Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impact Face Earthquakes with Much at Stake in CONCACAF Champions League

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impact Face Earthquakes with Much at Stake in CONCACAF Champions League

Article excerpt

Impact look to take Champions League control

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MONTREAL - Much is at stake in the CONCACAF Champions League when the Montreal Impact take on the Earthquakes in San Jose.

If they win their meeting on Tuesday night, the Impact will be in the driver's seat when they close out group stage play Sept. 24 at home against CD Heredia of Guatemala.

If they lose, or even draw, their future in the tournament becomes dicey.

"It's going to be tough," said midfielder Davy Arnaud. "It's a long trip, a long flight and they're a good team.

"But we're ready. We know how big Tuesday's game is."

CD Heredia leads the group with six points, posting 1-0 victories at home against both Montreal and San Jose. The Impact is second with three points from a 1-0 home win over the Earthquakes. San Jose has two losses, but has yet to play at home.

The first-place team advances to the quarter-finals in March.

It will be a test on many levels for Montreal, which will play only three days after blowing a lead in a 2-1 defeat at home to Columbus in Major League Soccer play.

There is the six-hour flight to the west coast to contend with, and jet lag may be a factor as the game starts at 10 p.m. ET.

One question is how many veterans coach Marco Schallibaum will use after fielding all of his first 11 against Columbus, and how much 30-somethings like defenders Matteo Ferrari and Alessandro Nesta, midfielder Patrice Bernier and striker Marco Di Vaio will be able to play.

When naming his lineup, Schallibaum must also consider that they have a league game to play Saturday at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Impact management wants to do well in the Champions League. They recall the international recognition the team got when it reached the quarter-finals in 2009 and drew 55,571 fans to a match against Mexico's Santos Laguna at Olympic Stadium.

"The club definitely puts a lot of emphasis on winning it," said midfielder Collen Warner. "It does great things for the club _ a lot of good press, a lot of exposure. …

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