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Impact earn draw at Azteca in CCL Finals opener

Oribe Peralta Club America 99


Some dogged defending and an opportunistic finish had the Montreal Impact sitting very pretty, but substitute forward Oribe Peralta ensured that his team would not be defeated.

Club America avoided a shocking defeat against the Impact on Wednesday night, as Peralta scored an 89th-minute equalizer to force a 1-1 draw at Estadio Azteca in an intense first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Ignacio Piatti opened the scoring for Montreal with a clinical finish in the 16th minute, and the Impact’s defense held firm against an onslaught of pressure until Peralta nodded home a floated free kick from Rubens Sambueza.

America had most of the game’s best chances throughout the match, outshooting Montreal 28-4, but the Impact came close to making it 2-0 late in the first half on a play that ended in controversy.

Hitting back on a quick counter, Piatti fed the speedy Dominic Oduro on a clear path towards goal. Oduro was subsequently prevented from breaking free on goal, as America midfielder Osvaldo Martinez pulled on the Impact striker’s jersey in an effort to slow the Impact forward down.

Honduran referee Hector Rodriguez immediately whistled for a foul, but gave a yellow card to Martinez despite the Impact’s pleas for a red card for denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

That was not the only sequence that saw Montreal nearly take a 2-0 lead. On another counter attack earlier in the first half, Piatti tried to float a shot to the back post before seeing it sail wide of the goal.

As frail as Club America looked at times defensively, the Liga MX club was still the better side from the run of play. It dominated possession and tested a Montreal back line that got strong performances from Laurent Ciman, Bakary Soumare and Hassan Camara.

All that could still not stop America from creating several good looks. Sambueza hit the crossbar on a shot with the outside part of his foot in the second half, and Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush had to make number of impressive saves and show a good command of his box on both sides of halftime to prevent the MLS side from conceding until late.

The walls caved in eventually, however. Peralta, who entered the game at halftime, jumped over his mark on the late set piece and headed home an equalizer that sent Estadio Azteca into a loud roar.

America then pushed on for a winner and nearly found one on a couple of instances, including on a close-range effort by Peralta that buzzed over the crossbar.

Holding the advantage currently because of the away goal, the Impact will look to defend home turf and make history by being the first MLS side to hoist the Champions League trophy at Olympic Stadium on April 29.


  1. Hopefully if Montreal wins the next game, they can have a major Impact at the Club World Club. Though I doubt it…

  2. It was eye-opening to see the crappy behavior from the Club America players and fans and that ref should should ask for his, ahem, huevos back, as someone clearly stole them. On the other hand, the Impact seem to be sandbagging the rest of the MLS. They never seem to play that well in league matches.

  3. People that soccer games just to come up with something to beatch about are sad. Even sadder, most of them don’t even understand the rules of the game.

  4. MLS has grown, the national team rivalry has evened out, but road games in CONCACAF are still a weird circus. It makes it hard to take CONCACAF seriously when such shenanigans are tolerated.

    • Well if you think this is bad, then I’m not sure why MLS would want to take part in Copa Libertadores which can be even worse. Mexican teams have been complaining for years about how the refs heavily favour the South American sides. So if they do that to Liga MX teams, imagine how they’ll treat MLS.

  5. The journalistic scrutiny is missing from this hemisphere! The media should have criticized America for the way they didn’t play. You can’t say you are elite when you can’t destroy the weakest team from mls. They had all the advantages and did nothing! The same thing happen during the semifinal. America underestimates opponents and in this night relied heavily on the ref and unsportsmanlike conduct. If Barcelona, chelsea, Real Madrid would pull this the media would be blasting them!!!! Concacaf deserves better!!! Journalist need to do their job. Report the truth Dukka walked off slowly but was punched by multiple players on the way out. That is a red card in any part of the world!

  6. What a circus those away concacaf games are. Between the fan behavior and the intimidation of the referee, I’m no longer surprised at the lack of success by the MLS teams in Mexico. I’m more surprised when one squeaks out a result. And it’s not going to change until the US or Canadian Federations grow some ba**s and raise a stink about it. Given the situation I can’t blame Montreal for their tactics in this game. I hope on their home field they will open up their game more and test that shaky back line of America. It’s a great opportunity for Montreal…

  7. The harassment of the subs exiting should have been yellow cards. Of course I’m a jerk and might have carded the subs lollygagging.

  8. The foul at the end of the half was about as clear a red card as you will see. The last defender practically pulled Oduro’s shirt off. So, in that way Montreal was unlucky and if there was any justice, they would probably have won 2-0. However, the way they played, they were maybe lucky to get the 1-1 draw. It’s amazing how they have gotten this far. They will somehow poach a goal or two and then hang on for dear life, rarely keeping possession while the opposition peppers their goal with shot after shot. It sure ain’t pretty, but somehow it’s worked so far.

  9. Even though it was a good result for Montreal in as Azteca, I think America has to be the favored to win in Montreal.

    What the Impact can’t do is sit back and hope for the tie, or they will lose for sure.

  10. Can’t believe that Montreal can continue to pull off upset after upset. Has to be very exciting to be a fan. I would love to be there for the fianl game. Chance to be the 3rd MLS team to win CONCACAF.

    Remember that Salt Lake City was better off coming home and lost.

  11. Had the correct call been made at the end of the half, the red card for the professional foul on Oduro as the last man, then the game is totally different.

    What is most frustrating is to see America players and coaching staff SWARM the referee after the match…to complain! They should be thanking him! They got away with multiple cardable offenses and benefited from the most controversial decision! What are they complaining about?

    It is those moments where you see that the Mexican teams have such an unreasonable sense of entitlement. For years, so many years, every call has gone their way when they play in Mexico. Now they expect it. They feel they deserve it.

    And Concacaf will do nothing. More of the same next year. That’s why it’s difficult to take this “competition” seriously.

      • I hope that’s sarcasm. With the pushing during subs, arm swinging to reclaim balls from the goalie, constant laser pointers and racist chants during goal kicks. If anything, Mexico should be penalized a game or two by allowing zero fans to watch the game.

      • @ BrianK – yes, they have a sense of “entitlement” to all the favorable calls from the Concacaf referees. They feel they should be treated differently, because that’s the way it’s always been. They’ve enjoyed it for so many years and decades, that now they feel “entitled” to it. That’s how entitlement works.

      • I think its more that they feel they’re too good for Concacaf, and that referees should be thanking them for playing in a Concacaf tournament. Mexicans delusionally believe they’re the third best soccer country in the Americas. I hope Montreal wipes the floor with them, then signs Balotelli for December’s romp in Morocco.

  12. Great match. Impressive from Montreal and an excellent result for them. I watched the end at the local Mexican tienda with a horchata for my daughter cause we don’t have FS2 or Unimas.

    Very good coaching from Frankie Klopas. Impact players never seemed to loose their focus or get overheated – despite the intensity of it all. They were very well prepared.

    Also: Azteca didn’t look at all sold out. And Peralta is a beast.

  13. Typical that Mexican teams try and get away with crap at home that would never be allowed in U.S. or Canada. Same with fans. Guarantee America goalie will not deal with laser blindness at Montreal.

    • dude, what are you talking about? Everyone knows the Quebeckers have no class, throwing bags of piss and dog crap onto the field, as well as saying horrible things about the opposing players’ grandmothers. Oh wait, I think I may have the wrong country. My bad.

  14. The pushing of Duka to leave at the substitution was beyond ridiculous, in my opinion.

    And it just seems like something that would never be tolerated in a game on US/Canadian soil (and, most likely wouldn’t happen from an MLS player toward a Liga MX player).

    ¡Stay classy, Mexico!
    Oops, Lo siento…

    “¡Permanezca con clase , México!”


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