IMPACT 4 ATLANTA 0
Despite the win, the Minnesota Stars held onto the sixth and final playoff spot, following a 2-1 win against the RailHawks, Saturday night, in Carolina, finishing the season in front of the Impact by a single point. Montreal had only one loss in its last nine games of the season (6-1-2).
“We played the game we wanted to play tonight,” said Impact head coach and sporting director Nick De Santis. “The concentration was excellent and we were able to find the spaces right away to score. It was a high level team playing against a team that was struggling. We were probably the best team in the league for the last month and a half. The final result is disappointing. It’s unfortunate for the guys that have been through this, with all the pressure. I also feel bad for our fans because they won’t have the chance to see this team play in the playoffs.”
Forward Ryan Pore opened the scoring at the 6th minute of play. Following a pass from midfielder Amir Lowery, Pore controlled the ball down the right side and took a point blank shot that beat Silverbacks goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to his left and into the top corner of the net.
The Impact doubled its lead at the 18th minute. Forward Miguel Montaño took a pass behind the defense from midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic before breaking away towards goalkeeper Maurer, who was not able to stop the Colombian’s low shot. It was Montaño's first career goal in the North American second division.
Pore scored his second goal of the game at the 30th minute of play. After taking a pass from Ubiparipovic, Pore took a low shot to the far post from the corner of the 18-yard box that beat the opposing goalkeeper to his left, just inside the post.
Pore completed his hat trick on a penalty kick, at the 54th minute of play, after Silverbacks defender Tyler Ruthven handled the ball in the 18-yard box.
It was Pore’s fifth, sixth and seventh goals of the season. It was also the second time in team history that a player scored three goals in the same regular season game. Sinisa Ubiparipovic finished the game with two assists, his third and fourth of the season.
Defender Simon Gatti started his 100th career game with the Impact, while team captain Nevio Pizzolitto reached 23,000 career minutes of play. He became the second player in team history to reach this mark. Only Mauro Biello (25,288) has played more minutes.
Midfielder Leonardo Di Lorenzo started his 121st career game with the Impact, joining Adam Braz in ninth place in team history. He was replaced by forward Mignane Diouf at the 66th minute.
Defender Hassoun Camara did not travel to Atlanta due to a thigh injury.
The Impact missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
The Impact leaves the North American second division with a record of 265 wins, 155 losses and 71 tied in 491 regular season games. The Impact will move to Major League Soccer (MLS), North America’s first division, starting in March 2012.
Earlier today, the Impact U21 (12-8-5) beat the Mississauga Eagles FC (11-10-2) 2-1, Saturday afternoon, at Saputo Stadium, and officially clinched a playoff spot in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL).