Charles Cordova celebrates after scoring in Heredia's 1-0 win over the Impact de Montreal in a CONCACAF Champions League game on August 21, 2013, in Guatemala City. (Photo: Juan Meono)
GUATEMALA CITY -- Charles Cordova could not have picked a better or more dramatic time to score Heredia's first-ever goal in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) on Wednesday.
The Colombian, who missed a first-half penalty kick, connected in the 88th minute to lift the Guatemalan side to a 1-0 Group 5 victory over 10-man Impact de Montreal in its CCL debut at the Estadio Cementos Progreso.
Heredia (1-0-0, 3 points) moved into a tie for the group lead with Montreal, although the former has a game in hand.
The visitors entered the match short-handed, leaving three players in Canada -- Patrice Bernier, Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta – to recuperate from light injuries.
Montreal's personnel concerns became more complicated in the 45th minute, when central defender Adrian Lopez was red carded for a tackle from behind.
The Impact, though, held off Heredia until the waning moments of the second half.
After a short corner kick, David Espinoza sent the ball into the area. Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush, who had played a flawless game up to that point, could not grasp it in front of his defender, Jeb Brovsky. Cordova was there to slot home from four yards for the game’s only goal.
Heredia could have taken the lead earlier in the encounter after referee Paul Delgadillo saw the Impact’s Wandrille Lefevre knock down Enrique Miranda in box and awarded a penalty. On the ensuing spot kick, Cordova fired his attempt off the crossbar that bounded down almost straight to the ground. Montreal managed to clear the ball from danger.
Espinoza had Heredia's next opportunity in the 22nd minute as his shot from distance deflected off Brovsky and caught Bush diving the wrong way to his left. As he was falling to the ground, the goalkeeper managed to stick out his right foot and make a spectacular kick save to keep the game scoreless.
Ten minutes later, Bush gave his teammates a scare when he hit the ground hard after it appeared Miranda's arm caught him while both players went up for the ball. Bush grimaced in pain on the ground before he eventually got up and continued playing.
Blake Smith had Montreal's best scoring chance in the 74th minute, crashing an attempt off the woodwork.
Heredia returns to CCL action on August 28 against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes.