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July 7 - Montreal vs. Rochester [R]


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From the Montreal Impact:


MONTREAL, July 7, 2004 — A goal by Sandro Grande at the 52nd minute of play scored from 25 yards out, Wednesday, gave the Impact a 1-0 win against the Rochester Raging Rhinos. The victory allows the Impact (9-2-4) to join the Rhinos (10-3-1) on top of Eastern Conference standings. Both teams have 31 points, as do the Atlanta Silverbacks (10-3-1). The Richmond Kickers (9-5-3), who lost 2-0 to the Syracuse Salty Dogs, Wednesday night, have 30 points.

The Impact and the Rhinos will face off once again on Friday, this time at Rochester’s Frontier Field (8:00 pm, live on FSW, tape-delayed on RDS).

The game was played before 9,078 spectators in spite of the uncertain weather. It was the third time in club history — the second time this season — that over 9,000 fans were in attendance at Claude Robillard Stadium.

"It was very much like a playoff game. We came out with a lot of character and emotion," said head coach Nick DeSantis. "Tonight you had two teams that were very well organized and it was difficult to get scoring chances, but we were able to put one away and get the win."

After taking a back pass from Joel Bailey, Grande took a shot that deflected on a Rhinos player and caught goalkeeper Theo Zagar flat-footed. It was Grande’s third goal of the season.

Goalkeeper Greg Sutton picked up his 10th shutout of the year. He is only one away from his personal best, and three away from the club record of 13 shutouts in a season, set by Paolo Ceccarelli in 1996.

Sutton made his best save at the 53rd minute, diving to his left to stop a shot by former Impact defender Bill Sedgewick. He also reacted well at the 73rd minute in front of Doug Miller.

"This game was really important. Our confidence was always there and we had been playing well despite our two recent losses, but we played a hell of a game tonight," said Sutton.

The Impact’s winless streak was therefore stopped at five games (0-2-3). The Montreal team remains undefeated at home so far this season (3-0-2).

The Rhinos haven’t won in their last nine games played in Montreal (0-8-1). Their last victory at Claude Robillard Stadium dates back to June 14, 1998. Furthermore, Rochester was shut out for a seventh straight game in Montreal. Their last goal dates back to July 23, 2000, in a 3-1 loss to the Impact.

Before the game, the Impact announced the signing of Yuri Lavrynenko, a 27-year-old midfielder and defender who was released by the Rhinos on June 25 after two seasons and a half with the New York State club.





Stéphane Banfi

514-328-3668 (ext. 27)

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This was in the top 5 of most boring games I have ever covered for A-league.com .

Random thoughts from the game:

All clogged up midfield and long balls to the forwards. Montreal's offence is stuck in neutral. What has happened to Sebrango? He looks lost out there. At least the defence is clicking. Sutton was amazing when called upon to make a save. The goal by Grande was a bizarre one. Zagar was not in position when the ball went in. He looked totally surprised that it went in from so far. The report by the Impact say 25 yards out but it was more like 35 yards out. Heard on CJAD on my way home that Sutton, Biello, Gervais and a fourth player(I think it is Braz) are going to join the Canadian National B team for the games out west next week.

Terrific crowd. I was in the press booth next to two gentlemen who were with the Rhinos in some capacity or other(I think one was one of the owners) and I heard them praising the fans in Montreal saying that they really support the team in Montreal and it is great for the league. Of course they bitched and complained about every single call that went against the Rhinos. Not very sportsmanlike if you ask me.

More info on the game in my match report on A-league.com

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