Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Impact CCL Finals Bound!

What a wild finish in Costa Rica tonight. Thanks to a first half goal from Jack McInerney, the Impact held a 3-0 lead on aggregate goals with just 45 minutes to play tonight. In the bag, right? Guess again. The hosts would not go quietly as Pablo Gabas quickly brought them back into the match with a pair of goals. Montreal countered with a goal from second half substitute Andrés Romero to push the aggregate lead back to two, but again Alajuelense rallied grabbing a third AND a fourth goal late in the match to bring the aggregate score to 4-4. Happily, MLS fans can finally breathe again as with the blowing of the final whistle, Montreal still advances thanks to a 2-0 edge on the away goals tiebreaker. With the series win, they become just the second MLS franchise, and first since Real Salt Lake in 2011, to reach the CONCACAF Champions League Finals.

Tonight's 4-2 loss was the first time in this season's tournament that the Impact were defeated. They have three wins and four draws in eight matches. Here's a look at how Montreal lined up tonight: 

GK - Evan Bush (USA)
D - Bakary Soumaré (Mali)
D - Donny Toia (USA)
D - Laurent Ciman (Belgium)
D - Victor Cabrera (Argentina)
M - Calum Mallace (Scotland)
M - Nigel Reo-Coker (England)
M - Dominic Oduro (Ghana)
M - Ignacio Piatti (Argentina)
M - Dilly Duka (USA)
F - Jack McInerney (USA)

Substitute appearances made by:

Andrés Romero (Argentina) for Duka
Patrice Bernier (Canada) for McInerney
Maxim Tissot (Canada) for Oduro

Only Evan Bush and Dilly Duka have started all eight of Montreal's Champions League matches during this historic run.

Herediano and Club América will face off tomorrow to decide who else will reach the finals. Herediano owns a 3-0 lead after the first leg. The finals will begin on April 22nd. No MLS club has ever won the CONCACAF Champions League in its current format.

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