CCL Final, first leg recap: America 1-1 Montreal


MLS Beat Writer

Earlier today, we wrote the following: It is unrealistic to expect Montreal to go into the home of the Mexican champions and get a win tonight. A draw doesn’t seem much more likely.

But the Montreal Impact have defied expectations, predictions, and those who think they know things at every step in the CONCACAF Champions League run. Tonight, the Impact took the lead in the Azteca, and held it for 73 minutes. They gave up an equalizer, yes, but with a 1-1 draw against Club América they surprised perhaps everyone outside of their locker room.

The Impact scored first in the 16th minute. A Dilly Duka dummy provided Ignacio Piatti with just enough space to get off his shot before being closed down by Paul Aguilar. The shot slid inside the post, and Montreal had an improbable lead.

This is CONCACAF, so there was controversy. América fans would point to a goal denied by a questionable offside call in the first half. The Impact were upset that Osvaldo Martinez wasn’t sent off when he dragged Dominic Oduro down just before halftime. As América fought for an equalizer, the game grew feistier. Impact players had to be shoved off the pitch when they were substituted.

América earned 16 corner kicks, and several more dangerous set pieces throughout the match. In the 89th minute, one of those finally paid off. Oribe Peralta jumped and climbed highest to get to a free kick taken from just outside the box, leveling the match with a point-blank header.

But Montreal was able to limit the scoring to that single goal, which has to be considered a success. The Impact have an away goal and thus a slight advantage heading to a sold-out Olympic Stadium next week.

MLS fans who are hoping for the league’s first CCL triumph should know better than to celebrate just yet. Real Salt Lake managed a 2-2 draw in Mexico in the 2011 final, but they unable to get the job done at home against Santos Laguna. The Impact have a long 90 minutes between themselves and history.



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