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
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.
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.”
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.