The Montréal Impact entered the second leg of the CONCACAF semi-final with the expectations of not sitting back waiting for Alajuelense to tie up the series. Following the first half, they did just that with an exchange of defensive series and burst on the attack.
Solid on the back line, the good work of the impact’s defense was challenged by some doubtful calls by the Salvadorian referee that had let the rough play of both teams set the tone for a long first half.
Representing the only MLS team left in the competition, the Impact showed composure in the mid-field as well with good involvement from Mallace, Reo Coker and Piatti.
In the 42nd minute a surprising counter attack from the Canadian side had Oduro finding space after a perfect exchange with Piatti to place a perfect cross to an attentive McInerney that put the club ahead with a high value away goal.
Sticking to his authoritarian style coach Klopas did not want too much celebration as there were a lot of soccer left to be played in the suffocating Costa Rican stadium.
Minutes later a chance was found once again by McInerney, however he was incorrectly called off-side.
If the first half finished with a surprising lead by the Impact, Alajuelense didn’t waste time to make the game interesting scoring in the first minute. The surprising free kick was placed on the top corner of Evan Bush’s goal to put more suspense to the deciding game.
The pressure continued by Alajuelense with continued attacks from all sides when finally a second goal was conceded through a well placed corner kick along with poor defending on behalf of Calum Mallace for Pablo Gabas to get enough on the ball and for it to go in and out. 2-1 Alajualense.
Gabas was not satisfied with two goals to his name when he tested Evans in the 70th minute which came close to a third goal for the Costa Rican side. These efforts continued, but Bush was up to the task.
A gasp of fresh air was given in the 83rd minute to the whole island of Montreal by Andres Romero when he showed the type of patience that usually is seen by the likes of Sydney Crosby in order to place the 2-2 and get the bleu-blanc-et-noir closer to its first Concacaf Champions League Final. This goal would prove to be of most importance for the Impact
11 minutes before the end of the game Costa Rican player Zuniga scored the 3rd goal for Alajuelense and placed once again the burden on his team to score 2 goals if they looked to go to the finals.
10 minutes of strong defense and composure, the Impact held on even with a final goal of the Costa Rican side!
Congratulations to the Montreal Impact on a great series! It was not pretty but at this stages of the competition it usually isn’t!
TURNING POINT: GOAL Andres Romero 83rd Minute.