CF Montreal can get a much-needed win and avenge an embarrassing loss at the hands of its arch rival when the Major League Soccer club hosts Toronto FC on Saturday.
The game will be a rematch of this year’s Canadian Championship semifinal where Toronto crushed Montreal 4-0 at BMO Field.
"It’s never a good feeling to get embarrassed by your arch rivals so we want to do the same to them this time," Montreal defender Joel Waterman said. "They’re coming to our home now so I can assure you it’s going to be a bit different than last time.
"It's a derby game and everyone knows what’s at stake. We don’t like them, and they don’t like us."
Rivalry aside, it's been a difficult few weeks for Canadian MLS teams, with all three struggling to earn points consistently since the return from the international break.
Montreal is 2-4-0 in all competitions since returning to action on June 18, while Toronto is 2-4-1 and the Vancouver Whitecaps, who play Sunday night in Portland, are 2-2-2 over that span.
Montreal's most recent result was a 2-1 loss to visiting Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
Montreal enjoyed an excellent start to the season and challenged early for first place in the Eastern Conference. But they have looked a shadow of their former selves of late, being outscored 7-3 in their last three games.
There is good news for Montreal. however, as MVP candidate Djordje Mihailovic has resumed training with the team.
After picking up ankle injury that have kept him out of action for seven games, head coach Wilfried Nancy is optimistic that their talisman will make an appearance soon.
“He wants to get back and we obviously want him back,” said Nancy, whose side has scored only scored four goals in Mihailovic’s absence. “If all goes well then we’ll see him this week."
Toronto is still waiting on the debut of Italian international Lorenzo Insigne, who moved to the MLS side from Napoli last month but has yet to appear due to a calf injury.
Insigne trained on his own Friday, and the club previously set July 23, when TFC hosts Charlotte, as a realistic target for his debut
The Reds will also need to make up for a hole in their attack caused by the departure of Alejandro Pozuelo. The former MLS MVP was traded to Inter Miami last week.
Toronto lost another designated player earlier this week when centre back Carlos Salcedo returned to his native Mexico after being released from his contract by mutual agreement.
Toronto coach Bob Bradley has acknowledged that help is needed on the back line.
"It's an area where we're pretty thin, no doubt about that," Bradley said after Toronto's 2-0 loss in Chicago on Wednesday.