Montreal Impact will continue their quest to become the first-ever Major League Soccer team to sample glory in the CONCACAF Champions League, as they host Club America in the second leg of the tournament final.
These two teams played out a tense 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Estadio Azteca, with Ignacio Piatti opening the scoring for the Impact early on, but the Mexican side gave themselves a lifeline thanks to an Oribe Peralta header in the 89th minute.
Here are some of the highlights from that engrossing game:
With a sell-out crowd set to be backing Montreal at the 65,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, expect a raucous atmosphere to be conjured for this one. Here’s all the information you need on where to catch the clash and a closer look at how both sides are faring on the cusp of this one.
Date: Wednesday, Apr. 29
Time: 8 p.m. (ET)
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go (U.S.)
TV Info: Fox Sports 2 (U.S.)
Impact Looking to Make History
The form of Montreal in this tournament is staggering. For the last two seasons they’ve been the worst team in MLS football, winning just seven of their last 47 domestic matches. But this competition has stirred something in them and now they’re on the brink of achieving history.
As noted by the team’s goalkeeping coach Jack Stern, the entire division is supporting the Canadian side in their pursuit of glory:
Coach Frank Klopas has done a superb job guiding his team this far and ahead of the tie admitted this is a group who are relishing their mantle as underdogs, per NBC Sports:
We know we are the underdog, but we’ve been the underdog since the beginning of the tournament and we are still here.
In your career, whether as a coach or a player, you may not get another chance like this, so it’s important that we enjoy the experience as much as possible.
Club America face a massive challenge if they’re to get through this tie and lift the trophy. After the aforementioned draining first leg between these two sides, they were tasked with tackling Chivas Guadalajara in the Mexican Super Clasico last weekend—a high-octane 1-1 draw—prior to the second clash with Montreal. As such, it’d be no surprise to see a leggy-looking Club America side take to the field.
Although the Impact have made themselves favourites with that vital away goal in the Azteca, it would be somewhat naive to completely rule out Gustavo Matosas’ side, as they bid to win this title for the sixth time in their history. After all, they boast a plethora of classy players capable of turning the game in an instant.
One of those players is the man who broke Montreal hearts last time out, Peralta. As we can see here, the Mexico international is certainly a player who knows where the back of the net is:
The Impact will be without their first-choice goalkeeper for this match too. Evan Bush will miss the game due to suspension, prompting the club to draft in Kristian Nicht on a free transfer. The 33-year-old is a very experienced ‘keeper, but it’s going to be intriguing to see how he handles the pressure of coming into the side to debut in such an important match.
As noted by Doug McIntyre of ESPN, the Impact were just about able to get the deal over the line in time:
Ultimately, this flurry of change between the sticks will contribute to the Impact falling at the final hurdle here. Bush was absolutely superb in the Azteca and the links he’s built up with his defence have been absolutely vital in this side’s progression. Subsequently, not having him in situ will be a major blow to their chances.
Club America haven’t performed to their maximum in the previous two games and tiredness could be a factor here should the match run beyond 90 minutes. But with the pressure on, expect Matosas’ side—who were far superior in general play in the first leg—to turn things around in Canada.
Prediction: Montreal Impact 1-2 Club America