The Montreal Impact know what it's like to be on the wrong end of a 3-0 playoff scoreline, so it's safe to say they thoroughly enjoyed being the aggressor in that situation on Thursday.
Montreal, which fell to the Houston Dynamo 3-0 in 2013 in its only other MLS playoff game in playoff history, raced out to a 3-0 halftime lead on Canadian rival Toronto FC at Stade Saputo and coasted to a win by that tally. Quebec native Patrice Bernier, Ignacio Piatti and Didier Drogba accounted for the scoring, with Toronto FC's defense overmatched and a wreck in the club's first playoff game after a nine-season wait.
Bernier, whose wife had thrashed the club (and former coach Frank Klopas) in a public post for his lack of playing time over the summer, scored the club's first playoff goal in the 18th minute. He latched onto a short through ball from Piatti and beat Chris Konopka with ease. It was his first goal in MLS in over two years, with the last coming in a two-goal game against New England on Sept. 8, 2013.
Piatti tallied one of his own 15 minutes later, taking advantage of a TFC blunder. Josh Williams slipped at the edge of his own box when receiving a pass from fellow center back Ahmed Kantari, and Piatti pounced on the loose ball to put Montreal up 2-0.
Six minutes later, Drogba got in the act. Unmarked by the left post, he received a pinpoint cross from Bernier, stationed at the right post, and finished on a one-time effort for his 12th goal in 12 games since joining Montreal this summer. He scored two against Toronto on the final day of the season, leading Montreal to a 2-1 win that allowed the club to host Thursday's playoff.
Montreal will face Columbus Crew SC in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with rivals D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls meeting in the other pairing. Montreal and D.C. will host the first legs of the two-leg series on Sunday.