The Montreal Impact shut out the Real Estelí, the Nicaraguan champion club 1-0 (halftime 1-0), Wednesday at Saputo Stadium, in its first game of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Impact midfielder Joey Gjertsen scored the winning goal at the 42nd minute.
"We won this game by putting pressure on the Real Esteli," said Impact coach John Limniatis. To beat us, they will now need to score three goals during the return game. This win gives us the latitude either to make a tie over there or score to take a more comfortable lead. Even though we didn't play well tonight, we were nevertheless a better team on the field."
The Impact dominated the Real Estelí 24-14 in shots on goal. Impact goalkeeper Matt Jordan registered the shutout for the Impact.
The second game to move to the group phase will be played Tuesday, September 2 at Carlos Miranda Stadium, in Comayagua, Honduras, since no stadium in Nicaragua met FIFA standards.