CONCACAF Champions League Final: America – Impact!
by Luis Eduardo Flores
Tonight was the night; La Liga MX’s Club America and MLS’ Montreal Impact were ready to finish what started last week. This time it was in Impact’s own backyard; Olympic Stadium. After a stunning 1-1 draw last week at America’s home stadium; both America and Impact were ready to resume battle.
The stage was set for one heck of an upset by the underdog team. Despite the fact that Impact was riding a wave of momentum off that draw, it was not enough. Tonight’s result is proof of that. Regardless of what others thought about Impact as credible contenders, Montreal head coach Frank Klopas did not let that interfere with his job.
Right after kickoff, we were made aware of the high level of competition in this game. That was confirmed upon Impact’s goal at the 8th minute; all thanks to Igancio Piatti and Andres Romero. Piatti was last week’s hero, but today it seemed like Andres Romero was going to receive that honor. Surprisingly; Piatti worked his way around three defenders on the far right side of the field. Immediately, he passed the ball over to Romero, whom sealed the deal by making it past two more defenders before scoring an awesome goal.
For the Impact fans and supporters; they must’ve felt like a true underdog story was being created before their very eyes. The early goal was just the first chapter being written. The remainder of the 1st half saw Impact build up their defense. America was left in further shock as their attempts were all off-target; thus ending the 1st half in favor of the home team. America had something in store for Impact in the 2nd half.
At the sound of the opening whistle in the 2nd half; America went into ultra-attacking mode. It did not take America long to find their way to Montreal’s side and eventually the net. Within five minutes; America’s Benedetto evened the score.
Fourteen minutes later, Mexico’s international star Oribe Peralta put America ahead for the first time in the series. Benedetto came back to add more damage, within two minutes. Since that was not enough for America, Benedetto further secured America’s victory plus a hat-trick for himself at the 81st minute. From there, America just kept most possession of the ball for the remainder of the game. Those twenty minutes simply consisted of pure dominance on behalf of “La Aguilas de la America”.
The high level of play and America’s shift to defense took a toll on Impact. There was not much that Impact could have done at that point, as their loss was inevitable. That did not stop Jack McInerney from finding the back of the net for his team one more time at the 89th minute. Three minutes of stoppage time produced nothing, thus ending the series at 3-5 and what could have been the modern “David vs. Goliath” of soccer.
This game overall had a strong significance for both respective leagues. For MLS; Impact’s performance is a sign of the league’s overall improvement on a larger scale against tougher opponents. For La Liga MX, their franchise team has done more than established itself as the undisputed club team in CONCACAF. Now; their focus will shift onto the FIFA Club World Cup, not just as a representative of CONCACAF, but La Liga MX!!!!