• Tuesday Sep 24, 2013

    Heredia nears QF berth, Montreal “must-win”

    Action from the August 21, 2013, CONCACAF Champions League match between the Impact de Montreal (blue) and Heredia in Guatemala City. (Photo: Juan Meono)


    MONTREAL, Canada -- Following a pair of 1-0 victories, Heredia could book its ticket to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with a win or a tie against the Impact de Montreal on Tuesday at Stade Saputo.


    The Guatemalan side leads Group 5 with six points, three in front of both the San Jose Earthquakes and the Impact.  Both wins, though, were achieved in Guatemala City at the Estadio Cementos Progreso.   Now, it must play its final two on the road.


    In their first meeting, Heredia defeated Montreal, 1-0, thanks to a late goal by Charles Cordova on August 21 and is coming off a 3-1 win over Penarol on Friday night in domestic play.


    Montreal is playing its last group match.  Any result short of a win will eliminate the 2008-09 quarterfinalist, as well as San Jose.


    “[The players] know the message is clear: We are going to win this game,” Montreal coach Marco Schallilbaum told MLSsoccer.com.  “We have to go all in.  We have a small chance and we’ll try everything to take it.”


    Schallilbaum’s squad enters the match on the heels of a 3-0 loss on Saturday in Major League Soccer to the Vancouver Whitecaps, the team it defeated in the 2013 Canadian Championshp to qualify for the CCL.   It was the Impact’s second straight MLS loss at home and it has scored only once in what has evolved into three consecutive defeats.


    “The players that will be on the field will strive to show what they can do, to show that they can help the group improve and win,” defender Hassoun Camara said.  “That’s what we want for tomorrow, we want to win and get back on a positive spell that will revive us for the next stretch.”


    Montreal opened Champions League play with a confidence lifting 1-0 win over San Jose on August 7.  Subsequent setbacks away to Heredia, 1-0, and San Jose, 3-0, comprise part of a current three-game losing streak in all competitions.


    The Impact, who welcome back Collen Warner from a yellow card accumulation suspension, will need to rebound quickly to keep their Champions League aspirations  alive.


    Camara, who has one CCL goal, is hoping the team can echo its magic during the Canadian Championship.  Prior to overcoming Vancouver on away goals in the final, Montreal trailed Toronto FC 2-0 following the first leg of the semifinals before taking the second leg, 6-0.


    “I really think we can do it,” Camara said. “We saw that against Toronto [in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal second leg] when we played a great game and overcame a great challenge when people thought we were dead.”

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