THE GAME AT A GLANCE
• During its last trip on the West Coast, the Impact registered two 2-0 wins against the Victory in California, August 16, and against the Whitecaps in Vancouver, August 18. Following this feat, the Impact has guaranteed a playoff spot.
• The Impact, which has lost only once on the road so far this season, has not lost in its last six games (4-0-2).
• Montreal has not allowed a goal in its last four games. The opponent was shut out in the last 418 minutes of play. Goalkeeper Matt Jordan registered three shutouts. The Impact conceded its last goal on August 1, in a 4-1 win against the Carolina RailHawks.
• The Impact has a 11-0-2 record when it scores the first goal in a game.
• With 41 points, the Impact is four points behind first place in the United Soccer Leagues First Division standings, held by the Seattle Sounders. The Impact has one more game to play.
• Since 1996, the year Rochester joined the league, the Impact has a 22-12-5 lifetime record against the Rhinos.
• On August 5, a goal from forward Charles Gbeke led the Impact to a 1-0 shutout against the Rhinos, in front of 11,587 spectators at Claude-Robillard Sports Complex.
• This is the second of four match-ups between both clubs this season. Both teams will face each other again August 31, in Montreal, and September 8, in Rochester.
• This is the 26th game of the season for the Rhinos, under the helm of head coach Laurie Calloway.
• Rochester has won by shutting out its opponents during its last three games: 1-0 against the Thunder in Minnesota, August 18, 2-0 against the Puerto Rico Islanders, August 12, and 2-0 against the Carolina RailHawks, August 10. Goalkeeper Scott Vallow registered three shutouts.
• The Rhinos lead the USL First Division in terms of goals scored with 37.
• The Rhinos are 4th in the USL D1 standings with 39 points.
• Rookie forward Hamed Diallo leads the league with nine goals and is second in points, with 19.
HEAD COACH NICK DE SANTIS
“We are playing good soccer right now, after tough moments during four or five weeks. When we are not scoring in the first half, it makes things more difficult for us. During the last trip, we were able to score first and even to add more goals. By scoring in the first half, we become stronger mentally. This weekend, we will aim at taking control on the field. The Rhinos are going through a good sequence so it will not be easy. We are both fighting for a good spot in the standings.”
MIDFIELDER PATRICK LEDUC
“Compared to last year, I think that our problems came earlier and it seems that we overcame them before the playoffs. To win a difficult game in California and an important game in Vancouver gave us more confidence. As we near the playoffs, we want to maintain the feeling that nobody can beat us. The more wins we will get, especially on the road, the greater this feeling will be in the team. The Rhinos’ recipe for winning is to disturb us by being more physical, but we reacted well against them here at home. We are expecting the same treatment in Rochester.”
FORWARD CHARLES GBEKE
“Even if we have clinched a playoff spot, I think that our coaches will ask even more from us. We are confident to win both games this weekend. We have to get more points because it’s by winning that you become more confident. Some players want to reach individual goals, so every game is important.”
• Team captain Mauro Biello will be out of the line-up for more or less three weeks. Biello suffered a dislocated elbow, August 18, in Vancouver. The x-rays show no bone chipping and no surgery will be needed.
• Forward Frederico Moojen, who suffered since mid-season from a light abdominal injury, underwent surgery Monday, putting an end to his season.
• Goalkeeper Jon Paul Piques, defenders Hicham Aaboubou and Alex Surprenant, midfielders Antonio Ribeiro and David Testo (personal reasons), as well as forward Frederico Moojen did not travel with the team.
• Forward Charles Gbeke will play his second game against his former team. Last year, with the Rhinos, Gbeke tallied two goals and one assist in 21 games (929 minutes). Defender Gabriel Gervais and team captain Mauro Biello have also played for the Rhinos. Gervais played for the Rhinos in 2000 and 2001, while Biello played in Rochester in 1999, leading the team in points that year (8-4-20).
• The Impact has a 4-0-1 record since the July 30 roster freeze in the United Soccer Leagues First Division.
• The Impact is still undefeated this season (8-0-4) when defender Gabriel Gervais starts the game.
• The first eight out of 12 teams in the standings will take part in the playoffs and unlike last year, a bye will no longer be awarded for finishing first or second. The top seeded team will square off against the eighth, the second against the seventh – and so on – in a home and away series on total goals scored. The quarterfinal games should be played September 14 and 16. After the quarterfinal round, teams will be reseeded according to their place in the final standings, with the top remaining seeds playing against the lowest ones. The semi-final games should be played September 21 and 23. The single-game championship final will take place September 29.
Player - Position – Injury – Status – Games missed
Mauro Biello Midfielder Elbow Approx. 3 weeks 0
Hicham Aaboubou Defender Achilles tendon Day to day 0
Antonio Ribeiro Midfielder Groin Day to day 2
Frederico Moojen Forward Sports hernia Season over 2
Jason DiTullio Defender Knee Season over 23
ELSEWHERE IN THE LEAGUE
• No other game on Friday
• Sunday, August 26, 2007 – Impact @ Carolina – SAS Stadium – 6 pm (CJAD, USLlive.com)
• Friday, August 31, 2007 – Rochester @ Impact – Claude-Robillard Sports Complex – 8 pm (Radio-Canada, FSW, Sirius, CJAD, USLlive.com)
• Wednesday, September 5 – Atlanta @ Impact – Claude-Robillard Sports Complex – 7 pm (Radio-Canada, Sirius, CJAD, USLlive.com)
• Saturday, September 8 – Impact @ Rochester – Paetec Park – 7:35 pm (Radio-Canada, Sirius, CJAD, USLlive.com)
(End of regular season)
Source: Patrick Vallée, Montreal Impact
Info: 514-328-3668, ext. 27
THE GAME AT A GLANCE