NEWS

Montreal Impact on the brink of Canadian soccer history

04/07/2015 04:03 EDT | Updated 06/07/2015 05:59 EDT
In the heat and humidity of Costa Rica, the Montreal Impact will play the most important game in their franchise history.

The Impact play Alajuelense tonight for a spot in the in the finals of North and Central America's club championship: the CONCACAF Champions League.

"You get these moments and it's about seizing the moment and the opportunity," said Impact coach Frank Klopas.

No Canadian team has ever made it to the final of the this competition before.

In 2012, Toronto FC made the semi-finals, but lost to Mexico's Santos Laguna.

This is Montreal's first time in the semi-finals, their best previous result was a loss in the quarter finals back in 2009.

Advantage Montreal?

Coach Klopas's team carries a lead into tonight's game thanks to a 2-0 win in leg one of the home-and-away series. 

In that game at the Olympic Stadium on March 18, Montreal got off to a great start and scored twice early the first half.

Klopas says the key to the game tonight will also be the start.

"At home, 25 per cent of the goals that they score are within the first 30 minutes... they want to come out and push the game and get their fans into it." 

With a two goal lead, there is a temptation for the Impact to play defensively. Goaltender Evan Bush says that isn't the plan.

Bush says he and his teammates are will take an aggressive approach.

"We're going to go out there and were going to try to get a goal ourselves and try to put the series to bed early and then kind of manage the game from there," he said. 

"It's only half time for sure. We know that were up 2-0 and we feel it in our grasps but by no means are we looking past [Alajuelense]."

History says Bush is right not to take this game lightly.

The Impact blew a 2-0 lead when they found themselves in similar situation in 2009. 

In quarterfinals that year, Montreal scored twice at home in leg one, but lost 5-2 in Mexico and were eliminated. 

And the venue for tonight's game, the Estadio Alejandra Morera Soto, will heavily favour the home team.

Alajuelense fans have a passionate reputation and Bush says the players are expecting a hostile crowd.

The stadium holds about 17,895 fans and the game is expected to be a sell out.

Road to the FIFA Club World Cup

The reward for winning the Champions League is berth in the FIFA Club World Cup at the end of 2015.

No MLS team has ever made it to this competition and the Montreal Impact are the last hope for the league this year.

In the other semi-final, Herediano (Costa Rica) hold a 3-0 lead over America (Mexico) after leg one of their series.

They play their decisive game Wednesday.

The CONCACAF Champions League Finals series is tentatively scheduled to be completed before the end of April.

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