1995 - Beginning of the Gazzola era

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Photos and articles from the 1995 season

Giuseppe-Saputo Trophy: Lloyd Barker

  • In mid-January, we learn that the Los Angeles Salsa and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers will leave the APSL to join an American third division league, the USISL (predecessor to the United Soccer Leagues). The franchises of the APSL - renamed the A-League – are joined by two expansion clubs, the Atlanta Ruckus and the New York Centaurs.

  • Camilllo Lisio, Impact’s chairman of the board, says he hopes that support from Montrealers continues to grow for their club, defending North American champions, by increasing the number of people in the stands at the Claude-Robillard sports complex. “We have proven what we can do on the field, now it’s the community’s turn to do their part,” notes Lisio.

  • The Impact kicks off its third season by visiting the Colorado Foxes, finalists from the previous year, on May 13. The home debut is a week later, when the New York Centaurs come to town.

  • After signing a three-year deal. Head coach Valerio Gazzola is forced to rebuild his team as he forecasts that “half of his starting 11 from the final in October 1994  will not return.”

  • Goalkeeper Pat Harrington, among others, suffered a serious knee injury while playing indoor soccer with the Buffalo Blizzard. As for Jason deVos and Nick Dasovic, they made their way to Europe. Jean Harbor signs with MLS, while Marco Rizi, Patrice Ferri and Enzo Concina decide not to return with the Impact.

  • The returning group of players includes Patrick Diotte, John Limniatis, Rudy Doliscat, Abdel Sahrane, Lloyd Barker and Mauro Biello. Also among the group is newly appointed captain, Nick De Santis.

  • Among the new recruits, the solid American defender Steve Trittschuh joins the group, as well as midfielders Lyndon Hooper and Paul Dougherty – these names added to the roster that also has Grant Needham returning from injury.

  • Barely three days before the start of the season, the Toronto Rockets fold. Thus, only six teams will take part in the 1995 championship. The demise of the Toronto soccer franchise upsets the games schedule. The Impact will start its regular season by playing against the Centaurs in New York, on May 7th.

  • The objective for 1995 is clear: repeat as champions. To attain this goal, the Impact hit a home run on May 15 by signing Brazilian forward Paulinho, who recorded the most points in the league in 1993 with the Salsa.

  • The Impact starts the season on fire with four consecutive shutout victories. The Atlanta Ruckus hands the Impact its first defeat, by shutout, on June 2. However, 48 hours later they get revenge by spanking the Ruckus 4-0, thanks to a brace by Paulinho. “I was having trouble sleeping because I felt I haven’t been able to contribute to the success on the field, but now I think I can sleep well,” said the striker.

  • That success is followed by three losses in four matches, including two against the Seattle Sounders who are sitting at the top of the standings. Luckily for the Impact, the tide turns once again and the team earns 10 wins in its next 11 games.

  • Crowds of 6,000 spectators become common place at Claude-Robillard sports complex, including a record 7,579 fans for a 2-1 victory over the Foxes on August 18.

  • The Impact finishes the year at the top of the regular season standings, and wins the Commissioner’s Cup officially on September 11 (the first in its young history).

  • Meanwhile, the celebration is short lived as the Impact is eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Atlanta. In the best of three series, the Impact starts with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ruckus in Atlanta but climb back in contention with a sparkling 3-0 win in Montreal, on Saturday September 16th.

  • The following day, the Impact’s season ends when the Atlanta Ruckus record a 1-0 shootout win in front of a little over 3 500 fans at Claude-Robillard sports complex.

  • After being forced to leave the deciding game in the 8th minute due to injury, Paulinho declares in frustration that “this was the worst season of my career.” For his part, captain Nick De Santis explains that “no loss in his career hurt as much as this one did.”

  • In the visitors’ dressing room, head coach Lothar Osiander admits his team is lucky to have won the series and goes on to concede that “ the worst team has won.  ”

  • The Atlanta Ruckus goes on to the final, only to fall to the Seattle Sounders, who imitate the Impact by winning a playoff title in just their second year of existence.

  • Small consolation, the Impact is the club with the most members on the A-League all-star team as defender Steve Trittschuh, midfielder Paul Dougherty and forward Lloyd Barker are all named.

  • As an added bonus, nine members of the Impact are invited to join the Canadian national team in a friendly versus Chile on October 11, in Santiago.

  • Forward Lloyd Barker is named player of the year and awarded the Giuseppe Saputo Trophy thanks to his 10 goals and six assists.

  • The Impact and its co-members of the A-League are now faced with a serious rival in North American Soccer with the debut of Major League Soccer, made up of five teams from the East and five teams from the West.

  • Not intimidated one bit, Joey Saputo declares “1996 will be our best year yet!”

Photos and articles from the 1995 season

Roster

Top Row (Left to right)      
Name # Pos Date of birth Seasons Min. played Previous club
Holness, Kevin 13 M 25/09/71 1994-1997 5 001 Impact
Barker, Lloyd 11 A/D 12/12/70 1993-1997, 2001-2004 13 707 Harbour View (JAM)
Diotte, Patrick 12 D 13/11/67 1993-1998, 2000-2001 16 031 Impact
Courtois, Daniel 22 G 07/09/69 1994-1995 0 Impact
Ceccarelli, Paolo 29 G 13/10/73 1994-1998, 2000-2001 7 192 Impact
Kouzmanis, Tom 17 A/F 22/04/73 1995-1996 1 386 FC Supra
Trittschuh, Steve 3 D 24/04/65 1995 1 980 St. Louis Ambush
Paulinho 10 A/F 30/08/61 1995 1 070 Los Angeles Salsa
             
Middle Row (Left to right)      
Name # Pos Date of birth Seasons Min. played Previous club
Giannakakis, Tina Head Physiotherapist      
Moretto, Mike Equipment manager      
Pizzolitto, Nevio 16 D 26/08/76 1994-1998, 2000-2011 23 030 Impact B
Limniatis, John 8 D 24/06/67 1993-1998, 2000-2001 13 976 Impact
Echevarria, Gustavo 15 A/F 08/12/70 1994-1995 178 Impact
Dionne, Léo Assistant Physiotherapist      
Demerdjian, Garo Assistant Physiotherapist      
             
             
Bottom Row (Left to right)      
Name # Pos Date of birth Seasons Min. played Previous club
Hooper, Lyndon 6 M 30/05/66 1995-1998 6 378 Birmingham (UK)
Doliscat, Rudy 2 D 16/11/67 1993-1996, 1998 5 178 Impact
Needham, Grant 9 A/F 14/07/70 1993-1998 5 814 Impact
Millien, Francis Assistant Coach      
Gazzola, Valerio Head coach      
Ashby, Victor Goalkeeper coach      
Dougherty, Paul 7 M 05/05/66 1995 2 133 Buffalo Blizzard
De Santis, Nick 4 M 11/09/67 1993-1998, 2000-2003 18 303 FC Supra
Biello, Mauro 21 A/F 08/08/72 1993-1998, 2000-2009 25 288 FC Supra

Standings

Team GP W L WR WS LR LS GF GA GD Pts
Impact de Montréal 24 17 7 16 1 1 6 47 27 20 51
Seattle Sounders 24 18 6 13 5 2 4 40 24 16 51
Vancouver 86ers 24 10 14 10 0 3 11 43 43 0 33
Atlanta Ruckus 24 13 11 5 8 1 10 29 41 -12 32
Colorado Foxes 24 8 16 7 1 6 10 35 41 -6 29
New York Centaurs 24 6 18 5 1 3 15 21 39 -18 20

3 points for a regulation win (WR)
2 points for a shootout win (WS)
1 point for shootout loss (LS)
0 point for loss in regulation time (LR)

Semifinals

Atlanta eliminated Impact 2-1 (shootout), 0-3, 1-0 (shootout)
Seattle eliminated Vancouver 1-0, 1-0 (shootout)

Final

Seattle won vs Atlanta 2-1 (shootout)