[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Week 1] Regardless of which team they play for, Designated Players are supposed to make an impact, and in his debut for Montreal new signing Hernan Bernardello did just that.
Bernardello, signed two weeks ago as the Impact’s second DP, assisted on Hassoun Camara’s goal that was all the Canadian team needed to top the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, in the Concacaf Champions League Group 5 opener Wednesday before 15,115 fans on a rainy night at Stade Saputo.
The third member of the group, Heredia of Guatemala, opens its four-game schedule against the Impact Aug. 21. The top team in each of the eight three-team groups advances to the quarterfinals.
In the 16th minute, Bernardello took a free kick awarded for a Brad Ring foul on Marco Di Vaio, and from the left flank his delivery dropped for Camara to head home. San Jose could have been leading at the time, but Impact keeper Evan Bushstopped a 10th-minute penalty kick off the foot of Alan Gordon after referee Javier Santos punished Collen Warner for handling the ball inside the area.
Warner was standing in a defensive wall at the time as Montreal faced a San Jose free kick. The ball hit Warner’s shoulder and that was enough for Morales to point to the penalty spot. Camara’s goal and Gordon’s penalty kick were the only shots on goal during the match.
The Quakes, who started a completely different team from the one that beat Chivas USA, 2-0, in MLS play on Saturday, lost midfielder Marvin Chavez to an injury late in the first half. He left the field on a stretcher after a hard tackle by Daniele Paponi and was replaced by Sam Garza.
A recent Quakes’ signing, Salvadoran midfielder Jaime Alas, got free down the left side five minutes into the second half and whipped a cross that Garza headed wide of the target. Montreal nearly doubled its lead in the 65th minute when Justin Mapp’s corner kick produced a fierce Matteo Ferrariheader that crashed into the crossbar.
San Jose resumes CCL play at home against Heredia Aug. 28.
ESTELI-SPORTING KC. Playing without several starters, Sporting Kansas City nonetheless had more than enough resources to beat Nicaraguan club Real Esteli, 2-0, in Concacaf Champions League group play Wednesday night.
Ike Opara’s header and Dom Dwyer’s insurance goal carried SKC to victory in their Group 2 opener at the Estadio Independencia in Esteli. Though head coach Peter Vermesrested goalie Jimmy Nielsen, centerback Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi, SKC took command in the first half and blunted most of Real Esteli’s attacks thereafter.
A Benny Feilhaber free kick presented Opara with a scoring opportunity in the 31st minute. The former San Jose defender connected on a header from the edge of the goal area to put SKC in front with his third goal of 2013.
Dwyer’s clinching goal in the 76th minute followed several SKC near-misses. Soony Saad shot over the crossbar, and drove another attempt that was tipped over the bar by goalie Justo Llorente. Feilhaber also fired too high from a good spot.
Esteli’s best chance came in the 61st minute when Rudel Calero’s header was deflected wide. Fifteen minutes later SKC iced the victory. Dwyer, who returned June 27 from playing on loan in USL PRO with Orlando City, ran down a long ball from center back Aurelien Collin to slot his second SKC goal in as many games; he netted Saturday in SKC’s 3-2 league loss to New York.
“We were very organized and had great shape in the game,” said Vermes toldkansascity.com. “We took our chances well when we got them and, especially in the first half, I thought we were very good in possession.”
SKC takes on Olimpia, the third member of Group 2, in Tegucigalpa Aug. 27, six days after Real Esteli hosts the Honduran club. The top team in each of eight groups advances to the quarterfinals.
CCLWEEK 1: Results
Wednesday, August 7
Montreal Impact 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0
Sporting San Miguelito (PAN) 0 Club America (MEX) 1
Real Esteli (NCA) 0 Sporting Kansas City 2
Tuesday, August 6
Toluca (MEX) 3 Caledonia AIA (TRI) 1
Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) 0 Tijuana (MEX) 0
CCLWEEK 1: Schedule
Thursday, August 8
Valencia FC (HAI) vs. Herediano (CRC)
Isidro Metapan (SLV) vs. Cartagines (CRC)
Arabe Unido (PAN) vs. DIRECTV W Connection (TRI)
(Click here Soccer on TV.)