MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact were officially eliminated from the Champions League Tuesday as a 2-0 win against Guatemalan side CD Heredia didn’t suffice to keep their hopes of continuing in the competition alive. After a 3-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes last week in California, the Impact needed to win by more than six goals to give themselves any chance of progression.
Daniele Paponi gave the Impact an early lead in the fourth minute with a header from close range and Andrew Wenger closed the game off in the 53rd minute with his first goal since May. The Impact could very easily have won by a much larger margin but squandered a mountain of opportunities.
Coach Marco Schallibaum, who had already conceded in the lead up to the game that the Impact had “no chance” of qualifying to the next round, was happy with the tenacity the team exhibited in the game.
“The important thing was that the players battled hard until the end,” Schallibaum said. “They played with a lot of character tonight.”
With the Impact recently coming off a three game losing skid, Schallibaum explained that he hopes the win against Heredia will provide his players with an important confidence booster, especially as only one month remains in the MLS season and the Impact haven’t yet been able to secure a place in the postseason.
The Guatemalans will travel to San Jose next month in the final match of Group 5, which will decide who will advance to the quarter-finals. Heredia will only need a point to progress whereas San Jose will need to win by a two goal margin.
Heredia coach Juan Carlos Elias admitted after the game that the odds of his team obtaining a draw in San Jose are slim, but said that both he and his side are simply content with the fact of being able to lock horns with much bigger clubs like Montreal and San Jose.