MLS and Canadian based side Montreal Impact travelled to the Estadio Azteca to face Club América in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Final. The Impact came into the match as huge underdogs as the 12 time Liga MX champions were expected to take care of business rather easily.
Montreal took the surprise lead in the 16th minute when Ignacio Piatti calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net from about 10 yards out. Club América controlled the ball most of the match but couldn’t find the net before halftime. The most controversial part of the game came right before halftime as Impact striker Domenico Oduro was in on goal when Osvaldo Martinez clearly pulled Oduro’s jersey and took him down right outside the box. It looked like a clear red card since he was the last man but only a yellow was given.
The hosts pretty much dominated the second half but found it hard to score. They had numerous chances but were just unable to find the net. As the half progressed, they kept pushing forward and pressing. Just when it seemed like Montreal might sneak out of Mexico with a shock victory, Club América finally put the ball into the back of the net. In the 89th minute Oribe Peralta headed home a free kick to draw the game level. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
While Club América were the better team, this result is huge for both the Impact and Major League Soccer. Prior to the game, MLS clubs had a combined 2-32-7 record in CONCACAF matches played in Mexico. The Impact have a chance to make history if they can pull off the improbable feat of winning this competition.
The second leg will certainly be exciting, as Club América will have to score to win and Montreal will have a great crowd behind them. The Impact have already announced the return leg will be played before a sold-out crowd of 59,020 fans. Because of the away goal rule, the Montreal Impact have a slight advantage heading into the second leg, which will take place on April 29th. The winner will go on to represent CONCACAF in the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup later this year.