Tomorrow night, at Stade Olympique in Montreal, Que., the most important game in the history of the Montreal Impact and Major League Soccer will take place: the second leg of the 2014-15 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Final between the Impact and Club America. A scoreless draw, a victory by either team or a 2-2 or better America draw (which The View From Avalon is calling for) will be enough to determine a winner, while a 1-1 draw will force extra time and possibly penalties.
Now, why does this match interest the View From Avalon. Well, for starters, the Galaxy will be participating in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League alongside D.C. United, the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Also, this is the first time since RSL reached the pinnacle a few years back that an MLS side is 90 minutes away from lifting the region’s richest club football prize.
For Montreal, they need to win this game to keep Frank Klopas’s situation at the Impact safe. The following week, the Impact have a Canadian Championship match with Toronto FC to look forward to and while they would not be eligible to take part in the next CCL, winning the Voyageurs Cup this year would put them in the 2016-17 CCL. I would be surprised if Joey Saputo elects to keep Klopas as the gaffer if America lift the trophy, which is expected by the View.
Kristian Nicht has been called up from Indy Eleven to replace Evan Bush as the goalkeeper for the Impact ahead of their tie. While he is a proven veteran with years of experience playing in Europe, Montreal are unable to get their preferred choice, Sean Johnson, due to the rules stated by the league:
INTRALEAGUE LOANS: Teams may loan a player to another MLS team subject to the following:
(i) The player must be 24 years old or younger at the time of the loan.
(ii) Each MLS team may only loan one player per season.
(iii) The loan must be initiated during the Primary Transfer Window.
(iv) The player must remain with his new team for the entire MLS Season.
(v) Players may not compete against their former Team during the MLS Season while on loan (includes MLS games and all other competitions).
(vi) Intraleague loans may include an option to make permanent.
Essentially these loans put the Impact at a disadvantage, forcing them to go out of the league and cherry-pick a goalkeeper from the NASL to fill in. Alternately, this could be seen as a massive opportunity for Nicht to potentially play some MLS soccer long-term and be signed by the Impact should he be able to will Montreal to the biggest victory in the club’s short yet long history.
Thus, the Impact are at a crossroads and will have more to gain from this Big Wednesday encounter tomorrow night. With the Canadiens still playing hockey, it’s sure to be a massive week for sports in La Belle Province. Here is the Galaxy’s training schedule for this week.
Galaxy Training Schedule (All times Pacific)
|Tuesday, April 28||TEAM OFF|
|Wednesday, April 29||10 a.m.||StubHub Center – University Field #1|
|Thursday, April 30||10 a.m.||StubHub Center – University Field #1|
|Friday, May 1||10 a.m.||StubHub Center – University Field #1|
|Saturday, May 2||7:30 p.m. PT||MLS Regular Season: LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids (TV: Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes; Radio: The Beast 980, ESPN 1330 AM)StubHub Center|
|Sunday, May 3||TEAM OFF|
|Monday, May 4||10 a.m.||StubHub Center – University Field #1|