Two of the best 8 teams in the CONCACAF meet tonight!
The fabulous Puerto Rico Islanders will host the mighty Montreal Impact tonight at Juan Ramón Loubriel stadium, in what could have been a USL-dream final to the 2008-09 Champions League (CCL).
The Islanders and Impact had impressive runs in the 1st ever CCL, reaching the semifinals and quarterfinals of the tournament respectively, before sucumbing to Mexico’s height, to “giants” that were proven mortal at sea level (Montreal is only 187 feet above sea level). Both USL teams had their Mexican opponents on the ropes after posting ‘2-0‘ first-leg wins at home respectively, but the two were unable to deliver the final knockout punch.
The Islanders were leading Cruz Azul 3-2 (aggregate score) in the 2nd-leg of their CCL-Semifinal at Mexico City early in Overtime, before falling 2-4 in a penalty shootout (3-3 after OT); while the Impact were leading Santos Laguna 4-3 (aggregate score) in the 2nd-leg of their CCL-Quartefinal in Torreón at the end of regular time (90′), before crumbling to two Santos goals that saw the Montrealers drop 4-5 from the tournament in the few added extra minutes (90+).
In the USL front, the Impact have an overwhelming alltime 10-4-0 [W-T-L] record over the Islanders; although most of that lead is against the pre-championship-contender shape Puerto Rican team. Between 2004-06 the Impact were undefeated with a 7-2-0 record over the Islanders.
But the 2007 USL-Semifinalist and 2008 USL-Finalist Islanders were a much better match for the Impact. In 2007-08 the Islanders went 2-2-3 [W-T-L] against the Montrealers, including the 2007 ‘3-0′ USL-Quarterfinal win at Bayamón that pushed the Islanders to the Semifinals (against the Seattle Sounders) with a 3-2 aggregate score.
This will be the third game for each team in the young 2009 USL season. The Islanders are undefeated with 1-1-0 [W-T-L] record so far, while the Impact is winless with a 0-1-1 record in 2 games.
Starting with 2009 the USL can boast they have 3-Top-Class CONCACAF matches within their regular season schedule. The MLS can’t say that.