April 22, 2015 2:04 pm
Updated: April 22, 2015 7:32 pm

Montreal Impact eyes Champions League glory in Mexico City


MONTREAL — On Wednesday night, the Montreal Impact is facing its biggest game since joining Major League Soccer when it takes on Mexican powerhouse Club America in the Estadio Azteca in the CONCACAF Champions League final.

The Impact are already only the second MLS team — and the first Canadian club — to reach the finals of North America’s top club soccer tournament.

The tournament follows a home-and-away format.

The team who wins with the most goals after two games wins the Champions League.

In the event of equal goals, the first tie-breaker is decided on away goals scored, meaning the Impact have their work cut out for them.

Estadio Azteca is a notoriously difficult place to play and the largest soccer stadium in the Americas with a capacity of more than 100,000.

America’s fans wave the club’s flags upon their arrival to the Azteca stadium to watch the season’s final soccer match of the Mexican league against Cruz Azul in Mexico City, Mexico, Sunday, May 26, 2013.

Eduardo Verdugo/AP Photo/The Canadian Press

The unique format of the tournament means the Impact’s path to the finals have been marked by close calls and wild finishes.

In its last pair of games, it advanced over Costa Rican power Alajuelense, splitting each contest but barely edging the team on away goals scored.

The first leg the Impact won at home 2-0.

The second leg it dropped 4-2 in Costa Rica, but two away goals ensured the Impact advanced to the finals.

Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti

The Canadian Press

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As unique an achievement as its tournament success has been, the team’s path to get there was even more unlikely.

The Impact slogged through a forgettable 2014 season — finishing dead last in the MLS.

READ MORE: Montreal Impact become first Canadian team to advance to CONCACAF final

It snagged a berth in the Champions League tournament by winning the Canadian Championship — which only involves two other MLS clubs.

Finishing last season with a record of 6-18-10, the team’s owner Joey Saputo emphasized success in the tournament as a way to salvage the campaign.

CONCACAF is the soccer confederation that governs all the countries in North America, from Canada to Panama and including the Caribbean.

The first leg kicks off at 9 p.m.

The second leg of the Champions League Finals is scheduled for April 29 at the Olympic Stadium.

The Impact have already announced tickets for that game are sold out.

Fans have taken to social media to share their excitement about the upcoming match.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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