Photo courtesy Montreal Impact/Pépé.

Montreal Impact
North American Soccer League
August 19, 2011
boxscorenews.com

MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact will begin the last quarter of its regular season, playing the last of a five-game home stand, Saturday at 2:30pm, against the Minnesota Stars, at Saputo Stadium (Radio-Canada, CKAC Sports, THE TEAM 990, radio-canada.ca/sports). 


Tickets for this game are still available through Admission Network (admission.com / 514-790-1245) or at Saputo Stadium’s ticketing office.

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“This is the last match of that home series and we want to win this one,” said midfielder Ryan Pore, who registered his first point with the Impact during the last game. “Confidence is quite high in the locker room right now but we know that we have a long way to go to reach a playoff spot.” 

The Impact has scored seven goals in its last. After tying FC Tampa Bay 3-3, the Impact shut out the Atlanta Silverbacks 4-0, Sunday night, at Saputo Stadium. 

“I hope we will come out on the field with a good mentality even if we know that this game will be tough,” said Impact sporting director and head coach Nick De Santis, who will coach his 138th career regular season game (71-32-33), on Saturday, to become the all-time leader in team history, surpassing Valerio Gazzola (87-46-4). “The positive aspects from the last game are that we put the Silverbacks under pressure from the first minute of play and that we worked hard to win every ball. We are seeing a lot of good things offensively right now.” 

“The last win has been good for the team,” said Impact team captain Nevio Pizzolito. “The unity in the midst of the team is getting stronger since the beginning of the season. I think we will be a hard team to beat for the remainder of the season.” 

This is the third of four matchups between both teams in 2011. The Impact will try to win its first game against the Stars, after losing the first game 1-0, on July 22, at the National Sports Center, and 3-1, on August 6, at Saputo Stadium. 

“Even if we know the results of the first two games, we don’t want to add more pressure on our shoulders,” added De Santis. “It’s only a great opportunity to put ourselves in a better position. If we put pressure on them, we can dictate the pace of the game but it will important to manage the 90 minutes.” 

The Impact has a record of six wins, eight losses and five ties (24GF-23GA) in 19 games against the Minnesotan franchise, since 1997. 

The Minnesota Stars are currently fourth in the NASL standings with a record of seven wins, six losses and eight ties for a total of 29 points in 21 games. 

In their last game, Wednesday, the Stars tied the Carolina RailHawks1-1, at WakeMed Soccer Park, in Cary, ending the RailHawks’ nine-game winning streak at home, to become only the second team all season to avoid defeat there. 

Stars striker Simone Bracalello is leading his team with six goals, while goalkeeper Joe Warren is third in the NASL with a 0.95 GAA. 

Impact newcomer, Colombian forward Miguel Montaño, who joined the team for the remainder of the 2011 season, following a loan from the Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer, will be available for Saturday’s game. 

Forward Reda Agourram will miss the remainder of the season due to a groin injury, while forward Ali Gerba will be out of action for 4 to 6 weeks due to a meniscus injury. 

Meanwhile, the Impact U21 team will face Capital City FC, Sunday at 1pm, at Terry Fox Stadium in Ottawa. Forward Alessandro Riggi is currently the team leading goalscorer with seven goals, while midfielder Wandrille Lefevre is first on the team with 10 assists. 

The team, which leads the league with 42 goals scored so far this season, is second in the Canadian Soccer League overall standings with a record of 10-5-5 for 35 points. 

NEXT THREE GAMES 
• Saturday, Aug. 27 – IMPACT @ Minnesota Stars – National Sports Center – 8pm (nscminnesota.com) 
• Saturday, Sept. 3 – IMPACT @ Fort Lauderdale Strikers – Lockhart Stadium – 2:30pm (strikers.com) 
• Wednesday, Sept. 7 – IMPACT @ Puerto Rico Islanders – Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel – 8:05pm (puertoricoislandersfc.com)

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