Montreal Impact host Club America on Wednesday night in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final as they aim to become the first MLS side to win the trophy.
Time: 8pm EDT / 5pm PDT / 1am BST
Date: Wednesday 29th April 2015
Where: Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada
Watch: Univision Deportes, UniMás, Fox Sports 2 (USA), Fox Sports 1 (Mexico)
After a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the historic Azteca in Mexico City last week, Montreal Impact on are the verge of making history in front of their own fans this evening.
They won’t have it easy. Their opponents, Club America, are one of the richest and most storied club’s in Latin America and are unlikely to want to be the ones who give away first title to their rivals from over the border.
The MLS had two winners when the competition existed in its previous format pre-2008, but since LA Galaxy beat Honduran side Olimpia in 2000 the Mexican Liga MX has dominated – supplying 22 of the 28 finalists. The MLS has supplied two, with the other four coming from Costa Rica. In fact, since the competition launched in 1962, Mexican sides have won the title 30 times and been runners-up 15 times – the other 40 CONCACAF nations have only won it 21 times between them (Costa Rica are second with six titles).
Aside from the pride of not wanting to be the ones who let the Mexican hegemony slip (Mexican sides have won every tournament since Deportivo Saprissa beat Pumas UNAM in 2005), Club America have they own records at stake – victory would see them pull level with Cruz Azul as the joint most successful side ever in the competition with six wins.
Away from local bragging rights, there is also a place in the Club World Cup at stake. While the tournament is often viewed as nothing more than a frustrating distraction in Europe, sides from the CONCACAF region take FIFA’s annual show-piece very seriously. A competitive game against the likes of Real Madrid or Bayern Munich is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many of the players. For Montreal and the MLS, sending a first ever entrant to the tournament would be another milestone on the road to being recognised as a serious global player.
The first leg last week left a sour taste in the mouths of both Montreal and America. The Canadians felt they should have had a man advantage for the final hour after Osvaldo Martinez hauled down Dominic Oduro when he was the last man, while the Mexicans saw a perfectly good Michael Arroyo goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.
The hosts dominated the game, but took until the 89th minute to find an equaliser after Ignacio Piatti gave the visitors a 16th minute lead. In the aftermath of the goal the Impact’s ‘keeper Evan Bush – one of their best performers throughout the tournament – naively kicked the ball at an America player from point blank range and picked up his second yellow card of the knockout stages. He will now miss tonight’s match.
America could be without influential Argentine winger Rubens Sambueza, but will welcome the scorer of last week’s equaliser, Mexico international Oribe Peralta, back into the starting eleven after he was only fit enough for the bench in the first leg.
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