MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer Eastern Conference Semi-Final – Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Sunday, November 8 – 17:00 EST (22:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 11/10 – Draw 13/5 – Montreal Impact 23/10

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host Montreal Impact in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal on Sunday night, hoping to turn around a 2-1 deficit from the first leg.

Columbus are up against it knowing that Montreal now pose a huge goal threat and are more than comfortable coming from behind to win games (as we saw in the first leg).

Having only won one of their last three at home, Columbus are worryingly underdogs to progress despite hosting this game at MAPFRE Stadium and that should make for an entertaining spectacle.

Columbus Crew’s record in MLS: P35 W15 – D8 – L12

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A lot will be said for the fact they have the away goal, but it is important to remember that they need a win regardless and beating Montreal has proved difficult in the latter stages of the season.

Montreal Impact are arguably the best team in MLS at the moment, in terms of form, having won five on the bounce at such an important part of the season. They look unstoppable of late with Didier Drogba firing them to win after win.

Montreal looked in trouble when the Crew took the lead last weekend but showed their resilience to come from behind and win. They now enter this tie as the more confident side.

Montreal Impact’s record in MLS: P36 – W17 – D6 – L13 

With players like Didier Drogba and Ignacio Piatti, the Impact will pose a real threat on the Columbus goal from kickoff.

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One worry will be the Impact’s away form. They have won their last two away from home but had failed to win in five before that and won just four road games all season.

This will be the fourth meeting of the year between these two sides, including last weekend’s first leg clash. Montreal have won all three games in 2015 and appear to have the Crew’s number.

Team News

Columbus Crew are without Kristinn Steindorsson and Mohammed Saeid through injury. Cedrick is questionable but could make an appearance from the bench.

Montreal Impact are missing Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper and Andres Romero all through knee injuries. Justin Mapp is a doubt with a toe injury.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five in MLS: L/L/W/W/L

Montreal Impact’s last five in MLS: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Montreal Impact have won the last three meetings between the two sides.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – As joint top scorer in the regular season, Kamara has proven that he has an uncanny ability to score goals. And lots of them. Columbus will need him on top form if they are to progress. Montreal have kept him quiet in three previous games this year so he has a point to prove.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 1-1 Montreal Impact – This will be nervy and we can’t see many goals, it could even go right down to the wire. However, Montreal have Columbus’ number this season, coupled with winning five on the bounce. We see Montreal just nicking a place in the Eastern Conference Final.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact 

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, August 29 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 4/5 – Draw 11/4 – Orlando City 16/5

Match Preview

Toronto host Montreal Impact on Saturday evening with both sides working hard for a playoff place in the Eastern Conference as the two go head-to-head in the latest 401 Derby clash as part of Heineken Rivalry Week in MLS.

Toronto are sitting fourth in the East on 34 points and come into the game off the back of their 5-0 thumping over Orlando City.

Greg Vanney will be pleased that his side got back on form with that impressive result after losing their previous two games. Toronto cannot afford to give away silly points, they are 12 points ahead of bottom side Chicago Fire but any side from seventh down still have a chance of making the playoffs.

Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore have been in brilliant form this season and have proved to be very difficult for opposition sides to keep out. Having netted 26 of Toronto’s 42 regular season goals between them, they will be feeling confident heading into this one against a Montreal side that has conceded 32 times this year.

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Montreal Impact’s last regular season game was their second successive defeat by a 1-0 scoreline. Frank Klopas will be disappointed with his side’s recent form as they have now failed to win in their last three games.

They are sitting in sixth place with 28 points and are more than capable of finishing in a playoff spot. Klopas will be hoping new signing Didier Drogba will impress and he could in line for his first start. The 37-year-old powerhouse’s addition should have given the squad a lift and his leadership qualities on and off the field will no doubt be a great help.

Montreal are yet to win in Toronto since they joined MLS, losing five and drawing four of the nine meetings between the sides at BMO Field. They know this weekend’s tie will be a real test.

Impact have struggled on the road this season, having won just two of their ten away games, they lost the earlier meeting in the campaign 3-1 and will be looking to finally put their winless run at BMO Field to an end.

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Team News

Toronto FC will are still without Mark Bloom, as he is out for the season. Damien Perquis and Luke Moore are both doubtful. Nick Hagglund is one booking away from suspension.

Montreal Impact have four injury concerns. Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper and Hassoun Camara are out, while Ignacio Piatti is a doubt. Laurent Ciman and Marco Donadel are both one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five in MLS: D/L/W/L/L

Montreal Impact’s last five in MLS: L/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: Montreal have conceded at least two goals in their last five regular season away ties.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – You cannot overlook the Italian. He has had a brilliant debut season and has caused opposition defences chaos. His 17 goals in 24 games make him the player to watch in this one and Toronto are a force when he is in this kind of form.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-1 Montreal Impact – Toronto to prove just too much for the Impact and win their second game on the bounce, taking another 401 Derby win with them.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Orlando City 

Venue: Stade Saputo – Saturday, June 20 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Orlando City 9/5

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome fellow Eastern Conference franchise Orlando City to Stade Saputo on Saturday night in a game both sides will be desperate to win.

Montreal come into this one off the back of a 3-1 loss to New York City FC last time out but do boast four wins from their last six.

And after winning their last three at home, the Impact will feel confident about extending that run to four on Saturday as they face Orlando at home for the second time this term.

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Montreal Impact’s 2015 MLS record: P11 – W4 – D2 – L5

Orlando City have been in tremendous form lately and are unbeaten in their last six in all competitions after overcoming Charleston Battery in midweek, with victory in the US Open Cup.

Currently lying third in the Eastern Conference, Orlando may feel they have overachieved so far but will want to continue their current form as a playoff spot looks a real likelihood.

Orlando City’s 2015 MLS record: P15 – W5 – D5 – L5

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These two met in Montreal back in March, with the game ending 2-2 as Orlando came from two goals down to earn a point, with all four goals coming in the first-half.

This is very much a game that could go either way, and is set up to thrill.

Team News

Montreal Impact are without Adrian Lopez, Justin Mapp, Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Dominic Oduro, Hassoun Camara, Eric Miller and Dilly Duka through injury.

Orlando City are without Kevin Molino, Martin Paterson and Tony Cascio through injury. Tally Hall is expected to start in goal and Cyle Larin could start upfront after shining on international duty with Canada.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/L/W/W/L

Orlando City’s last five: W/D/D/W/W

Key Stat: Montreal Impact have won their last three home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kaka – Brazilian superstar Kaka has been little short of exceptional since joining MLS and has become one of the greatest players in the league very quickly. He will provide class that is unparalleled once more on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 1-1 Orlando City – Both sides will see this as a match where they can pick up points and that should see them equal each other out for the second time this season.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Saturday, June 13 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York City 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – Montreal Impact 11/5

Match Preview

New York City FC take on Montreal Impact on Saturday evening with both sides coming into this one off the back of wins.

NYCFC won their first Major League Soccer tie in 11 attempts away at Philadelphia Union last weekend and they have to build on that positive result.

Jason Kreis will be desperate for his side to find their first home win in six as they are still sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Patrick Mullins netted the dramatic late winner last weekend and has the same number of goals, three, as David Villa this season.

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Montreal Impact have won four of their last five and won their last two on the bounce. They beat Columbus Crew away last weekend and will feel they have a good chance of making it three wins from three in this tie.

Impact have continued to close the gap for a playoff spot and are now just two points off sixth place. A win here could see them finish the weekend in the top six.

Frank Klopas still has an injury hit squad but his players showed their desire to win last weekend with their backs against the wall.

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Montreal’s win last weekend was their first away victory in 21 attempts. They need to make sure they do not go on another run like that if they want to continue their improvement as they are now one of the inform sides in MLS.

Team News

George John, Tony Taylor, Josh Williams, Javier Calle, Khiry Shelton and Connor Brandt are all out for NYCFC. Mix Diskerud could return but played and scored in the USMNT win over Germany on Wednesday and Adam Nemec is still on international duty.

Montreal Impact’s injury woes are looking a little better but eight players could still miss out. Justin Mapp, Adrian Lopez, Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper are set to be unavailable, while Dominic Oduro, Hassoun Camara, Eric Miller and Dilly Duka are doubts. Ambroise Oyongo and Maxim Tissot are both away on international duty while Marco Donadel will also miss out as he is suspended.

Key Points

New York City FC’s last five: L/D/L/D/W

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: New York have failed to win in their last six home Major League Soccer outings.

Key Player: Patrick Mullins – The forward’s confidence will be sky high after his winner last weekend and he will be looking to give the home fans something to cheer about.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 1-1 Montreal Impact – The sides to share the points, NYCFC to continue their poor run of home form and Impact to build steadily on their first away win of the season.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, June 6 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus 8/11 – Draw 14/5 – Montreal Impact 7/2

Match Preview

Columbus Crew entertain Montreal Impact on Saturday evening as they look to bounce back from their midweek defeat.

Crew’s loss to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night leaves Gregg Berhalter‘s side without a win in their last four games.

Their last win came against Seattle Sounders and they are going to need to pick things up to avoid their winless streak becoming a problem.

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Crew have seen their best form of the season come at the MAPFRE Stadium and they haven’t been beaten at home in four games.

Montreal Impact come into the game after their impressive 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday evening.

The Impact have now won three of their last four games and Frank Klopas‘ side are four points off the playoffs having played four games less than Philadelphia Union in sixth.

Klopas has a real problem with numbers as his injury list is the worst in Major League Soccer at the moment.

Jack McInerney scored in midweek and he will be hoping to add to his season tally of three as the pressure is on the available Impact players to perform under the strain of the injury problems.

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Team News

Columbus Crew have three injury concerns as Wil Trapp, Matt Lampson and Chris Klute are sidelined. Michael Parkhurst is available again after his missing out against Philadelphia through suspension.

Montreal Impact’s injury woes continue with up to ten players out. Justin Mapp, Adrian Lopez, Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Dominic Oduro, Hassoun Camara, Victor Cabrera and Eric Miller all expected to miss out. Dilly Duka and Andres Romero are doubtful and Ambroise Oyongo is away on international duty with Cameroon. Marco Donadel desperately needs to avoid getting booked and picking up a suspension as Klopas already has enough to worry about with his selection.

 Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/L/D/D/L

Montreal Impact’s last five: L/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Montreal Impact have failed to win in any of their last 21 away games and they haven’t beaten Columbus Crew in their last five attempts in all competitions.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – Crew missed his presence in the midweek game, which was already lost by the time he entered the frame. He will be hoping to show how valuable he is to his side this weekend.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-1 Impact Montreal – The Crew to put their winless streak to an end with the Impact still struggling to win away from home in a game neither side can really afford to lose.

Preview: Montreal Impact face triple threat in Champions League final first leg

By Sandy Beeson – Twitter: @Sandy_Beeson

For Montreal Impact, facing Mexican giants Club América in the CONCACAF Champions League final would seem a stern enough challenge on its own, but when you factor in both a record attendance and a substantial increase in altitude, Wednesday’s first leg becomes even more daunting for the history-making Canadian side.

Reports from Mexico suggest that the iconic Estadio Azteca has already sold out with a 105,000 capacity crowd expected. That figure would eclipse any equivalent attendance from UEFA’s showpiece event since Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in 1960 in front of 127,621 at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

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Fortunately for the Impact, the second leg will be hosted at Montreal’s Stade Olympique where there will also be a capacity crowd, albeit a decidedly more modest audience of 58,000.

Prior to this season, Montreal had held the CONCACAF Champions League attendance record since 2009, until the 55,571 that saw Impact beat Santos Laguna 2-0 was eclipsed by Wednesday’s opponents earlier this month. Club América welcomed 66,208 to the Azteca to witness an emphatic 6-0 semi-final win over Costa Rica’s Herediano to book their place in the final.

Montreal also saw off Costa Rican opposition in the semis, defeating Alajuelense on away goals to become the first ever Canadian side to advance to the final of either the Champions League or its predecessor the Champions Cup. Victory would not only make them the first Canadian champions but also the first MLS champions since the Champions League era began in 2008.

Standing between them and victory is Club América, this season’s top scorers with a formidable 30 goals from the eight games they’ve played. Forwards Darío Benedetto, Martín Zúñiga and Mexican international Oribe Peralta have combined for 14 goals between them, one more than the Impact’s entire total in this year’s competition.

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Not only will Montreal Impact be coming up against this season’s outstanding performers in one of the most formidable arenas in world football, they will do so at an altitude of 2,200 metres. Preparation is key in such circumstances and Montreal have given themselves as much time to acclimatise in Mexico City as possible, having arrived last Wednesday, thanks to a bye week in MLS.

A similar arrangement paid dividends at the quarter-final stage as a Dilly Duka double secured a vital 2-2 in the first leg against Pachuca, following a fortnight acclimatising at 2,400 metres, with Montreal eventually progressing on away goals.

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The Impact would hope for a similar outcome from Wednesday’s game and will need to put in a disciplined defensive display if they are to achieve it. They’ve got the personnel to keep themselves in contention but they will need the likes of former Belgian international Laurent Ciman, experienced centre-back Hassoun Camara and the tenacious Nigel Reo-Coker to perform heroically if they are to still be in the tie by next week’s second leg in Canada.

CCL Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Alajuelense

Competition: CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Final First-Leg

Venue: Olympic Stadium – Wednesday, March 18 – 20:00 ET (00:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Montreal 5/4 – Draw 11/5 – Alajuelense 23/10

Match Preview

Montreal Impact host Alajuelense in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night in what is a huge game for both clubs as around 40,000 fans are expected to be at the Olympic Stadium.

The Impact made history in the last round by becoming the first-ever Canadian club to beat Mexican opposition over two-legs in the competition as they advanced past Pachuca on the away goals rule to book their place in the last four.

They are the only remaining MLS side left in the competition after Wednesday’s opponents, Alajuelense defeated DC United 6-4 on aggregate in the last round.

DC United vs Alajuelense

The Costa Rican side were the lowest-seeded side left in the tournament heading into the knockout stages but stunned top-seeded DC 5-2 in the first-leg at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto.

DC United did win the return leg 2-1 but that wasn’t enough to progress and Montreal now face the task of progressing against one of Costa Rica’s most successful clubs.

This will be the first time Alajuelense have ever visited Montreal and it should be an intriguing game. Montreal sat deep and hit Pachuca on the counter-attack to great effect last time out but their upcoming opponents don’t play with as high a line and so the same approach may not work out so well.

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Hosting the first-leg makes this a big challenge for the Impact as they know they have to go out and try to win the game as the return trip to Costa Rica will not be easy.

Montreal Impact opened up the 2015 MLS season with defeat at DC United 10 days ago but had a bye week this weekend and have had a long time to prepare for the game.

Alajuelense are 13 games into their domestic campaign but currently sit fourth, having not won a league game in six.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be without four men for the game on Wednesday night as wingers Justin Mapp (elbow) and Andres Romero (thigh) will both miss out, while defender Adrian Lopez (knee) and goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau (shoulder) are also out injured. Dominic Oduro will be hoping to start in place of Mapp on the right wing.

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Alajuelense goalkeepers Patrick Pemberton and Kevin Ruiz will both miss the game. Pemberton is suspended along with winger Kevin Sancho, who will also miss the game. Midfielder Luis Miguel Valle could return from injury but is unlikely to feature.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s last five in all competitions: W/W/D/D/L

Alajuelense’s last five in all competitions: W/L/D/D/D

Key Stat: Alajuelense have not won away from home in the CONCACAF Champions League this season. Domestically, they are without an away win in five.

Ignacio Piatti in action for the Montreal Impact (Photo: ImpactMontreal.com)

Ignacio Piatti in action for the Montreal Impact (Photo: ImpactMontreal.com)

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – Montreal’s only Designated Player needs to step up and make the difference in this one. He will look to create opportunities wherever possible and could be the man to win this.

Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 Alajuelense – The Impact will go out to win this game and they should succeed in doing so against an Alajuelense side that is looking out of form. The home crowd will need to play a part in cheering their team across the line but expect the Costa Rican side to grab an away goal in what should be an entertaining game.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs Montreal Impact

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, March 7th – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

Match Odds: DC United 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Montreal Impact 3/1

Match Preview

DC United host Montreal Impact on Saturday in the opening weekend of the new Major League Soccer season in a matchup that pits the top and bottom teams from the Eastern Conference in 2014 against each other.

Both sides have been active in recent weeks, both playing competitively in the CONCACAF Champions League and should come into the game raring to go.

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DCU will be without their talisman, Fabian Espindola for the clash as he is serving a six-game suspension in MLS. So the 2014 Eastern Conference winners will need to find goals from elsewhere.

DC United’s MLS home record in 2014: P17 – W11 – D4 – L2

Montreal come into the opening weekend in the better form out of the two after successfully moving past Pachuca into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals on Tuesday night.

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Statistically the worst team in MLS last term, the Impact will need to display great signs of improvement if they are to turn the tide in the league.

Montreal Impact’s MLS away record in 2014: P17 – W0 – D5 – L12

DC United are far from their strongest going into the new season and anything can happen on the opening day, so Montreal will be in good spirits in what should be an entertaining affair.

Team News

DC United: Fabian Espindola (suspended), Markus Halsti (leg), Luis Silva (soft tissue damage), Eddie Johnson (heart condition) and Michael Seaton (knee) are all out.

Montreal Impact: Andres Romero misses the clash with a thigh injury.

Key Points

DC United’s form: N/A

Montreal Impact’s form: N/A

Key Stat: Montreal failed to win a single game away from home in the 2014 MLS season.

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Key Player: Bill Hamid – The MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for 2014 was a huge part of why DC was so successful last campaign. Expect him to prove the difference once again at the weekend.

Score Prediction

DC United 2-0 Montreal Impact – Can’t see any surprises here despite Montreal’s Champions League success in the week. DC should be winning this comfortably in front of their own fans.

Montreal Impact make history with dramatic late goal against Pachuca

The Montreal Impact have done it. They’ve made history by becoming the first Canadian club to beat Mexican opposition over two legs in the CONCACAF Champions League as they booked their place in the semifinals of the competition.

Pachuca travelled to Canada to take on Montreal last night in the second-leg of their quarterfinal clash after the first-leg ended 2-2 in Mexico last week. 38,104 supporters were in attendance for the game as the Impact made history in fine style.

Pachuca took the lead on 80 minutes as German Cano slotted a penalty into the bottom left of Evan Bush’s goal after he was fouled in the box by Laurent Ciman.

The Mexican side must have thought they’d done enough but the Impact weren’t reading the same script as rookie Cameron Porter tucked home the equaliser in the 94th minute, sending Montreal through on the away goals rule.

Great look at the Cameron Porter goal (via Montreal Impact on YouTube):

The stadium erupted as Porter wheeled away in celebration with his name instantly stamped into Montreal Impact folklore. The 21-year-old forward was selected in the third round of this year’s MLS SuperDraft and he couldn’t have even dreamed of scoring a goal so important for his first professional club.

The game ended 1-1 with an aggregate score of 3-3 as Montreal became just the second MLS team, after the Seattle Sounders, to beat Mexican opposition in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Highlights of last night’s game (via CONCACAF on YouTube):

Montreal were the worst side in Major League Soccer last season as they finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference but 2015 is looking a lot better already, before the regular season has even started.

They will now face the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal between Costa Rican side Alajuelense and the only other remaining MLS side, DC United in two weeks’ time.

Don’t miss: CCL Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Alajuelense

Alajuelense won the first-leg 5-2 last week and DC United have a real mountain to climb if they are to advance in front of their own fans tonight.

The Montreal Impact live to fight another day and will now have genuine hopes of becoming the first MLS club to lift the CONCACAF Champions League this year.

Huge amounts of praise has been given to the Impact after last night’s incredible achievement and even US Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann enjoyed watching Montreal advance.

Can the Montreal Impact win the CONCACAF Champions League this year?

CCL Preview and Prediction: Pachuca vs Montreal Impact

Competition: CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal First-Leg

Venue: Estadio Hidalgo – Tuesday, February 25 – 10:00PM ET (03:00AM Wednesday, 26 GMT)

Match Odds: Pachuca 1/3 – Draw 7/2 – Montreal Impact 15/2

The CONCACAF Champions League returns this week after a four month break. Montreal Impact are one of the two remaining Major League Soccer sides in the competition and they take on Mexican club Pachuca in the first-leg of their quarterfinal on Tuesday night.

Montreal are the fourth seed of the remaining eight teams in the CCL and take on fifth seed Pachuca at the Estadio Hidalgo before the return leg in Canada next week.

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A lot has changed in the competition’s four month break and the Impact go into the game with the disadvantage of not having played a competitive game since their final MLS regular season match against DC United on October 25.

Montreal have seen several changes to their roster over the course of the offseason and have been in good form this preseason, losing one and winning three games – two of those wins saw Montreal seal a 6-0 victory.

Marco Di Vaio scored four of Montreal’s six goals in the group stages of the competition but the Italian striker has since retired and the Impact need to ensure they remain in the tie ahead of the home leg next Tuesday.

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Pachuca scored 17 goals in their four group stage games and are currently tenth in the Liga MX table after seven games of the new season.

They come into the game unbeaten in three and claimed a 2-1 win against Leon on Sunday in front of their own fans.

This will be a real test for the Montreal Impact and they must ensure they have a chance of advancing to the semifinals in next week’s second-leg by coming away from Pachuca with a positive result.

Pachuca’s form in the CCL: W/W/W/L

Montreal Impact’s form in the CCL: W/W/W/D

Key Stat: Pachuca have not kept a clean sheet in any of their seven league games this season or in any of their four CCL games in this year’s competition.

Key Player: Erick Gutierrez –The 19-year-old midfielder has scored two in Pachuca’s last three in the league and is in fine form coming into the game.

Score Prediction: Pachuca 2-1 Montreal Impact – The lack of competitive action could cost Montreal in this game but they will remain in the tie ahead of the return leg next week.