Ex-West Ham and Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker leads MLS club to verge of history

Nigel Reo Coker

The Montreal Impact's stand-in captain has helped his side to the brink of becoming the first-ever Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Ex-West Ham United and Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker could be about to make history with the Montreal Impact after Wednesday night’s 2-0 home win over Costa Rican outfit Alajuelense put his side on the verge of becoming the first-ever Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final.

First-half goals from Ignacio Piatti and Victor Cabrera in the first-leg of their semi-final tie leave the MLS club in the driving seat ahead of the return match at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto on April 7, when a repeat performance of last month’s 2-2 quarter-final draw at Mexican giants Pachuca should be more than enough to see them through.

Having qualified through their 2014 Canadian Championship win, Montreal’s remarkable run to the CCL’s final four looks all the more impressive when taking into account that the club finished dead-last in the 2014 MLS regular-season standings, leading to a significant roster overhaul in the months following.

Reo-Coker, 30, was one of those brought in to provide some much-needed experience and he has so far proved a real bargain, captaining them in their first four games of the season with usual skipper Patrice Bernier out of the line-up.

The former England Under-21 international has moved around MLS since joining the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2013, getting traded to the now-defunct Chivas USA in August, before the Impact picked him up in December’s Waiver Draft, but it looks like he could be set to become an important part of an historic moment for his new team.

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