SPORTS

Impact head to Houston on a high after stirring CONCACAF Champions League win

04/10/2015 05:27 EDT | Updated 06/11/2015 09:59 EDT
The Montreal Impact flew to Houston on a high this week after their stirring victory in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

They hope that carries into their Major League Soccer match Saturday night against the Dynamo (1-2-2) at BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Impact (0-1-2) have not won in four regular season visits and one playoff game in the last three seasons.

Becoming the first Canadian team to reach the Champions League final was nice, said captain Patrice Bernier, but "MLS is our bread and butter. We need to get points, especially on the road."

The Impact went all of last season without a road victory and haven't won away from Saputo Stadium in 23 attempts since a 4-2 decision at New England on Sept. 8, 2013.

But this year's squad is brimming with confidence from its CONCACAF success.

The Impact were last in MLS in 2014, when their only success was reaching the Champions League quarter-finals. They followed that by ousting Mexico's Pachuca in the quarters in March and then topping Alajuelense of Costa Rica in the semifinals, winning on away goals in the second leg Tuesday night.

Montreal will face Mexican powerhouse America at 105,000-seat Azteca Stadium in the first leg of the final on April 22, with the second leg April 29 at Olympic Stadium. The Impact say around 45,000 tickets have already been sold in the 55,000-seat dome.

The Impact flew directly to Houston after the match in Costa Rica.

"It's been a lot of ups and downs travelling," midfielder Dominic Oduro told the team's website. "Even though in the back of our minds we're thinking about the Champions League, we can't deny that, we have to focus on Houston and then Chicago (at home on April 18).

"Houston is a tough place to play with the humidity and everything, but I think we've shown we're a good team and we can handle tough teams. We've got to try as much as we can to win the game or get a point on the road."

The Impact planned to file a complaint with CONCACAF over alleged racism and thrown objects from Alajuelense fans. Oduro, a Ghana native, fired the first salvo on Twitter after the match when he blasted fans for making monkey sounds at Montreal's black players.

He said he now hopes to "get over that and move on.

"I think some of the fans there are ignorant," he added. "They also have some minorities on their team. It's uncalled for. I spoke out on social media and people responded really well, which was positive. The world needs to know about things like that."

Houston was an Eastern Conference rival in Montreal's first three MLS campaigns, but the Dynamo moved to the West this season with the arrival of expansion teams Orlando and New York City. It will be the only regular season meeting between Montreal and Houston this year.

The Dynamo, with former Impact goalkeeper-turned-executive Matt Jordan as general manager, won their season opener but are winless in their last four, including a 1-0 defeat in Seattle in their last outing.

They are without Spanish centreback Raul Rodriguez, who took an elbow to the head last week. Forward Giles Barnes missed practice this week with a foot injury.

The Impact have midfielder Justin Mapp (dislocated elbow) and forward Cameron Porter (torn ACL) out for the long term.

MORE:cpSports