Alajuelense

Klopas hails “great moment for City of Montreal” and MLS after Impact reach CCL final (with highlights)

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Desperation lead to tension and thrills in an entertaining CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg between Montreal and Alajuelense, and the Impact are ecstatic to have made club and national history on Wednesday night.

Frank Klopas’ side is the first Canadian side to make the CCL final, and will look to become the first Major League Soccer team to win the title in CCL era (DC United and the L.A. Galaxy won the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1998 and 2000, respectively).

[ MATCH RECAP: Alajuelense 4-2 (0-2) Montreal ]

And despite an unfortunate racial undercurrent to the post game thanks to Alajuelense fans making monkey noises at Dominic Oduro, the Impact can be happy with their on-field triumph in a game filled with good-looking goals.

From impactmontreal.com:

“We knew we were coming to a difficult place to play with a tough team,” said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “They have a tremendous push with the quality of players they have and their fans. We scored an away goal, which was very important. The quick goal in the second half brought them back into the game. It was a great semifinal and a great moment for our club, the city of Montreal and Major League Soccer.”

“The score line isn’t important for me,” explained Bakary Soumare. “It’s the result that counts. We were here to get to the next round and we did what we needed to do that. Their last goal came as they pushed everyone forward, trying desperately to score in the final moments. We are very happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish and now our goal is to win the cup.”

The final appearance is a solid statement for MLS, whose schedule puts its league in a poor position entering the knockout rounds. Consider that Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio was among the tournament’s leading scorers, but left the club when last season’s MLS campaign was over. Now with a different squad still finding match fitness — at least compared to its traditional calendar-following opponents — the Impact are 180 minutes or so from history.

Montreal will next face either Herediano or Club America, with the Costa Rican side leading 3-0 after one leg. That second leg is Wednesday in Mexico at 10 p.m. ET.

Montreal’s Oduro says Alajuelense fans gave him racist abuse in CCL win

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Montreal survived a scare in Costa Rica on Wednesday, losing 4-2 but advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League final 4-4 on away goals, but the postgame wasn’t all smiles in Alajuelense.

Twenty-nine year old Impact attacker Dominic Oduro claimed racist abuse from Alajuelense fans in Wednesday’s match via a series of Tweets.

[ MATCH RECAP: Alajuelense 4-2 (4-4) Montreal ]

Oduro, 29, has been capped once by Ghana, and starred in a 2-0 first leg win.

Players are rightly speaking out more than ever before in appeals to quash racist displays at soccer stadia, though MLS sides haven’t featured in the headlines much. Oduro’s Impact could return to Costa Rica for the CCL final if Herediano holds onto its 3-0 lead over Club America.

The CCL final will be a two-legged affair April 22 and 29.

CONCACAF Champions League: Montreal survives scare, advances to final

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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′)

CONCACAF Champions League: Montreal now 90 minutes from final after 2-0 home win

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Ignacio Piatti and Victor Cabrera scored five minutes apart to key Montreal’s controlling 2-0 defeat of Alajuelense in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal on Wednesday night.

Piatti started the scoring when he collected a Porter’s flick through of Dominic Oduro’s cross, giving Montreal a lead after nine minutes.

[ MORE: UEFA CL Wednesday roundup ]

And Marco Donadel knocked a corner down for Cabrera just five minutes later, and the River Plate loanee hit a bouncing ball past Dexter Lewis to double the Impact’s lead to 2-0.

Oduro ripped a flare just over the net as the clock hit 24, and Montreal seemed well in control of this first leg. And they were until the final 10 minutes or so, where fitness may’ve played a role in the Costa Rican club’s control.

Both clubs are bidding to become the first representatives from their nations to make a final in the CCL era. Montreal could also become the first MLS finalist since 2011 (Real Salt Lake).

Alajuelense’s fellow Costa Rican semifinalist, Herediano, have a 3-0 lead after one leg against Club America.

LINEUPS

Montreal Impact: Bush; Cabrera, Soumare, Ciman, Toia; Reo-Coker, Donadel (Mallace, 62′); Oduro, Piatti (Bernier, 76′), Duka (Tissot, 46′); Porter.

Goals: Piatti (9′), Cabrera (14′)

Alajuelense: Lewis; Soto, Lopez, Acosta, Salvatierra; Matarrita (Gabas, 68′), Rodriguez, Venegas, Gutierrez, Ortiz (Sanchez, 74′), McDonald (Calvo, 54′)

No. 1 seed DC United out of CONCACAF Champions League despite win vs Alajuelense

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A 2-1 Wednesday win over Alajuelense still knocked No. 1 seed DC United out of the CONCACAF Champions League 6-4 on aggregate.

Jairo Arrieta’s first-half goal gave DC hope of overcoming its 5-2 first leg defeat in Costa Rica, but Johan Venegas netted in the 71st minute to dampen the spirits of the RFK hopeful. Fabian Espindola’s 89th minute penalty conversion was just a consolation prize.

[ MORE: MLS avoids work stoppage ]

DC had more than 60 percent possession for most of the night, but couldn’t break through aside from Arrieta’s early goal, seen here:

The aggregate loss leaves the Montreal Impact as the lone Major League Soccer hope in the CCL semifinals. They needed every minute of their quarterfinal match to oust Pachuca via this gorgeous goal.