Club America are champions of North America after beating Montreal Impact 5-3 on aggregate in a thrilling final on Wednesday night.
(Video) Goal: Montreal Impact 1 (2) – (5) 4 Club America – Benedetto gets his hat-trick
(Video) Goal: Montreal Impact 1 (2) – (3) 2 Club America – Visitors take aggregate lead through Oribe Peralta
(Video) Goal: Montreal Impact 1 (2) – (2) 1 Club America – Benedetto wonder-goal pulls Mexicans level
Montreal had secured an excellent 1-1 draw in the Azteca last week, but despite leading the second leg 1-0 at half time, they were unable to prevent a second obliteration by the Mexican giants. A Dario Benedetto hat-trick and three goals in sixteen minutes killed off any hopes of a fairytale ending for the Canadians.
It means the wait for an MLS champion goes on – no side from the United States or Canada has won the title since LA Galaxy in 2000. Mexican sides have won the the last ten competitions. Club America have now moved level with Cruz Azul on six titles and are the joint most successful side in the competitions history. As a result of their title they have now qualified for the Club World Cup in Japan in December – a tournament which no MLS side has ever played in.
America named an unchanged side from the team which drew the Mexican Super Clasico against Chivas de Guadalajara last weekend. It meant Rubens Sambueza started despite fitness doubts, and Darwin Quintero – who lost two finals with Santos Laguna – kept Michael Arroyo out of the side.
The MLS had rescheduled Montreal’s domestic calendar to try and aid them in this game, so they hadn’t played since the first leg. They made two changes from that game – suspended keeper Evan Bush made way for Kristian Nicht and the injured Hassoun Camara was replaced by Marco Donadel.
Montreal got off to a flying start, as Andres Romero put them 1-0 ahead after only seven minutes. He slotted home an Ignacio Piatti pass after beating a couple of players to send an already hyped home support into a state of delirium.
Dario Benedetto hit the bar, but the game stayed at 1-0 until half time. Nonetheless, and despite the encouragement of the Montreal crowd, in the second period the floodgates opened.
Firstly, Dario Benedetto struck in the 50th minute, smashing home a volley after an Osvaldo Martinez cross.
Fourteen minutes later they were ahead thanks to a Oribe Peralta header. It was his second of the final after he also scored in the first leg.
In the 66th minute America completed their rout of three goals in sixteen minutes when Benedetto got his second of the night.
Benedetto grabbed his hat-trick in with ten minutes to go. It was arguably the best goal of the night after he drilled a Darwin Quintero pass into the top corner.
With only two minutes to go Montreal got a goal back through Jack McInerney, but it was too little too late.
America held on and lifted the trophy, leaving the Montreal players in tears.
Next up for America is a game against Toluca, while Montreal play Canadian rivals Toronto in the MLS.