Klopas: 'We'll be ready to play an even better match'

The Montreal Impact was one minute away from pulling off one of the great wins an MLS club has ever achieved, but the 1-1 tie with Club America gives it a great shot of becoming first MLS club to win the Concacaf Champions League when it hosts the second leg next Wednesday at sold-out Olympic Stadium.

"It is obviously a good result for us, but we know it's not over," said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. "I'm proud of my team and we're very happy to be going home to our great fans. We'll be ready to play an even better match."

The Impact was given little chance after America came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Herediano, 6-0, in the second leg of the their semifinal series.

But Ignacio Piatti put the Impact ahead with a goal in the 16th minute, the fifth it has scored in three away games in the knockout stage of the Concacaf Champions League. The play began on the right side, where Hassoun Camara passed it to Dominic Oduro. The Ghanaian, playing as the lone striker, played a ball dummied by Dilly Duka to Piatti. The Argentine beat his marker, Paul Aguilar, to the ball and fired it low past Moises Munoz. Normally, U.S. international Ventura Alvarado would have been playing in Aguilar's spot but he was suspended for the game.

The Impact held on to the lead until the 89th minute, thanks to some great goalkeeping from Evan Bush, who faced 25 shots (to only three for Montreal). He held America at bay until substitute Oribe Peralta rose above the Impact defense and scored on a header off a free kick. The best Club America had done before Peralta's goal was Rubens Sambueza's thundering left-footed shot rattled off the crossbar.

Montreal will go into the game with the edge on the away goal, but it will be without Bush, who received a yellow card at the end of the game and will be suspended for the second leg because of yellow-card accumulation.

Neither team was happy with the officiating. Montreal thought Osvaldo Martinez should have been sent off for taking down Oduro breaking in alone on goal in the 44th minute. Only a yellow card was issued by Honduran Henry Rodriguez.

Earlier in the first half, Michael Arroyo appeared to have equalized for America but was whistled for offside. Replays showed left back Danny Toia had kept Arroyo onside.

Klopas was upset with the decision not to send off Martinez and also the yellow card that will keep Bush out of the second leg.

"For me," he said, "it was incredible that again, in a game like this in a final, instead of the players having to dictate the game and the fans enjoying the game, we have to talk about the referees. We're in the 44th minute, clearly a breakaway that's not called for a red card."

Klopas couldn't understand Rodriguez's decision to caution Bush. "He gets pushed down," he said. "He gets a yellow card."

Of concern for Montreal will also be the injury to Belgian center back Laurent Ciman, who had another huge game in the middle of the backline but had to be helped off the field at the end of the game. Camara, subbing for the injured right back Victor Cabrera, earlier left the game with an injury.

But injury issues are nothing new to the Impact, who lost Justin Mapp and rookie star Cameron Porter after the quarterfinals when they were injured in MLS play.

Off for the third week since the start of the MLS season, Montreal will at least get a chance to rest for next Wednesday. America has no such luck. It plays Chivas de Guadalajara in the Super Clasico Sunday in Guadalajara.

April 22 in Mexico City
Club America 1 Montreal Impact 1. Goals: Peralta 89; Piatti 16.
Montreal Impact -- Bush; Camara (Miller 66), Soumare, Ciman, Toia; Reo-Coker (Bernier 76), Mallace, Romero, Piatti, Duka (Tissot 71); Oduro.
Club America -- Munoz; Pimentel, Samudio, Aguilar, Pellerano (Guerrero 70), Quintero, Martinez (Peralta 46), Sambueza; Benedetto (Zuniga 80), Arroyo.
Att.: 105,000.

1 comment about "Klopas: 'We'll be ready to play an even better match'".
  1. Santiago 1314, April 23, 2015 at 1:09 p.m.

    Way to go Frankie!!!,,, Masterful job of Team Preparation.. Sunil, Looking for US National Team Coach... Either, Peter Vermes or Klopas... Tab, has NO game experience... Peter and Frank have been in the PRO trenches, and have Proven success...

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