CONCACAF Champions League: Montreal collapses as Santos Laguna completes stunning comeback


When Eduardo Sebrango scored the second goal for the Montreal Impact in the first half of their CONCACAF Champions League second-leg match against Santos Laguna, it sure felt like a game-winner.

The 37th-minute tally made the score 2-1, and 4-1 overall lead that had Montreal fans thinking about the semifinals.

Then the second half happened.

Santos Laguna scored four unanswered goals, including two in stoppage time, cap a miraculous comeback and eliminate Montreal from the Champions League with a 5-2 victory and 5-4 series victory on Thursday night.

The Impact can look in the mirror for blame as its exciting attacking style went out the window in favor of an ultra-defensive approach that made Montreal's defense an easy target for Santos' sharp passing and decisive finishing.

Here are all seven goals (you might want to turn away if you are a Montreal fan):

The loss means that the Puerto Rico Islanders are all alone in the Champions League semifinals against three Mexican clubs, with Cruz Azul the first opponent for them in the semis (Santos Laguna will face Atlante).

As for Montreal, the Impact will look back on a golden opportunity wasted and a historic collapse that won't soon be forgotten.

What did you think of the match? Still in disbelief? Are you an MLS fan reveling in the Impact's misery? Did the Montreal coach cost his team the game?

Share your thoughts below.

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66 Responses to CONCACAF Champions League: Montreal collapses as Santos Laguna completes stunning comeback

  1. CelicaCrazed says:

    Oh I can’t wait for Montreal to come back to Toronto!! This is all just too great ahaha!! A choke and a half!!

  2. Cy43 says:

    That was just stupid. Montreal should be ashamed of themselves as far as I’m concerned. Sure its a tough environment and Santos is a good team, but 3 goals in the last 10 mins? They weren’t defending they were standing on their side of half for 45 mins waiting to see if Santos could score 4.


  3. jtd says:

    i find myself really pulling for the islanders. i have to admit, the usl’s success in the tournament has made me pay attention. i will for sure be attending many a Thunder match this summer to pay even more attention. kudos usl. although, i must admit to not being too fond of montreal.

  4. RedLine55 says:

    that match was CRAAAAAZY! or loco, i should say. They played their hearts out, that’s for sure. how would you like to go out for a few outside the stadium after THAT. Fiesta fiesta.

  5. chris says:

    Montreal was a joke in the second half. Just shocking…

  6. Matt R says:

    I’m sick to my stomach at the display Montreal showed in the 2nd half. 4 goals in the 2nd half, maybe they should have at least attempted some possesion in the 2nd half.

  7. Ed says:

    But but….the USL can do no wrong, they are invincible!!1!

  8. CrispyST3 says:

    Im reallllllyyy pissed, wat da helll???? wowwwwww, i’d rather see US based teams in the tounament than any mexican team any day, and montreal just screwed it all up

  9. Peter says:

    crispy, this may come as a newsflash, but montreal isn’t in the us.

  10. Peter says:

    unless that was a joke, which i sincerely hope.

  11. Really unfortunate in my mind. Montreal’s run was a great story and I would have loved to see them continue on. Still, it’s their own fault for their sloppy play in the second half.

  12. brentmcd says:

    heartbreak city for montreal. they definitely looked rattled towards the end of the game and could not hold possession to save their lives. way too many giveaways in their own half. i can understand going into a defensive shell, but that was a bit ridiculous. very sad for montreal. mucha fiesta para santos. si se pudo

  13. Ossington Mental Youth says:





  14. AlexS says:

    Are you sure it isn’t Atlante/Santos and Cruz Azul/Islanders?

    link to

    I gotta say, it feels good to not be the only team that got burned for sloppy defensive play away from home. I didn’t think any of montreal’s play (even when they won at home) looked too good. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, looked really good home and away. I’m cheering for the Islanders all the way, they play some good soccer.

  15. Sterlinho says:

    I was stunned by that game. Totally crazy. I guess the only team left for me to root for is Puerto Rico. Go Islanders!

  16. Mark says:

    Stunning. Absolutely Stunning.

  17. Micronesia Justin says:

    WHAT? I left after the 2-1 lead…thought it was over. Wow. That sucks and I’m not even a USL guy…

  18. Geoff says:

    I’m a toronto fan, but I was all for canada on this day. it was a great story with a tragic collapse, but let’s face it montreal greatly overachieved in that tie and should be proud of their effort.

    …having said that, that was one of the most unbelievable matches i’ve ever watched. maybe the most unbelievable.

  19. Jason says:

    Montreal looked like a house league team in the 2nd half…..embarrassing…. O WELL!!

  20. Jon says:

    Not such a shock. As a Galaxy fan, I seem to remember a similar playoff collapse in the second leg a few years back….

  21. Ted Tran says:

    I also turned it off after the 2-1, pissed me off when i saw the score at the end.

  22. Ryan G says:

    Montreal is part of the US?

    Learn something new every day…

  23. Hopper says:

    Wow. I had turned the game off at halftime thinking Montreal had it in the bag. I come back from an night out at the bar and what? Every goal Santos scored in the second half was in the penalty area! Just horrible defending! The Impact have no one to blame but themselves. You would think two goals at home and two away goals would be more than enough to wrap it all up. Good grief. What a choke job.

  24. Nick says:

    Montreal completely abandoned what they knew best: offense. It was a real shame and like Ives said, they have to only look in the mirror to blame. The poor keeper too… He wasn’t the best on the field, but when Santos has a chance to basically pick a corner to shoot at, he clearly had ZERO chance to make a difference.

  25. Dave N says:

    Can someone please explain to me how Santos could have left that guy Quintero out of the starting lineup? He was amazing.

  26. Charlie N. says:

    Unlike alot of the posters here I didnt put the match on until half time. Montreal looked like they were an over 40 league, while Santos were awesome. I was pulling for the Impact and on paper, what was the chance, even with their bad play, that they would give up 4 goals in a half. Monumental collapse, but from a mainly neutral standpoint, thrilling viewing.

  27. Hood_Rich says:

    Stunning game! Almost as good as the Houston-Pachuca series from few years ago that ended 5-4 for Pachuca on aggregate. I think Houston was leading heading into that game also. But congrats to Montreal for getting that far !

  28. Chase says:

    Question: Does the CONCACAF CL have an away goals rule in these two-leg match-ups?

  29. Eric K says:

    As much as I’m not a fan of Mexican teams and definitely not Sanchez, this result is hilarious.

  30. andy says:

    Great game. But got to admit FMF is class of concacaf club

  31. brett says:

    chase- yea i thought i heard the dynamo coach on FSC talk about how they are finally incorporating away goals into the picture… or is that next year??

  32. Eugene says:

    How embarrassing for Montreal, to have the series in hand and let it slip away like that. I feel sorry for their fans.

  33. White Kix says:

    Note to Montreal, mark up on the black guy.

  34. KCB says:

    Watched most of the 2nd half. Montreal just ran out of steam. Santos was pushing and Montreal’s heavy legs couldn’t keep up and they final cracked. If Montreal (or MLS) was in season, I would think the quarterfinal round would/could have looked completely different.

    And I think PR Islanders got arguably the easiest opponent= NOT a Mexican club. Good luck in the Semis PRI, I’ll be rooting for ya.

  35. mighty! says:

    ultimate fail!

  36. Peen Us says:

    I went to bed after the first half. It actually seems like a wise course of action after hearing this.

  37. northzax says:

    yes, there are away goals. however, away goals only come into play when the total goals scored in the series is equal. had that 93rd minute goal not been scored, and that game ended 4-2, with a 4-4 aggregate, Montreal would have won with the two away goals.

    so the potential score breakdown for last night would have been:

    any montreal win or a tie: Impact win
    0-0 tie: impact win
    1-0 Santos: Impact win
    2-0 Santos: penalties
    2-1 Santos: Impact win
    3-1 Santos: Impact win
    4-1 Santos: Santos win
    4-2 Santos: Impact win
    5-2 Santos: Santos win.

    basically, going into the game, Santos had to win by AT LEAST three goals to win the series, no matter how many Montreal scored.

  38. northzax says:

    still, damn good cup run. up until the final 25 minutes or so, this was a team that was maximizing every opportunity and minimizing mistakes. then they tried to play all Italian, and it went south. This one falls straight on lack of experience playing elimination games in hostile territory.

  39. Scott C from Buff says:

    Wow shocking! I fell asleep when it was 2-2 (around 70 minute?)

    I have to say Montreal did not look too bad up to that point; keeping some possession and getting some chances on the counter. But Santos has some firepower…maybe the competition, but that was the best attacking Mexican side I’ve seen…

    Nobody has made any excuses, so I will :) I’m sure their pre-season fitness had something to do with the collapse at the end. Never the less, a good run by the USL team…

  40. Cam says:

    I’d consider this a bigger collapse than the 1999 Champions League final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. At least Montreal had a 3 goal cushion. Bayern was only up 1 goal.

  41. Kevin says:

    I’m always cheering against mexican clubs so the Montreal loss was pretty painful to watch. Luckily I went to bed and only had to watch on youtube. I am definitely pulling for PR Islanders to win it all.

  42. Will says:

    Unfortunate end to a great run but Santos was not playing well in the Mexican league and I think Atlante would have been a much taller order for the Impact anway. Montreal and Puerto Rico have set the bar higher for both MLS and USL teams to follow in this tournament.

  43. Kartik says:

    Just when I thought the break through for clubs from a US based league on Mexican soil was a done deal……………………….

    The altitude really got Montreal at the end as did the lack of command that Jordan had over his box. He spilled too many balls and the Brown/Braz switch was a mistake because the Impact had no outlet man when they cleared the ball.

  44. Michael Vann says:

    The collapse sucks. Quite shocking. I’ve been reading about the match all morning. It’s a shame I didn’t get to see it. It sounds like an amazing, climatic match. I was rooting for Montreal and for the USL. I could never bring myself to root for a Mexican club. Now my focus will shift to Puerto Rico. I pray they can pull off the upset. I couldn’t be happier for the USL sides they certainly raised the bar and furthered expectations for both MLS and USL next year.

  45. NoName says:

    Excellent game no matter who won. I was pulling for the Impact so that I could hold up my USL #1 sign at all MLS games this year.

    Now I can’t.

    But, did you see that comeback? Me and my wife both knew it was going to happen after Santos scored the 3rd goal. Excellent entertainment

  46. Miguel says:

    I watched the game and was pulling for Montreal. It’s quite too bad that the Montreal coach decided to go all defensive in the second half, as Montreal looked great in the first. Also, a bit of bad luck when Montreal didn’t get the penalty against Brown awarded in the second half (I thought the ref should have given it). But two goals in stoppage time??? Jesus, that was just a monumental collapse. Not quite as bad as the Bayern Munchen collapse against Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League Final, but monumental nonetheless.

  47. zoran says:

    funny thing is, that I was watching and for some reason nervously anticipating this kind of crazy ending. You could see that Montreal could no longer string together 2-3 passes and that it would only be brave defending and luck to see them through.

  48. Jim says:

    “…the altitude really got Montreal at the end as did the lack of command that Jordan had over his box…”

    Posted by: Kartik | March 06, 2009 at 09:50 AM

    The game was played in Torreon, not Mexico City. Altitude is not a problem as it lies lower than Mexico City.

  49. Rob C says:

    I’m glad this happened, because I was getting quite sick of some of these Montreal fans getting on their not-so-high USL horses and saying “Who needs MLS. MLS Will collapse in 5 years anyway” blahblahblah.

    Yeahhh, nice job. I guess the L’Impact remembered that they are a SECOND DIVISION SIDE. SECOND DIVISION ATHLETES, SECOND DIVISION COACH, FIRST-CLASS FAILURE.

    The better team won last night. That’s tough for me to admit, because I am NO FAN of the Mexican League either. But the snarky attitude of some Montreal fans over the past couple of weeks has been unbearable.

    They may be waiting a while before they’re back into this tournament again. They just choked away their best opportunity at glory.

  50. wykell says:

    I could care less about either team, and think that the comeback was amazing. However, am I the only one who sees that the player in the final goal was at least 3 feet offside when the ball was played? it seems more than a little suspect to me (unless there was a player not involved outside the screen).

  51. Zoti says:

    This match, just like any other Mex-US based clash, had that Chronicle of a Death Foretold air about it. You know it’ll happen and it’s just a matter of time.

    It’s happened to Houston, it’s happpened to Dc and now Montreal. It’ll be this way for another 10 years at least as long as Mex teams get to play the secong leg at home in front of their crazy hinchas.

  52. Casey C. says:

    Just curious, wasn’t he offside on the last goal?

  53. Steve says:

    I was rooting for Montreal (and Puerto Rico) this week despite the idiots on these boards that somwhow equated the two teams runs to USL superiority over MLS.

    The teams played a combined two games versus MLS teams in their respective runs (Montreal’s two games v. Toronto (who just happened to be the 3rd worst team in MLS last year in that silly little Canadian tourney).

    Every year the MLS teams play USL teams in the US Open Cup and every year (accept one) an MLS team has come out on top.

    When a Championship team makes a run in the FA Cup is it suddenly better than the Premiership? When Porto won the CL a few years back was Potugal the best league in Europe?

    I hope the USL enjoyed its littlf self created, delusions of grandeur run in the sun. But its over.

    That being said go Islanders, I’ll be cheering for you.

  54. madmax says:

    Put some perspective on this. Mexico is celebrating beating a USL team in extra time. Who would have guessed.

  55. artie says:

    So does anyone see the trend

    i can name many games in the past ten years where US league based clubs blew their chance:

    KC vs Saprissa losing the game in overtime, in the champions cup going up 1 nil late in the game and blowing it, (they bunkered at the end)

    LA vs Saprissa same thing losing the game in overtime after having a two goal lead.(bunkered at the end It literally killed our GM.)

    Houston vs Pachuca
    Houston goes down to Mexico two goal lead blows it as well(although had the away goal rule been in place Houston would have gone through) still they let four goals in. i think Houston tried to Bunker

    DC vs Universidad Catholica
    Not a dc fan but man that one was Painful
    up 2 nil as well lose the game in the dying Minutes.Not sure if they bunkered at the end but they sure werent attacking.

    Add last nights game to the list and I even called it my friends thought i was joking but having watched all the other games i listed the recipe was the same. Wave after wave after wave of attack and the defense basically being overwhelmed. I walked away when it was 3-2 because I knew Santos would win it in the dying minutes.

  56. Dave N says:

    The foul on Brown by the keeper should have been a penalty. But then again, there should have been a penalty called against Montreal’s left back later on.


  57. garbaggio says:

    Not such a shock. As a Galaxy fan, I seem to remember a similar playoff collapse in the second leg a few years back….

    Posted by: Jon


    I was reminded of that game, too. But the result last night has to be surprising to anyone who watched the whole game. Surely Montreal, couldn’t be eliminated after their 2-1 halftime lead meant Santos needed FOUR 2nd half goals.

    Both the Donovan-era SJ comeback and last night’s Santos comeback will be remembered because of their improbable nature.

    Highly entertaining!

  58. christian says:


    Only Santos fans are celebrating their win and I don’t need to remind you that there are three Mexican teams in the semis.

    People in Mexico aren’t as fickle and usually don’t support rival clubs in international tourneys.

    That’s left up to some MLS fans and their gaping need for international acceptance, a category in which you are king my friend.

  59. Chris says:

    i’m not a Montreal fan, but i just hate mexican teams so this was a complete disappointment. the Impact should really be ashamed of their display. simply pathetic. i don’t even feel bad for them because they were just crap.

  60. Kartik says:

    Yeah my bad- Torreon is lower than Mexico City of Guadalajara.

    This was a terrible collapse. The snotty MLS fans saying they are happy obviosuly aren’t from the South. I’ve traded emails and had a few comments on my blog the last few days with southern fans who’ve said they’ve never seen the Dynamo or DC United play in person yet have seen Montreal and Puerto Rico many times in person and thus those are the teams they have been rooting for in this tournament from the beginning.

    While I don’t personally care for either the MLS snobism or the USL exclusive fan, I can understand their point of view.

  61. Kartik says:

    Add last nights game to the list and I even called it my friends thought i was joking but having watched all the other games i listed the recipe was the same. Wave after wave after wave of attack and the defense basically being overwhelmed. I walked away when it was 3-2 because I knew Santos would win it in the dying minutes.


    I almost did the same thing after the third goal thinking “here we go again, time for bed.” Instead I deluded myself into saying this Santos team isn’t as good as Pachuca and Saprissa and that Montreal is better than those LA or Houston teams.

    Of course it was just the same script again.

  62. Tim says:


    Houston scored two goals of its own in that Pachuca game, hardly bunkering. Pachuca, at the time, was the best team in North America. But thanks for correctly pointing out that Houston would have advanced on away goals.

  63. ERic says:

    wykell, I wondered about that as well. Plus the goal was scored in the 5th minute of extra time. Not that I watched. Maybe it was a reasonable amount of extra time. But going on history, I would not be surprised if the time was a little excessive, and the player a little offside.

    Still, that’s a lot of goals to give up. Sorry that it happened.

    Then again, it makes for another exciting story, and improves the legend of the tournament.

  64. Marc Silverstein says:

    the good folks at CONCALAFF must be crying over missing another crowd of 55K+

  65. chg says:

    Christian, just keep displaying that arrogance while everyone else watches Mexico desperately fight to keep from slipping behind the Central American minnows in the CONCACAF pecking order.

  66. DAVID says:

    all i have to say is that as much as it hurts all you losers the mexican league is the best in the region.