Top 5 - Most memorable home openers

THE IMPACT’S FIRST OFFICIAL MATCH - 1993

May 21, 1993, versus Tampa Bay. It was a great show, with the Impact winning 4-2, marking the franchise’s first-ever victory. Paul Dougherty (future Impact player) opening the scoring for the visitors at the 15-minute mark. Less than four minutes into the second half, Cameron Walker and Nick Dasovic gave the Impact the lead, followed up by Nicola Zanone’s successful penalty kick, which made it 3-1. Dougherty gave Tampa Bay some hope with a late goal, but another Zanone goal put the game away for Montreal in this historic encounter.



LATEST OPENER – 1994

Due to the World Cup in the United States, the 1994 APSL championship was forced to kick off much later than usual. The Impact opened its season against Toronto on July 1, nearly 10 months after its final match in 1993. It’s the only time in team history that the Impact started the season at home instead of on the road. That match resulted in a 1-0 victory over Toronto, on a goal by Lloyd Barker. The season ended on an equally high note, with the Impact winning its first-ever championship title.



MOST IMPRESSIVE VICTORY - 2006

The six-goal opener in 1993 versus Tampa Bay was perhaps the most spectacular, but the 4-0 win over Minnesota in 2006 was the widest margin of victory for the Impact in a home opener. Nevio Pizzolitto, Patrick Leduc, Antonio Ribeiro and Daniel Antoniuk took care of the offense for the Impact. That was an important victory considering the club’s see-saw performances at the start of 2006 season.



FIRST MATCH AT SAPUTO STADIUM – 2008

This was truly a special moment for soccer fans. The festivities kicked off the day before with an open house that gave fans the opportunity to visit the new temple of Montreal soccer. Then, on May 19, 2008, under a frigid, driving rain, the Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 0-0 draw. It marked an important new chapter in club history, made even more special by the sentiment of finally having a “real home”.



EARLIEST START – 2011

That would be this year, with a match on April 23. It’s very likely that next year’s home opener will be even earlier, considering that MLS kicks off its season a few weeks before the NASL. Needless to say, there are no objections from the supporters who are excited to get the festivities underway. Prior to this season, the earliest home opener in Montreal was on April 25 of last year, which resulted in a 1-1 draw versus Portland.



Matthias Van Halst, Impact Media



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