Canadian Club Positioned Well in CCL

The Montreal Impact’s return to the CONCACAF Champions League as an MLS team ended with a 1-0 win over San Jose
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, August 08, 2013

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After 4 years of Toronto FC representing Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League, last night marked the return of the Montreal Impact in the tournament.

When the Impact last took part in the competition during the 2008-2009 season, they made a historic run to the quarterfinals, in spite of being a 2nd division side. That run included a 2-0 over Santos Laguna in the 1st quarterfinal, before collapsing with a 5-2 loss in Mexico.

Impact manager Marco Schällibaum and his team went with a full-strength lineup, which included new DP midfielder Hernán Bernardello, but had pushed Patrice Bernier on to the bench. The Earthquakes left many usual starters, such as Rafael Baca, Chris Wondolowski, Jon Busch and Steven Beitashour on the bench.

After only 10 minutes played, Collen Warner got a yellow for a handball within the penalty box, but Alan Gordon kicked the ball weakly, and as Montreal’s designated cup-keeper Evan Bush went to the right side, it was easy for him to save.

Only 6 minutes later, the Earthquakes would regret not having scored the goal, as Hassoun Camara got his head on a Hernán Bernardello free kick and headed it into goal to go up 1-0.

The rest of the game saw the Earthquakes dominate possession, trying to get the equalizer and plenty of tackles from each side. There were, however, few clear-cut chances and Montreal wasted the opportunity to capitalize on several free kicks and set pieces during the games.

There were plenty of Canadians on the sideline. Mauro Biello assisted Schällibaum for Montreal, while San Jose’s interim coaching duo consists of former Canadian internationals Mark Watson and Nick Dasovic. The Canadian content on the pitch was limited to 9 minutes by Patrice Bernier in the end of the game, who may face a tougher fight for playing time with the arrival of Bernadello. Neither Montreal’s other Canadians or San Jose’s Nana Attakora saw any playing time.

By winning the game against San Jose, the Impact have been positioned well to advance from the group. San Jose should be a tougher opponent than Heredianos, and if the Impact can win those matches, soccer fans in Montreal could very easily see a return of CONCACAF soccer next march.

It is always great to see Canadian teams do well in CONCACAF, but hopefully, the wear and tear of playing 3 games a week during August and September will allow the Impact’s homegrown Canadians to step on the pitch. 

Henrik LONNE

Nationality:
Denmark
College:
Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.
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