Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
The Montreal Impact could have gone back home with a win. They had to settle for a tie and two away goals.
The Impact resumed CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday night with a visit against Pachuca, but were unable to come out victorious after allowing the Liga MX side to rally from two goals down. Dilly Duka put Montreal in front by scoring on each side of halftime, but the lead slipped away as the Tuzos netted twice in an 11-minute span to end the first leg of their quarterfinals series in a 2-2 draw.
Pachuca began to mount a comeback at Estadio Hidalgo in the 57th minute, as left back Heriberto Olvera sent a stinging free kick from about 23 yards over a rooted part of the wall. Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush dove full-stretch to try and make the save, but was unable to get a hand on the ball.
There was little Bush could do on Pachuca’s 68th-minute equalizer as well. The Impact’s defense was caught giving up a little too much space on a quick attack down its right side, and that resulted in substitute forward Ariel Nahuelpan directing a low cross in with his left thigh.
Fielding a first-choice lineup that is still in the midst of its preseason preparations, Montreal was on the backfoot for much of the match. The Impact, however, found success when hitting on rapid counterattacks. Duka opened the scoring in the the testy match in the 25th minute, finishing a solo dribbling run with a low shot that caught veteran Pachuca netminder Oscar Perez by surprise.
Duka then gave the MLS club a 2-0 lead eight minutes after the intermission. Justin Mapp ran by a number of defenders with the ball on the play before hitting a low shot that Perez parried right into the path of Duka for the simple, close-range finish.
Unfortunately for Montreal, Pachuca piled on the pressure from there and mustered a comeback through Olvera and Nahuelpan’s goals.
There were a pair of incidents late in the match that could’ve warranted ejections for both sides, but the match official only called fouls despite players appearing to take cheap shots at one another during the run of play.
While Frank Klopas’ side will be disappointed with having given up the lead, it will return to Montreal for next week’s surely intense second leg with two crucial away goals.
The decisive leg in Montreal will be played at Olympic Stadium on March 3.
What did you think of the Impact’s 2-2 draw vs. Pachuca? Were you impressed with how Montreal looked at times in the match? What will be the key in the second leg at Olympic Stadium?
Share your thoughts below.
The Impact’s defense was horrible, but the attack of Impact was better than Pachuca.
I say skip playing the second leg indoors and make Pachuca play at the Saputo.
+1 mid 20’s possible snow. do you want to guarantee SF’s or what?
Until the last year or two MLS teams never got a result when playing in Mexico. Scoring 2 goals and taking the lead and then getting the draw is a major step forward.
Does anyone know why Oduro started up top instead of Jack Mac?? Or why he didn’t even get into the game??? Wierd decision IMO. I really hope that’s not their plan for the season.
#IMFC wanted to save energy and play the counter. For that type of game, Oduro’s speed is an asset. Pachuca’s defense is somewhat old + slow. I was sure the Impact would play Oduro.
I was surprised to see Cameron Porter (3rd round SuperDraft pick) coming in to replace Oduro in the 81st minute.
– Were Oduro and Porter better acclimatized to the altitude.
– I would not be surprised Porter was chosen to play the last 10 because he works harder defensively.
– Some players did not follow club rules and ate restaurant food instead of the food prepared by them by the chef #IMFC brought with them. Were some players under the weather. The players who did that 4 days before an important game are, in my opinion, quite unprofessional (young/inexperienced)
– Vidéo of the Chef in French + subtitles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0TH2-e-MgY
Montezuma’s revenge is real! don’t think that bc your not from the USA you are immune.
Last place team in MLS last year. Just saying
Game like that keeps the trolls who hope MLS fails away.
Not a bad result for Montreal. Bush has got to do more on some of those stops but glad to see Duka playing well, always thought he would be a good player.
“There was little Bush could do on Pachuca’s 68th-minute equalizer as well.” he either totally whiffed on the cross on the ground or he touched it right into the middle of his 6 onto a forwards belly.
pretty sure that is a goalkeeping mistake.
Is that Pachuca’s U something ? Those players look pretty young.
Pachuca has a pretty young squad
It was Pachuca’s 1st team. The same one (+/- 1-2 players) that started the last 2 Pachuca games.
Pretty good performance for the first competitive game of the year for the Impact. I’ll also say that that was some of the least objectionable refereeing I’ve seen in this tournament. Sure, a couple yellows could have been given on the shoulder to Bush’s face, and the swinging elbow to Mapp’s head, but all-in-all, not too bad.
I can’t be too critical of anyone on the Impact, but Cabrera and Toia had a lot of trouble with Damm and Lozano in the first 25-30 minutes. Toia got better as the game went on, and Cabrera made some great technical tackles. Donadel looked slow (hoping it is the altitude) and Reo-Coker was a little nonchalant at times. Ciman and Soumare were solid.
In thinking back, I’d say despite not having much in the way of possession, the Impact probably had more in the way of dangerous rushes. Oduru screwed up on two great through balls that would have been great scoring chances.
Very tense, but enjoyable game for an Impact fan. Looking forward to Tuesday at the Big Owe.
Thought he made a lot of soft calls, particularly the baby soft foul on Ciman giving Pachuca their free kick goal. This was a huge turning point because it was right after Montreal scored their second and if they could have weathered the next 5-10 mins, they probably win. I guess that’s what you get when you play in Concacaf though..
Definately a bunch of soft calls. I kind of expected that would be the case. The Ciman one was annoying. I’m hoping an American ref gets the next one, but if history serves, we’ll see someone from either Jamaica or Trinidad.
Oduro missed easy chances? How strange.