It was a little bit of a surreal experience. Marc Dos Santos, former Montreal Impact coach, was stuck in the Clarke Stadium press box. Now the coach of the Ottawa Fury, he was suspended for the second leg of his team’s Amway Canadian Championship series against FC Edmonton, so he was stuck in the booth next to our broadcast position.
There was still a little less than an hour to go before the kickoff of the Canadian Championship match. In the tiny press box’s tight hallway, I fired up my laptop, perched it on a ledge, and logged into my Sportsnet account so I could watch the second half of the CONCACAF Champions League final. Dos Santos came out and joined me; we hunched over the computer screen and watched Club America’s four-goal second half rampage, as the Mexican giants went on their way to a 4-2 second-leg win. Argentine Dario Benedetto got a hat trick for America, but the story was how the Mexican giants simply exploded in the second half. It was like when you were a kid, and the one player who was so much better than everyone else warns “OK, I am really gonna try, now.”
It felt as if Club America were instructed to play possum through the first leg and the second leg’s first half; for the good of CONCACAF, please keep it close. Then, well, in the final 45, go ahead an illustrate the gulf in talent between a bottom-table MLS side and an elite Liga MX club.
The Impact and MLS did all they could do; surgery was conducted on the Impact’s domestic schedule so the club would have weekends off leading up to and during the CCL final. The Impact had bye weekends, while Club America had no such advantages. While the Impact spent the weekend prepping for the second leg of the final, Club America had a Sunday match against its fiercest rival, Chivas. That gave the Mexican side little time to get to Montreal and get used to the turf.
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