CONCACAF Champions League: Montreal survives scare, advances to final

12 Comments

The Montreal Impact has become the first Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Montreal entered the second leg of it’s matchup with Costa Rican side Alajuelense leading 2-0 on aggregate, which allowed the Impact to advance despite losing tonight’s match 4-2.

[ RELATED: MLS Team of the Week — Week 5 ]

Major League Soccer’s last representative in the tournament was outplayed the entire match and advances on away goals with the aggregate tied 4-4.

Alajuelense dominated the first half, with Montreal barely possessing the ball outside of their own half. The hosts nearly took the lead in the 30th minute when a quick throw-in caught Montreal off-guard. Referee Joel Aguilar was speaking with some Montreal players as Alajuelense took a quick restart, sending Armando Alonso in on goal. Alonso had his chip deflected by goalkeeper Evan Bush before being cleared off the line by Donny Toia.

[ RELATED: Philadelphia Union to bench struggling goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi ]

Against all the run of play, it was Montreal that opened the scoring on one of their first prolonged possessions in the Alajuelense half. Dominic Oduro played a quick one-two with Ignacio Piatti and sent a low cross into the box that found a streaking Jack McInerney. The 22-year-old finished neatly to give Montreal a rather undeserved lead heading into halftime.

Alajuelense continued to dominate in the second half and found an equalizer just two minutes after the break. Lining up for a free kick on the edge of the box, Pablo Gabas hit a left-footed shot that found the top corner to knot the score at one.

[ REPORT: Orlando City eyeing move for El Tri star Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez ]

Gabas got his second of the night in the 60th minute, another set piece foiling Montreal. Alajuelense swung in a corner kick that got the slightest of flicks in the box, finding Gabas on the back post. All it needed was a deflection as Gabas’s touch hit the underside of the bar and bounced in.

With Alajuelense pressing down 3-2 on aggregate, Montreal padded it’s lead with a goal from substitute Andres Romero.

Allen Guevara put the hosts ahead once again as Alajuelense continued to relentlessly press the Montreal defense. Jonathan McDonald scored in stoppage time to make the final score 4-2, but the Impact advance for the second straight round on away goals.

LINEUPS

Alajuelense: Lewis, Acosta, Lopez, Gutierrez, Matarrita, Rodriguez (Guevara 68′), Gabas, Venegas, Calvo (Ortiz 59′), Alonso (Sanchez 81′), McDonald

Goals: Gabas (47′, 60′), Guevara (79′), McDonald (90’+3′)

Montreal Impact: Bush, Toia, Ciman, Soumare, Cabrera, Mallace, Reo-Coker, Duka (Romero 61′), Piatti, Oduro (Tissot 82′), McInerney (Bernier 70′)

Goal: McInerney (42′), Romero (72′)