When it comes to winning Group 5, our MLS team is still alive.
With a 2-0 win over CD Heredia on Tuesday at Stade Saputo, the Montreal Impact fell short needing six goals to have a chance in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Forwards Andrew Wenger and Daniele Paponi had one goal each for the club that has now given a great chance to the San Jose Earthquakes to clinch the top spot in their group with a win at home against Heredia on October 23rd.
The first tally came in only the fourth minute as Paponi scored before the hostile crowd. CD Heredia cleared a corner kick to Maxim Tissot, who was open at the center circle. He then dumped the ball back into the box. There was a chance for Felipe but his shot was blocked. The ball then found Paponi who scored a dazzling goal from in close.
There were hundreds of Heredia fans mixed in with the Stade Saputo crowd urging on their team and cheering with every threatening play to score on Evan Bush. To them it was a pleasant surprise but they still found themselves on the defensive for most of the first half by the young Montreal side. The Impact often crossed for Paponi and Wenger, and left back Wilmer Garcia was targeted several times but their shots were often shunned by defencemen.
The Montreal side saw their strategic attempts pay off in the 54th minute of the match when they sent their front forwards in behind Heredia’s center backs. Moving the ball forward, Tissot put a leading pass right on Wenger. With defenders at his back, the first overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft put the ball past José Calderon of Heredia.
With a draw, Heredia could be qualified for the quarterfinals but they needed goals, as did Montreal. As minutes passed, the game became more open. The Impact had many chances but were denied by flags and the goal posts. Heredia’s passes near the end were off the mark, however, they came closest to scoring in the 77th minute when Héctor de Matta found his way past Bush, who came out to confront him, but missed the net. Now through with their first experience in the CCL as an MLS team, Montreal will visit the Chicago Fire in their Saturday match-up.