TOP 5 - Great moment in Sebrango's career

Most memorable match: “Without a doubt, the quarterfinal match versus Santos Laguna at Olympic Stadium, on February 25, 2009. So many things came together to make that match unforgettable. First of all, there were more than 55,000 fans. There was also a lot at stake, because a win would have put on the verge of advancing to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Also, scoring two goals in that game was really special for me, especially because it was my first game back with the Impact after having played the previous three seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps.”

Unforgettable goal: “My second goal versus Santos Laguna at Olympic Stadium. The entire stadium exploded with joy and you could feel how involved the fans were! Everyone was feeling an intense mix of disbelief and euphoria at the same time. I still remember heading for the corner where the Ultras were and I felt like I was suddenly in Europe, that’s how crazy the ambiance was. I lifted my jersey to reveal my t-shirt underneath that had the names of my kids, Gabriela and Donovan, written on it. I was plunged into a sea of emotions. That was a very special moment.”

Greatest disappointment: “Another easy one to recall without hesitation. It was obviously the return leg against Santos Laguna, in Mexico. I still can’t believe what happened in Torreon on March 5, 2009. I keep replaying the end of the match over and over again in my mind. I didn’t know how many goals Santos Laguna needed to score to eliminate us and when I heard the official blow his whistle, I thought the two clubs were tied on total goals and were headed to overtime. That’s when I turned to a teammate and saw that he was crying and realized that we’d been eliminated. Without question, that was the most frustrating and most disappointing moment of my career.”

Most notable championship: “I was fortunate enough to win five in all, winning once with the Rochester Rhinos (2000), twice with the Vancouver Whitecaps (2006, 2008) and twice with the Impact (2004, 2009). They were all special in their own way, but I have to admit the one in 2008 was important because it capped off the best season of my career. I scored 12 goals in 29 matches and should have been named the league MVP, but it was awarded to Jonathan Steele. I think I deserved it because I was so consistent the entire season and was at the top of my game in every aspect. I was also a big contributor in the playoffs. My performance that year was even more satisfying because I was getting older (35 years old) and some people were starting to question whether I’d still be able to deliver. I also made some pretty good money that year. Even though my base salary with the Whitecaps was fairly low, there were some lucrative performance bonuses that really paid off.”

Turning point: “If I had to pick one moment in my life that really had an impact on the rest of my career, I’d have to go back to Cuba in 1990. I was 17 and had just been cut by my home town club, Sancti Spiritus. It was my last season before graduating to the first team and I was devastated. Instead of getting down on myself, I rolled up my sleeves and vowed to do everything in my power to make sure that never happened again. From that moment on, the focus in my life was to always give everything my very best. I understood that technique and tactics made up for 50% of a team’s success, but the other 50% came from the individuals on the team. What happened when I was 17 taught me the value of using adversity in order to grow. What also helped was being conscious of the fact that I was never the most talented player. I never had the strength of Ali Gerba, the speed of Pierre-Rudolph Mayard or the ball control of Mauro Biello, but I always compensated by working very, very hard.”

Martin Smith, Impact Media