The Impact de Montreal celebrate after scoring against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes in CONCACAF Champions League on August 7, 2013. (Photo courtesy of the Impact de Montreal)
GUATEMALA CITY -- Both rivals in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) Group 5 encounter on Wednesday night have their own unique obstacle to overcome.
The visiting Impact de Montreal finds itself with a double challenge entering enter the game in Guatemala.
Not only is the Canadian club winless in five consecutive Major League Soccer road matches, the Impact will be forced to play without three vital players -- Patrice Bernier, Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta – each of whom are injured.
Its opponent, Heredia, is far from mid-season form despite a 2-0-1 record after three games in the Guatemalan First Division. The CCL debutant, however, is playing its home fixtures in the competition at the Estadio Cementos Progreso in Guatemala City, rather its own Estadio Del Monte. The reason for this situation is that the 9,000 seat stadium does not yet meet competition standards.
Heredia is in fifth place after dropping a 2-0 home decision to Communicaciones in its Aug. 4 opener, but rebounded with a 3-0 road win over Universidad de San Carlos on Aug. 10 and a 1-0 victory over Marquense last Saturday.
Striker Osmar Lopez leads the side with three goals in two games this season, which ties him for the league lead. He scored twice vs. Universidad, including a spectacular header from outside the penalty area. The other goal was record by Brazilian forward Anderson Andrade.
Guatemalan internationals -- forward Enrique Miranda and midfielder Wilfred Velasquez – are also on its roster.
The Impact is coming off a 1-0 CCL home win over fellow MLS side San Jose Earthquakes on August. 7, when defender Hassoun Camara scored off a header from a free kick by Hernan Bernardello, who made his Montreal debut in that encounter.
Now, it's the challenge of earning at least point on the road, even if it means the Impact will extend its road winless streak.
“As a staff we’ve gathered quite a bit of information on Heredia," Impact director of soccer operations Matt Jordan said. "We’ve watched a few of their games and have worked to gather as much information as possible. We have an experienced group of veteran players and coming players that are hungry to get an opportunity. I am confident we’ll be ready to go.”