I am in favor of #MLS4Montreal (Steve Toto):
Everyone loves a good underdog story and this is one hell of a story. The Montreal Impact are one home game away from winning the CONCACAF Champions League over the much-hated Club America. In 2014, the Impact came in dead last in the whole MLS, even lower than a Chivas USA squad that was disbanded after the season was over. The Impact have scratched and clawed every step of the way of their CCL journey; they almost never made it. Multiple times.
In the semis of the Canadian Championships, they needed a 97th minute PK to beat FC Edmonton. In the final, they also scored in stoppage against Toronto FC, advancing them into CCL.
They were paired into a group with the New York Red Bulls, who were the reigning Supporter's Shield holders. After grabbing 4 points from two games with the Baby Bulls (RBNY backups) and the winning their group, they were matched up with Mexican side, Pachuca in the quarterfinals. After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, they scored in the 94th minute in the second leg to bring the aggregate to 3-3 and advanced on the controversial away goals rule.
In the semifinals, they ALSO needed the away goals rule since the aggregate scored against Costa Rican side Alajulense ended 4-4. Young star striker Cameron Porter was lost the rest of season with a torn ACL, who scored the 94th minute winner against Pachuca.
This is not the 2014 Seattle Sounders walking all over their competition and being one game away from winning the US Treble. I could see MLS fans not wanting to jump on that bandwagon. This is the Montreal Impact. They have barely squeaked by in almost every single game leading up to this point. They have been bad, very bad, since they have moved from NASL into MLS. MLS and its supporters are craving a team like this.
We haven't had a MLS representative in the CCL Finals since Real Salt Lake in 2008. We haven't had a team win this tournament since the LA Galaxy FIFTEEN YEARS AGO (it was called the Champions' Cup at the time). And no MLS team has ever made the FIFA Club . MLS 3.0 is upon us and we should all have pride in the strides made in our 20-year history. We actually sent a team to the CCL Finals with all of the MLS regulations in play: no free agency, $3.1M salary cap, allocation rankings, etc. We should all be proud of that. It's time that our league makes a statement and stops the Mexican clubs dead in their tracks.
Montreal went into a hostile environment at Stadio Azteca, in front of 105,000 fans. I would bet that at least 104,850 of those fans were wearing BIMBO jerseys. They were able to get a 1-1 result. With laser pointers blinding them, racial slurs being spout and a horrible ref that didn't give a red card when Dominic Oduro had a clear breakaway to put them up 2-0. They seem to have the upper hand on Club America in the second leg of the finals.
If this final leg ends 0-0, they'll win by away goals for the third time. And dare I say it, qualify for October's Club World Cup in Japan. How could you not root for a team like this? We should all be singing "Allez Montréal!"
I don't like the idea of #MLS4Montreal but I hate Club America so go Montreal (Aaron Bauer):
In sporting events that become one-off playoffs not involving my favorite teams I always root for CHAOS.
Chaos makes sports fun. An 8-seed sweeping a 1-seed? Sign me up every day you possibly could. A 7-9 team winning the Superbowl is my dream. I love it more than anything when good teams have their flaws exacerbated and just come up short in the limelight.
The Montreal Impact are not good team. They aren't going to challenge for any MLS silverware this season, and should never have even been in the CONCACAF Champions League. Many fans forget a 97th minute dubious penalty got Montreal into the finals of the 2014 Canadian Championship, which some would argue makes the run more impressive. I disagree. If getting into a tournament based on refereeing is impressive than I've got some awards for the Revolution (har har har).
What is impressive is the teams that Montreal has managed to get through: Pachula, Alajuelense and a 90 minute draw with Club America in Estadio Azteca. This has been a damn fun run, which has included some truly spectacular goals: I'm looking at you Cameron Porter.
Club America is a very powerful and big Liga MX team. They will win many titles there, and in the future will win another CONCACAF Champions League (to go with their 5 titles already). It's Montreal's turn to be a future trivia answer on a 2025 MLS broadcast.
Plus, having the Montreal Impact be the only MLS representative to date at a Club World Cup would be amazing, and do nothing for the future of MLS clubs trying to win the CCL. It is truly a one-off miracle that I will embrace.
#MLS4Montreal is stupid and I hate it (Jason Iapicco):
"One for all, all for one!" (Un pour tous, tous pour un) That's the rallying cry of MLS. Wait, no, that's not right. It was the Three Musketeers. Sorry, the french translation threw me off. This whole MLS4Montreal thing is stupid. I support the New York Red Bulls, which means I support, somewhat, Major League Soccer. However, it doesn't mean I have to support MLS as a whole.
Don't get me wrong, I want the league to be strong because it means the Red Bulls will stick around. The Montreal Impact winning the CONCACAF Champions League though, does nothing for me.
There's no value in it as a Red Bulls fan. Do I want to be reminded about how the MLS Playoffs were prioritized last year, allowing Montreal to get past the group stage? No, I do not. Do the Red Bulls get anything for Montreal winning? Ha, that's laughable. Montreal gets some mystical allocation money, but we Red Bull fans get nothing. I mean, we already stole Felipe Martins and an allocation spot from them for the disappearing Oyongo. We drew as much blood from that stone as possible.
I'll give Montreal credit, getting that far is no easy task, especially having to play in a packed Azteca, but I'm expected to throw my support behind them? Hell no, that's not how fandom works. I want what's best for my team. If it doesn't help me, then I don't care. I don't need to support them because of some silly "MLS brotherhood" kind of thing. It's not like they qualify through MLS anyway!
Montreal winning won't prove anything aside from Montreal knew how to play the CONCACAF game while possibly sacrificing both it's 2014 & 2015 MLS seasons to achieve it. Good on them for playing the game, but if it doesn't help RBNY, then I don't have to support it.