SPORTS

Impact rookie Porter wonders what he can do for an encore to game-winning goal

03/04/2015 05:34 EST | Updated 05/04/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - Cameron Porter was still beaming a day after his winning goal in the CONCACAF Champions League.

The 21-year-old rookie, playing his first home game for the Montreal Impact, scored in the final seconds of added time to put the Impact through to the semifinals for the first time on Tuesday night.

The spectacular goal, off a Hail Mary-style pass from Calum Mallace, sent the 38,104 fans at Olympic Stadium into a frenzy as players piled on Porter while their stunned Mexican opponents Pachuca looked on in disbelief.

On Wednesday, Porter wondered what he can possibly do for an encore after scoring his first goal as a professional in such dramatic fashion.

"It's pretty crazy thinking this was my first goal and now I have to live up to it," the Centerville, Ohio native said. "Its kind of a humbling goal in a lot of ways because you put it out there and now you have to prove it every day from now on."

In the first leg of the quarter-final last week in Mexico, a 2-2 draw, it surprised many to see Porter instead of experienced striker Jack McInerney sent in as a late substitute.

After Pachuca scored on a penalty in the 80th minute of the second leg, coach Frank Klopas sent Porter in again to replace defensive midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker.

Down 1-0, all looked lost for the home side going into the fifth and final minute of extra time. Then magic happened. Mallace, also a substitute, lofted a high ball down the middle. Porter took it off his chest, shook off a defender and knocked it between the goalkeeper's legs.

"That was a Beckham-type pass," said Impact general manager Adam Braz. "It was brilliant."

It gave Montreal the victory in the two-game, aggregate-goals series on the away goals rule.

The Impact will play host to the first leg of the semifinal against either D.C. United or Costa Rican club Alajuelense, likely on March 18 although the date has not yet been confirmed. They will travel for the second leg, on a date between April 7 and April 9.

Porter said he scored a lot from close rage in his four-year NCAA career with Princeton, where former Impact coach Jesse Marsch worked last season.

"I tend to do a lot of toe pokes," he said. "It's what I'm comfortable with so I just went for it."

As for his skillful pass reception, he added: "Before the game I watched some Didier Drogba highlights and he was always good with his chest. So maybe that was in my head."

Porter is still digesting all that's happened in the last few months. He was late invitee to the MLS combine, then got picked 45th overall by Montreal. He showed enough to be given a contract in camp, then found himself being sent onto the field in his first two pro games.

And then he scores one of the biggest goals in the Impact's 22-year history.

"It's probably the craziest end to a game I've ever played in," said veteran midfielder Justin Mapp. "Everyone just lost it. We had bench players running over to the dog pile. Coaches. Frank was waving the towel. It was a crazy ending."

Klopas ran onto the field and made a rude gesture to the referee that brought out the red card, so he will be suspended for the next game.

As for the post-game reaction from Porter's veteran teammates: "They just give you a bunch of crap," he said. "You're the young guy in the locker-room. It's your first big experience. But it's all good fun."

MORE:cpSports