The Impact U21 team won its final game of the regular season Wednesday night, defeating TFC Academy by a 4-2 score at Downsview Park, in Toronto. This was the team’s ninth consecutive victory to close out the season, lifting the U21s to a second place finish.
Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Zakaria Messoudi, Philippe Lincourt-Joseph and Charles Joly scored in the 14th victory of the season. The team concluded the season with a 14-3-5 record, its best finish ever in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL), scoring 52 goals and allowing just 17 against.
By finishing second in the standings, the Impact U21 gained home field advantage until the semifinal round. In its quarterfinal one-game series, the Impact will face the very same TFC Academy on Sunday, October 14, at 2pm in Montreal at Stade Saputo. The game is open to the public and admission is free.
“Overall, it was a good game under difficult conditions, where we scored four pretty goals,” said Impact U21 head coach Philippe Eullaffroy. “We controlled the game well against a young team from Toronto and this victory will provide some positive momentum going into Sunday’s game.”
Eullaffroy understands the importance of continuing to play at a high level for the next game.
“Obviously, the team’s spirit is high right now,” he admitted. “However, we must remain focused at all times. We have to play with a lot of intensity, especially since it’s a playoff game.”
A productive tour in France
The Impact U21 head coach is certain that the trip to France in August had a positive influence on the team, as the U21s won all of its matches in the CSL upon their return.
“We learned a lot about ourselves, individually and collectively, throughout the tour,” he explained. “The players gained in confidence and we witnessed a new dynamic developing in the locker room without changing the way we play. When you work hard, you need some validation,” said Eullaffroy. “This trip proved to our young players that they could be as good as others their age, playing for other pro clubs. It was a validation of all the investment into their sport.”