The Montreal Impact weren’t supposed to be here, and they sure as heck weren’t supposed to be showing so well in the quarterfinals of the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
Pachuca 2-2 Montreal Impact
The Impact, who finished dead last in points won in MLS 2014, shocked the CONCACAF region once again on Tuesday night as the Frank Klopas’s side went into Estadio Hidalgo and nabbed two away goals in a 2-2 draw with heavily favored Mexican side Pachuca.
What’s even more unbelievable about Tuesday night, the Impact were unlucky to draw 2-2, not to win 2-0.
Dilly Duka scored both Impact goals (25th and 53rd minutes) to give his side a 2-0 lead shortly after halftime. The first was a well-worked bit of play from the Impact, which ended with Duka sending Pachuca goalkeeper Oscar Perez one way and calmly rolling the ball the other, into the back of the net. The second came off the rebound of Justin Mapp shot, which Duka was first to and hit home.
The two-goal lead was short-lived, though, as Pachuca pulled one back through Heriberto Olvera’s free kick in the 56th minute. Olvera skipped the ball off the top of the Impact wall, creating lots of top spin and movement that Evan Bush couldn’t quite reach. Pachuca’s second was the result of a lightning-fast counter attack that finished with Ariel Nahuelpan bundling the ball over the line with his midsection.
After winning Group 3, which featured the New York Red Bulls and C.D. FAS (Honduras), in the fall, the Impact are one of two MLS teams still alive in CCL (D.C. United). Each quarterfinal tie’s second leg will be played next week.
CD Olimpia (El Salvador) 1-1 Herediano (Costa Rica)
Tuesday night’s other CCL quarterfinals matchup saw CD Olimpia, winners of Group 5 over the Portland Timbers and Alpha United (Guyana), draw 1-1 with Herediano, winners of Group 7, over Leon (Mexico) and Isidro Metapan (El Salvador).
Javier Estupinan gave the hosts a 1-0 lead on the stroke of halftime with a shot from just outside the penalty area, but Cristhian Lagos pulled the Costa Ricans level and grabbed a vital away goal in the 58th minute.
Wednesday’s CCL schedule
Saprissa (Costa Rica) vs. Club America (Club America) — 9 pm ET
Thursday’s CCL schedule
Alajuelense (Costa Rica) vs. D.C. United — 8 pm ET