Impact wins 1-0 in playoff opener

Eduardo Sebrango’s goal, on a header at the 53rd minute of play, was enough to lead the Impact to victory.

"It was a great effort, the players showed a lot of character, they were totally focused from the very beginning," said Impact head coach Nick DeSantis.

To win the two-game home-and-away, aggregate-goal series and therefore reach the conference finals, DeSantis’ squad will now only need to come up with a tie, Sunday night, in the return match to be played at Claude Robillard Sports Complex starting at 7:00 pm. A loss by one goal would mean Montreal would have to play two 15-minute sudden-death overtime periods. Overtime would be followed by penalty kicks if necessary.

"Even if we’re in good position, we’ll have to give the same kind of effort on Sunday," said DeSantis. "The guys know the second game will be just as important, that we’ll have to come up just as big."

Sebrango’s goal was the result of a free kick taken by Sandro Grande, to the left of the penalty area. An attempted clearing by Ian Fuller on a header in front of the Rhinos goal was intercepted by Sebrango, who came running into the goal mouth and, on a diving header just before the ball hit the ground, placed a shot to the left of Rochester’s Theo Zagar.

"I was a little bit surprised on the play," admitted Sebrango. "I was offside and I was trying to come back on-side before making another run when the ball came right at me, and there was nobody around."

Greg Sutton picked up the shutout in front of the Impact net. He came up big against Shaun Tsakiris and Chris Carrieri in the middle of the first half, although the Impact was dictating the pace of the game at the time, and again in the last portion of the game, when the Rhinos were trying to even the score.

"It was quite intense in the second half," said Sutton. "It’s only normal that we’re going to undergo some pressure from them, they’re obviously a good team."

"Greg made the key saves," said DeSantis. " We saw tonight that he’s the kind of ‘keeper who’s going to bring us far into the playoffs."

Sutton also got some help from his defenders, for instance at the 67th minute when he was all alone with Ian Fuller, but Gabriel Gervais came back just in time to deflect the shot out of harm’s way.

At the 89th minute, a header by Fuller came off the post to the left of Sutton, who reacted quickly to pick up the loose ball that was rolling across the goal mouth.



Stéphane Banfi
514-328-3668 (ext. 27)