Champions League: Out with torn ACL, Montreal Impact hero Cameron Porter reflects on CCL journey

MONTREAL – The Impact wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. But they’re without him, now.

So, how has Cameron Porter been?

The truth is, his voice is upbeat, and you can tell Porter is smiling. How could he not be, with his team on the brink of CONCACAF Champions League glory?

Well, injury could be an answer. But Porter refuses to let that be. He has shaped this CCL run already, scoring the late equalizer that got Montreal past Pachuca in the quarterfinals on March 3. Only 18 days later, Porter tore his ACL in a league match against the New England Revolution.

In a single month, Porter experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in pro soccer. Watching “crazy games” in CCL has helped keep his morale up as he rehabs his injury in Montreal, trying to recover as much mobility as early as possible.

“It’s amazing,” Porter told earlier this week. “Coming to this city, you don’t really know what to expect, having never been there before. The amount of support we’ve received – the whole team, not just me individually – is just unbelievable. Going to the viewing party [last Wednesday for the first leg] and hearing them chanting at the television screen the entire game, it’s unbelievable to see the city light up like this.”

On Wednesday, a Canadian-record crowd of 61,004 people will fill the Olympic Stadium for the second leg of the CCL final against Club América (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2 and UniMas in the US, SportsNet One and TVA Sports 2 in Canada). Porter will be there, probably with one or two family members. Though he did get (gently) mobbed at the viewing party, he still managed to cast an interested eye on the game.

“Club América were impressive going forward,” Porter said. “They created a lot of opportunities, a lot of set pieces, especially from corners. Our backline did a good job to manage it. It was a tough thing to see Hassoun [Camara] go down. But overall, watching the game, one standout performance – besides Evan Bush, who’s been utterly impressive – was Calum [Mallace]. I think he really stepped up from Costa Rica to Mexico, put in a full work rate offensively and defensively, moving the ball around and creating space for his teammates.”

It was Mallace who put Porter through on goal against Pachuca. But no more of that duo until 2016. Porter, of course, wishes the injury had never happened, if only for a chance to keep on taking part in a history-making run.

“But you really don’t know how things would go,” he said. "Maybe if I was playing, things wouldn’t have turned out the way they are right now. Things are going so well.”

But that’s also thanks to Porter, too.