The Montreal Impact closed out the USSF D2 regular season by defeating the Austin Aztex, 2-0, Sunday afternoon at Saputo Stadium. The Aztex’ loss leaves the Rochester Rhinos to claim the number one USSF D2 playoff berth for 2010 and the USL Conference title. The Carolina RailHawks won the NASL Conference title and are seeded second. Austin gets the third seed, and will remain in Montreal to open the playoffs Wednesday against the sixth-seeded Impact.
Montreal’s win lifted the club over the .500 mark for the season, as the Impact ended with a 12-11-7 record. Marc Dos Santos squad won six of their last seven matches by an aggregate score of 16-3. Austin slumped at the end of a brilliant season, getting only one win in their last six matches, but it’s a sign of the lead they build early on that despite a poor September and October they finished second in the league in total points, only one slim point behind regular season champion Rochester. Austin tripled their 2009 win total this year.
The actual match today seemed almost anti-climatic, although a large crowd of over 12,600 at Saputo Stadium were delighted with the result. Both coaches rested key players, but Austin looked relatively flat throughout the game, especially after forward Randi Patterson was red-carded in the 20th minute. Having played a tough match in Carolina on Friday night, the Aztex displayed little of the offensive flair that has been their hallmark in 2010. The Impact. eager to please their crowd, scored the only goal they need six minutes after Patterson’s ejection, as Frenchman Anthony Le Gall scored his first goal in an Impact uniform on a shot from the right of goal, with an assist on a long pass by defender Patrick Leduc. Montreal dominated possession throughout the match as Austin played without leading scorers Eddie Johnson, Jamie Watson and Maxwell Griffin (Griffin made a brief cameo appearance late in the match).
Montreal added a late goal three minutes before endtime, as substitute Rocco Placentino scored from a tough angle on an assist by Leonardo Di Lorenzo. The Impact outshot Coach Adrian Heath’s Aztex, 9-5, in a match that looked decided much before the 90 minutes expired. Backup goaltender Srjdan Djekanovic recorded the clean sheet for Montreal.
The two clubs will meet Wednesday evening in Montreal in the first leg of their two game playoff faceoff. The second leg will be played at Austin’s House Park Saturday night.
Montreal Starting Lineup: Djekanovic, Pelletier, Leduc, Charles, Braz, Terminesi, Le Gall, Donatelli, Soares, Sebrango, Gerba Subs Used: Billy, Mayard, Agourram, DiLorenzo, Placentino
Austin Starting Lineup: Gallardo, Sakuda, Brill, Bernard, Yoshitake, Worthen, Silva, Hemming, Allen, Patterson, McFayden Subs Used: L. Griffin, M. Griffin, Needham