MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact will play Toronto FC rivals for the first time in 2019, but one of their players has already played them.
Then Omar Browne, with Panamanian club Independiente, played the round of the Concacaf Champions League in 2019 on BMO Field. His two goals helped Independiente eliminate TFC from the tournament, a bump in the 2018 CCL finalists.
Two months later, Browne & # 39; s Champions League achievement earned him after the bitter rivals of Toronto. The Panamanian international believes his early February performance gives him a head start on Saturday's game (7:30 PM ET | TVAS, TSN in Canada; MLS LIVE on ESPN + in the US).
"That will certainly help me, because I know how they play, I know which football sport I like to play," Browne told MLSsoccer.com through an interpreter. "It will be a very important game for us. With a full stadium, it will be very important for us to do well."
– Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (@TheChampions) February 27, 2019
At the time, Browne had no idea that TFC and the impact were rivals. He was told for the first time when he was on his way to Quebec. Midifelder Ken Krolicki, who had his first rivalry experience last season, does not think Browne realized the full extent of what Toronto excludes for Impact fans.
& # 39; Not yet, I don't believe, & # 39; Krolicki said about Browne & # 39; s knowledge of his performance. "Once he has seen the first match against Toronto, I think he will understand how big the two goals are that he scored."
Have it realized or not, Browne – who scored in The 2-2 Canadian championships of IMFC with York9 FC on midweek (video above) – know that there will be many eyes on him as a follow-up to what he did on BMO Field in February. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, Browne said he was trying to prepare for Saturday's game as he would for others.
"I know that (the eyes will be on me), but the most important thing is that the team has a good game and the fans are happy to leave the stadium because we won," Browne said.
This may be Browne & # 39; s first Montreal-Toronto rivalry game, but the 25-year-old already has experience of coming up in derby & # 39; s. In Panama, Browne played in Independiente & # 39; s derby games with San Francisco. Back in October 2018, he saved the blush for Independiente by scoring an 83rd-minute equalizer against their rivals and ending with a 1-1 draw.
"I can definitely feel the effect of a derby with a full stadium and I can't wait to experience the same with a full stadium here," said Browne.
Browne was aware that scoring another goal against Toronto – no less in Montreal – could elevate him to celebrity status among Impact fans. The winger, however, tried to get his mind out of it in the run-up to one of Montreal's highly anticipated games.
"It would be nice, but it's not what I'm looking for," Browne said. "I need the team and the team needs me. We all have to work together to get the three points. That's the most important thing, not the rest. & # 39;