By DAN KARELL
Even with a number of first team regulars left back home, the Montreal Impact looked like they had a chance to get out of Guatemala with at least a point.
Instead, a last-gasp goal by CD Heredia just before the end of regulation sent the Impact to a 1-0 defeat on the turf of Estadio Cementos Progreso. The goal put a sour taste in the mouth of the team, who had to play the entire second half down a man.
Playing without Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Patrice Bernier, and Marco Di Vaio among others, the Impact nearly went down a goal 19 minutes in. An Impact challenge in the box lead to a penalty being called for Heredia, one of many questionable calls by the referee made in the game. Luckily for the Impact and goalkeeper Evan Bush, the ensuing spot kick hit the crossbar and bounced away.
Bush was called upon again three minutes later, making an acrobatic kick save as Heredia midfielder David Espinoza’s shot took a deflection on it’s way to goal.
The game took a turn though in the 44th minute, as Impact defender Adrian “Piscu” Lopez was shown a red card for a slide tackle in the middle of the field, reducing the Impact to ten men. Despite the disadvantage, the Impact still were creating chances. Forward Daniele Paponi had an opportunity just before the hour mark go straight into the arms of the Heredia goalkeeper Jose Calderon, while Blake Smith had the Canadian side’s best chance, but his shot inside the box cannoned off the left post.
In the 88th minute, the Impact’s fate was finally sealed. On a Heredia corner kick, the ball found it’s way to forward Charles Cordoba, who stabbed it across the line to give his side the lead and eventual three points.
Next up for the Impact is a crucial MLS Eastern Conference home match against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
Here are the match highlights: