MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact got the start they wanted for their CONCACAF Champions League campaign.
The 2014 Canadian Champions won the first game of Group 3 in the CCL, beating El Salvador's FAS by a score of 1-0 on Tuesday night at Stade Saputo. Montreal now have as many wins (three) in five cup games this year as they do in 21 league games in MLS this season.
Marco Di Vaio got the winner for the Impact in the 21st minute. Midfielder Felipe picked up a short pass back from right winger Justin Mapp outside the box and was immediately pressured by two opponents. Felipe quickly floated a cross toward Di Vaio, who timed his run impeccably to nod the ball in at the far post past Luis Contreras.
But the FAS goalkeeper – their only option in front of the net due to visa issues – had been the star of the first 20 minutes. Contreras first frustrated Di Vaio in the 13th minute when a Mapp pass intended for Dilly Duka reached the unmarked Italian forward, but Contreras challenged him well, stopping the ball with his face. Six minutes later, Contreras made two straight stops on Andres Romero, who’d dribbled past Xavi Garcia down the left.
A half-hearted spat between Di Vaio and three-quarters of the FAS players aside, the rest of the first half remained largely uneventful. Neither team created much for most of the second half either, but business picked up late on.
Montreal finished the game with 10 men after Hassoun Camara was sent off in the 72nd minute. As Raul Renderos slid to recover the ball in midfield, Camara slid in harder, his cleats striking Renderos’ leg. Montreal head coach Frank Klopas was expelled as well in the 82nd after his complaint over a foul whistled on Karl W. Ouimette wasn't well received by referee Hugo Cruz.
With Felipe withdrawn for center back Wandrille Lefèvre, and assistant coach Mauro Biello taking charge, Montreal held on. They will see FAS again in El Salvador on Wednesday, August 20, in the next Group 3 game. In the meantime, they will be back in MLS action this Saturday, Aug. 11, when they play at Philadelphia Union.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Luis Contreras||The FAS goalkeeper settled for the loss, but if not for his two early saves it would have been ugly.|
|2||Andres Romero||Pesky on the left flank when the Impact were at their best, should have had at least one goal.|
|3||Marco Di Vaio||Took some lumps in this one, but got the winner. And like Romero, should have had another.|