8 victories in the last 12 games for the Impact
The Montreal Impact has compiled an impressive dossier since June 1. In the last 11 games, the club has won 8 and tied 1 since starting the season with 5 consecutive losses. Two of the three losses have come in the last two contests, both at Claude Robillard Stadium, as the Montreal Eleven fell 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps (July 8) and 2-0 to the Hershey Wildcats (July 15). However, three of the victims were of the international nature as the club captured the second edition of the Coupe de Montréal.
The Impact has defeated the Hershey Wildcats both times they have met in the suburb of the Pennsylvania capital (Harrisburg), with Valerio Gazzola's charges winning 4 and losing 2 overall. The Wildcats hold a slight edge in goals scored in the 6 games, 12-11, with the Impact holding a 4-2 advantage at Hersheypark.
The Impact and the Riverhounds have met not once, not twice, but thrice. The 'Hounds had the better in each of the games: the Impact's 2000 opener (May 6) by a 2-1 score at Bethel Park High School Stadium, at Claude Robillard Stadium on August 13, 2000 (a 1-0 overtime decision), and on May 25, 2001 in the Pittsburgh suburb (2-0). The latter is memorable for the fact that former Impact Randy Samuel collapsed on the field in the 55th minute, suffering from severe dehydration. It was also Paul Shepherd's only game in goal with the Impact this year. The club released the keeper on June 28, twelve days before the veteran defender.
"Checker" is back
Keeper Paolo Ceccarelli is officially back in the fold. After having missed the entire 2000 outdoor season due to a knee injury, Paolo returned to action over the winter with the 2000-01 Toronto Thunderhawks of the National Professional Soccer League. His first game with the Impact this season will give him his first taste of outdoor action since 1998. When the Montreal Eleven went on hiatus in the summer of 1999, "Checker" opted to work with the Impact's soccer schools in Greater Montreal instead of playing for another club. Paolo holds many club and league records, as indicated below.
Patrice Bernier and Gaspare Borsellino at Francophone Games
The Montreal Impact midfielders will be absent from the lineup to represent Canada at the fourth edition of the Francophone Games, held this year in Ottawa, from July 14th to the 24th. In fact, Borsellino scored the last two goals in a 4-0 victory over Bulgaria on July 17, to allow Team Canada to qualify for a quarterfinal matchup against France on July 19 at Frank Clair Stadium.
15,000th minute for Patrick Diotte…
Defender Patrick Diotte, who recently played his 300th career professional regular season game against the Connecticut Wolves on July 4 at Claude Robillard Stadium since turning pro in 1987, has reached another significant milestone. Having played the entire 90 minutes of the July 15th home 2-0 loss to the Hershey Wildcats, he surpassed the 15,000 minutes played plateau (15,032) in the A-League, all in an Impact uniform. Diotte has suited up in the old Canadian Soccer League with the 1987 Ottawa Pioneers (8 games) and 1988 to 1992 Montreal Supra (119 matches), and with the Montreal Impact since 1993 (175 games). Only midfielder Nick DeSantis has played in more pro games. By including the 17 in the winter of 1992-93 with Termoli Interamnia of the Italian fifth division, the captain has played in 312.
…and 12,000 for Limo
John Limniatis is also approaching a special milestone. If the defender/midfielder plays a total of 46 minutes against the Wildcats and Riverhounds, he will reach the 12,000-minutes-played plateau in a Montreal Impact uniform (in his 165th or 166th game). By including the 2,161 minutes in 25 games with the 1999 Charleston Battery, he has played a total of 14,115 in the A-League. Limo has also suited up for the 1987 and 1988 Ottawa Pioneers (28 games) of the old Canadian Soccer League, Aris Salonika (94) of the Greek first division (1988-89 to 1991-92), and the 1992-93 Panetolikos Agrinio (20) squad of the Greek second division. However, those leagues did not calculate minutes played.
150th game for Mauro Biello and Giuliano Oliviero…
Midfielder Mauro Biello, who was the Impact player of the game last Sunday against the Hershey Wildcats during the 2-0 loss, ran the pitch for the 150th time in a Montreal Impact uniform (and 194th as a pro). Biello also wore the colours of the 1991 and 1992 Montreal Supra of the old Canadian Soccer League (16 games), as well as the 1999 Rochester Raging Rhinos (a team-leading 28 games). Furthermore, Giuliano Oliviero's next game will be his 150th in the A-League, and 85th with the Montreal Eleven since joining the club in 1997. Jules also played 43 matches with the 1995 and 1996 Vancouver 86ers (now Whitecaps), as well as 22 with the 1999 Staten Island Vipers. In 149 games so far, the New Westminster, BC native has racked up 34 goals and 34 assists for 102 points, reaching the century milestone with his second assist of the game, on Niall Thompson's 87th-minute marker, during a 2-0 victory over the Long Island Rough Riders on June 1 at Claude Robillard Stadium.
…125th for Lloyd Barker…
Lloyd Barker is also expecting to reach a milestone. His next game will be his 125th in a Montreal Impact uniform (as well as 214th as a pro in North America, and 177th in the A-League. Junior has played in the old Canadian Soccer League with the Ottawa Intrepid (37 games from 1988 to 1990), and in the A-League with the 1999 Maryland Mania (6), 1999 and 2000 Toronto Lynx (46), as well as with the Impact. He has compiled 35 goals and 38 assists in the A-League, plus another 2 tallies in the CSL, including 34 goals and 28 assists for 96 points with the Montreal Eleven (second in franchise history to Mauro Biello's 41-37-119 totals).
… but 50th for Darko Kolic will have to wait
Forward Darko Kolic would have played his 50th with the Montreal Eleven, but he is suspended for three games for unsportsmanlike conduct during the 1-0 July 8 home loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. His next game will also be his 90th in the A-League, as he played 15 for the 1998 Richmond Kickers and 25 for the 1999 Long Island Rough Riders.
Mauro Biello's scores #50
The Impact's all-time leading scorer, Mauro Biello, has finally reached the 50-goal regular season plateau as a pro with two penalty kick tallies during the July 4th 2-1 victory over the Connecticut Wolves at Claude Robillard Stadium. His second of the game, beating keeper Adam Throope in the 77th minute, allowed him to reach the mark. Since turning pro in 1991, he has scored once with the Montreal Supra of the Canadian Soccer league (in 1992), a franchise-high 41 times with the Impact, and a team-leading 8 with the 1999 Rochester Raging Rhinos. His next goal will also be his 50th in the A-League. His two goals, which helped hunt down the Wolves, helped Biello earn a spot on the Week 14 A-League Team of the Week. He is the second player to receive the honour this season.
Four players collect their first point of 2001
During the home-and-home series against the Toronto Lynx on June 15 and 16, four players earned their first point of the season. Rookie forward-midfielder Rocco Placentino, in only his third career pro game, was instrumental in creating the winning goal for the home side at Claude Robillard Stadium. With the score tied at nil, he took advantage of a loose ball by running it into the box, blasting a low, hard shot that keeper Theo Zagar could not handle. George Papandreou was there for the easy tap in to send the home crowd happy (Placentino later scored his first pro goal in a 1-0 victory over Carioca FC in the 78th minute of the Impact's opening game of the Coupe de Montréal tournament on June 23). The next night at Varsity Stadium, Sunny Nwachukwu teamed up with Martin Dugas for the first goal of the game. The Nigerian fed a perfect free kick cross from outside the box to a waiting Dugas, left alone five yards from the net. The first-year Impact one-timed it out of the air with his right foot, beating a surprised Zagar. It was Dugas' fifth marker in his A-League career. Furthermore, captain Nick DeSantis, who has played all 928 minutes this season, also got an assist on a free kick. His 63rd-minute kick into the box was perfectly deflected by Niall Thompson for the winning goal in the 3-1 victory.
Mauro Biello's next goal will be his 50th regular season A-League marker (he scored his 50th as a pro on July 4). Mauro scored once in 1992 with the old Montreal Supra of the Canadian Soccer League… With 1,038 minutes played so far this season, Nick DeSantis needs 273 more to reach 1,311 for the current campaign, which will give him 15,000 in an Impact uniform… DeSantis is also close to two other marks. His 15th game this season will be his 200th in the A-League, while his 16th will be his 300th in the regular season as a pro in North America. He also played in 17 with Termoli Interamnia in 1992-93 (Italian fifth division)… Lloyd Barker, is 4 points away from his 100th with the Montreal club… With 48 A-League regular season games so far in his career, defender Nicola Corneli is 2 away from the magical 50 games played plateau…