Impact Win Voyageurs Cup

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact put an end to a three-game dry spell offensively and was crowned top team in Canada, Sunday, following a 2-0 victory against Calgary.



With the win, coach Bob Lilley’s squad won the Voyageurs Cup, awarded to the top Canadian team in the A-League, for the second year in a row. Montreal also finished on top of the Eastern Conference, as well as tied for first place in overall A-League standings with the Milwaukee Wave United with 54 points.



“We’ve won the Voyageurs Cup, the Can-Am Cup and the division title, so we’ve done well this year, and hopefully we’ll carry that into the playoffs,” said Lilley, whose team will face the Rochester Rhinos in next weekend’s first playoff round.

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact put an end to a three-game dry spell offensively and was crowned top team in Canada, Sunday, following a 2-0 victory against Calgary.



With the win, coach Bob Lilley’s squad won the Voyageurs Cup, awarded to the top Canadian team in the A-League, for the second year in a row. Montreal also finished on top of the Eastern Conference, as well as tied for first place in overall A-League standings with the Milwaukee Wave United with 54 points.



“We’ve won the Voyageurs Cup, the Can-Am Cup and the division title, so we’ve done well this year, and hopefully we’ll carry that into the playoffs,” said Lilley, whose team will face the Rochester Rhinos in next weekend’s first playoff round.



Sunday’s game, the Impact’s last of the regular season, was played in front of 8,607 people. The Montreal organization therefore finishes the season with an average of 7,236 spectators per home match-up, the best in club history. The former record, set last year, was 5,178. In the A-League this season, only the Rochester Rhinos, with an average of 10,169, have done better at the gate.



Patrick Leduc, on a penalty kick at the 5th minute, and Nash, at the 25th assisted by Mauro Biello, put an end to a strech of 315 minutes without a goal scored by Montreal. It was Biello’s 20th point of the season (seven goals, six assists), confirming his status as the Impact’s leading scorer in 2003.



Goalkeeper Greg Sutton picked up his 11th shutout of the season, a personal record. The Montreal defense was therefore the best in the A-League this season, with only 21 goals allowed in 28 games.



“That’s a good sign when you consider the fact that teams that go far in the playoffs usually are the ones that have a very low goals-against average,” said Sutton. “Today, we got out of our slump offensively, and hopefully we’ll continue to do well in the playoffs.”



Nash, the game’s first star, caused the PK that led to the Impact’s first goal. He was brought down by goalkeeper Eric Kenas in the penalty area. Leduc scored on a low shot, near the post to the left of Kenas.



Twenty minutes later, Biello, from the left wing, found Nash near the right post. Nash calmly controlled the ball before finding the opening.



“The difference today was that this time, we put our chances away,” said Nash. “Maybe scoring that first goal helped us relax a bit, and helped us get that second one, but we should have scored a couple more.”



Nash also hit the post at the 18th, while Zé Roberto saw his header stopped on the goal line by defender Brendan Garrity at the 85th.



At the 36th, Calgary midfielder Jamie Auvigne was ejected after punching Leduc in the face while the Impact midfielder was already down on the pitch.



“Today, we looked lively in the first half, but losing their man took the energy out of the game, because after that they put 10 men back,” said Lilley.



The first playoff round, a home-and-home, aggregate-goal series against the Rhinos, will kick off Friday night in Rochester (7:30 pm, CJAD) and will conclude Sunday afternoon at Claude Robillard Stadium (4 pm, CJAD).

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