CD FAS vs. Montreal Impact | CONCACAF Champions League Match Preview
CD FAS vs. Montreal Impact
2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League
August 20, 2014 | 10 pm ET | Estadio Cuscatlan
Watch on Sportsnet (CAN), Univision Deportes (USA)
The Montreal Impact meet Salvadoran side CD FAS for the second time in a shade over two weeks, knowing that a win in El Salvador to match their 1-0 result in Montreal would do their chances of advancing a big favor. Building a six-point lead in the group before they have to face the New York Red Bulls twice would leave them needing a win from just one of those two games, but a loss would be a significant setback in an already-rough season, and leave the door open for the Red Bulls, who have yet to play a game in the group.
WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT: First up is the man who usually makes those calls – head coach Frank Klopas was sent off in the game against FAS two weeks ago, and will have to watch from the press box. Joining him in looking on from afar is defender Hassoun Camara, who received a red card for a serious foul in the 72nd minute of that game, earning him a one-game suspension.
Outside of the certainties of those two bans, and a long-term injury to defender Adrian Lopez, things are very much up in the air as far as the composition of Montreal's squad for the game goes. Forward Marco Di Vaio, who started and scored against FAS in the opener, said he expected the whole squad to travel to El Salvador given that they travel straight to an away game in New York after, while defender Wandrille Lefevre got more specific, saying he expected a "balanced" team of veterans and reserves. This was the Impact's starting lineup last time around vs. FAS:
LEG TWO: This game alone will not decide the fate of Montreal's CCL campaign, but it does feel a bit like a traditional two-legged series with the teams playing home and away over the course of two weeks. There may be a few hard feelings and scores to settle after the frenetic end to the opener, but it shouldn't come as any difficulty for the players who have been in these types of series before. On the other hand, these CONCACAF matches usually have a twist lying around somewhere.
SEASON-SAVER?: Despite their win over the weekend, the Impact remain 11 points adrift in the race for an Eastern Conference playoff place. It's been a largely forgettable first season in charge for Klopas, but after winning the Canadian Championship, he has a chance to build even more goodwill among the fans with a successful CCL campaign, especially after last year's collapse in the group stage.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Wandrille Lefevre, Montreal Impact: The Homegrown defender spoke openly about the learning experience he received in a loss in Guatemala in last year's CCL, and he wants to leave Central America with a win this time around. The development of young players like Lefevre could be critical to the chances of MLS teams both this year and in the future, the idea being that the quality of the 12th-18th guys on a team's roster can help or hinder teams in a big way during the rigors of continental competition.
Lester Blanco, CD FAS: The versatile attacker has had a tough time sticking at a club, but has made a name for himself on the CONCACAF stage thanks to his performances with the Salvadoran national team. USMNT fans will have painful memories of him after the 2012 Olympic qualifying debacle, and he'll be looking to add Impact and Red Bulls fans to that list in this year's CCL.