The name Charles Córdoba will likely remain in Montreal Impact fans’ memories for a while.
The forward missed a penalty kick, was involved in the dismissal of center back Adrián López on his competitive debut with the Impact and scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute as CD Heredia topped the Impact 1-0 at Estadio Cementos Progreso on Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League. Heredia thus join Montreal atop the CCL Group 5 standings, with three points.
After Montreal created the first opportunity within 25 seconds of kick off, Heredia pushed them back well, exploiting the flanks and troubling the opposition rearguard with crosses at low or mid height. They almost got a first-half opener this way in the 19th minute.
Héctor de Mata pounced on a ball lost on Montreal’s left side and crossed for Enrique Miranda. Impact center back Wandrille Lefèvre got a hand to Miranda who tumbled onto the turf. Referee Paul Enrique Delgadillo pointed to the spot, but Córdoba’s attempt spanked the crossbar and bounced out.
There was no further break for Montreal in the 44th minute, however, as Delgadillo created a López-shaped hole in Montreal's backline by producing a red card for a dangerous tackle tackle from behind on Córdoba in the center circle.
After defender Hassoun Camara came on for midfielder Felipe at the start of the second half, Montreal brought the ball in the vicinity of Heredia’s penalty box on a few early occasions and got a chance through Daniele Paponi in the 57th minute. But Heredia grew increasingly menacing as the second half progressed, still working the ball wide to create space.
Montreal hit the crossbar as well in the 73rd minute as Paponi was released on the left. The Italian checked in front of a defender and left the ball to Blake Smith, who flicked the ball beyond his man with the outside of his left foot but smacked his attempt against the frame.
But a cross again troubled Montreal two minutes from time as goalkeeper Evan Bush tried to control a low cross from David Espinoza from a short de Mata corner. Bush couldn’t control the ball, however, and Córdoba stabbed it home.
Montreal will be back home in MLS action this Saturday as they host the Houston Dynamo at Stade Saputo. They will play their next CCL game on September 17 when they travel the West Coast to face the San Jose Earthquakes.