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Concacaf Champions League match preview: CF Montréal vs. Santos Laguna

Santos brings a 1-0 lead and their best stretch of play so far to Montréal and the historic Stade Olympique.

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A general view of Olympic Stadium before the United States takes on Germany in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Semi-Final Match at Olympic Stadium on June 30, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Game: Club de Foot Montréal vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.

Date: Wednesday, February 23rd

Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Stade Olympique (Montréal, Que.)

Referees: REF: JUAN GABRIEL CALDERON, AR1: JUAN CARLOS MORA, AR2: WILLIAM ARRIETA, 4TH: WILLIAM ANDERSON, VAR: CHRIS PENSO, AVAR: GUIDO GONZALES

Television: United States - TUDN; Mexico - FOX Sports; Canada - OneSoccer

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), TUDN En Vivo, FOX Sports app, OneSoccer (Subscription), Vidgo (Subscription)

All-time record: Santos has won twice while Montréal has won once in their three meetings, including Santos’ 1-0 win last week in Torreón. Prior to that, the clubs faced off back in the 2008-09 Concacaf Champions League when Montréal were the Montréal Impact and in the United Soccer League, the second division in the United States. Santos lost the first leg at Stade Saputo in Montréal 2-0 but beat Montréal 5-2 in the old Estadio Corona in Torreón to advance. Santos lost in the next round to Atlante 4-3.

Carlos Acevedo, goalkeeper of Santos controls the ball during the 6th round match between FC Juarez and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Olimpico Benito Juarez on February 18, 2022 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
After a shaky start, Carlos Acevedo and the Santos defense hasn’t allowed a goal in their last two games.
Photo by Alvaro Avila/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos Laguna is at a crossroads. After a dismal start to their season losing four Liga MX games in a row, they picked up a win at home against CF Montréal in Concacaf Champions League play on Tuesday and gutted out a 0-0 draw on the road against FC Juárez on Friday. After giving up 13 goals in their first five games in 2022, Santos has now had back-to-back shutouts. They’ll now try to capitalize on that momentum to advance past Montréal in the second leg tomorrow night.

They’ll play inside the Stade Olympique, the building that hosted the 1976 Olympics as well as the Montréal Expos during their day. While CF Montréal usually plays next door at the open-air Stade Saputo, current forecasts are calling for temperatures to plummet to near 0 Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) so both teams will be dodging a bullet by playing indoors on the turf.

The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday, February 22nd but “for safety reasons, no event (at Stade Olympique) can be held in the venue if the weather forecast calls for more than three centimetres of snow or three millimetres of sleet.”

Fernando Gorriaran (L) of Santos fights for the ball with Victor Wanyama (R) of Montreal during a round of sixteen first leg match between Santos Laguna and Montreal as part of the CONCACAF Champions League 2022 at Corona Stadium on February 15, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
CF Montréal’s Victor Wanyama had an excellent game against Santos in the first leg.
Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Despite it being indoors, Montréal will still have the home field advantage, playing in front of their fans. They also looked good in the first match in Torreón despite it being their first official match of the year and didn’t have a weekend match. Despite his team not scoring a goal, midfielder Victor Wanyama showed his good vision and ability to control the midfield. Goalkeeper Sebastian Breza also had a good game, making seven saves and just missing out on a clean sheet despite facing 26 shots, eight of which were on target.

Montréal did best when playing small ball, connecting on less than half of their long balls forward and none of their crosses. They may however try more of those in the climate controlled stadium, and playing on turf is always an experience for teams that play most of their games on natural grass (Santos’ only matches on turf are away games at Tijuana).

Santos will want to score a goal since the away goals rule is in effect, essentially forcing Montréal to score three in order to advance. The winner will face the winner of the series between Cruz Azul and the Canadian Premier League’s Forge FC.