. And it's two teams that are in a good way now and are fighting for respect and position in this league and fighting to be playoff and championship contenders."
Toronto's loss to expansion New York, a physical game marked by eight yellow cards, ended a five-game unbeaten streak for TFC. With just three days between games, Vanney and his players are keen to get back on the pitch to turn things around.
"Yeah, I love that we play again on Wednesday," Vanney said after Saturday's loss. "I hope this game pissed us off. It has me. Hopefully our team has a chip on their shoulder when it comes Wednesday, and it's an important game."
Montreal arrives in town on the heels of a 2-0 victory over Orlando on Saturday, the Impact's fifth win in seven games.
"I think they're a good team, they're confident, they're riding high," Vanney said. "I think a lot of people were writing them off early in the year and I've always thought they were a good team and we need to be sharper than we were on the weekend, we have to get off to get off to a better start."
Toronto was sluggish out of the gate Saturday, and gave up a goal in the eighth minute on a penalty shot.