CONCACAF Champions League: Why Montreal Impact hold San Jose Earthquakes' fate in their hands
OK, Montreal Impact — this is all on you.
If the Quebec side doesn't get a result against Guatemala's CD Heredia on Tuesday night at Stade Saputo, (8 pm ET, Univision Deportes in US, Sportsnet in Canada), they might be responsible for seeing two of the five MLS teams eliminated from in CONCACAF Champions League play. Here's how.
Montreal's chances at advancing are already minimal, as they need to put up at least six goals against Heredia to have any chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, then hope that San Jose – who put the Impact into this unenviable position by beating them 3-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium last week – do not blow out Heredia themselves in the group finale on Oct. 23.
But this game also has big implications for the Quakes' CCL chances. Seeing as Heredia lead the group with six points and have a game in hand on both the Earthquakes and Impact (three points each), even a point for the Guatemalans against Montreal or next month against San Jose would knock both MLS sides out of the competition.
It's a predicament that even has the Earthquakes throwing their support behind their Group 5 rivals ahead of Tuesday night's clash, hearkening back to the #MLS4RSL campaign in 2011 that saw fans across the league throw their support behind Real Salt Lake in their oh-so-close bid to become the first MLS team to win that competition.
It would be a big shock to see two MLS teams dropped in one fell swoop, especially in a group that seemed perfectly poised for an MLS team to win, given that this is Heredia's first time in the CCL, and in a year when it looked like MLS could finally send four teams to the quarterfinals. Still, with Sporting, the LA Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo looking comfortable, the possibility of a historic campaign for MLS is alive and well.