And Impact boss Thierry Henry will get his first taste of the rivalry when the sides face in Group C of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 15 (8 pm ET | TUDN).
“We all know how special the game is for the blue side of this country,” Henry told reporters on a video conference call Tuesday. “It’ll be my first. I can understand rivalries, I saw it from afar. Patrice Bernier and a couple other people who have been with this club for a very long time have told me how much they care about it. Fans have told me how much they care about it. I’m sure it’s the same for the red side of this country.”
Toronto FC won both meetings in the MLS regular season last year against their rivals, though Montreal triumphed over TFC in the Canadian Championship final, earning a berth to the Concacaf Champions League.
“You know and I know that it’s a special game,” Henry said. “I’m not going to pretend I know all about it, because I don’t. I just arrived. We want our fans, fans usually bring a special addition into the game. But we’ll deal with it, we know the situation. It’s an important game, trust me, everyone knows how important it is.”
Heading to the World Cup-style tournament, Henry should stand to benefit from his vast experience in competitions like this. He won the 2000 World Cup and 2002 European Championship with France, while appearing in many more tournaments during his illustrious playing career.
Henry doesn’t see it that way, though.
“It’s a tough one,” Henry said. “I’ve played in a lot of tournaments for a long time, but we could go out [of the hotel]. We could have a day off, go into town, see people, see our family. You can’t compare it where we’re going to go — Understand me well, I’m not complaining. It’s just difficult to compare.”