The A-League 2004 - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old December 19th, 2003, 23:46 Thread Starter
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The A-League 2004

For 2004 the A-League is eliminating the "Division" structure, and having a simpler structure of just 2 Conferences:

Eastern Conference
Richmond Kickers
Atlanta Silverbacks
Charleston Battery (last year's League Champs)
Montreal Impact
Puerto Rico Islanders
Rochester Raging Rhinos
Syracuse Salty Dogs
Toronto Lynx
Virginia Beach Mariners

Western Conference
Minnesota Thunder
Edmonton Aviators
Calgary Mustangs
Milwaukee Wave United
Portland Timbers
Seattle Sounders
Vancouver Whitecaps

Top 4 teams in each Conference will advance to the playoffs in September.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old December 20th, 2003, 02:00
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better format IMO.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old April 15th, 2004, 00:23 Thread Starter
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The A-League 2004 season starts Saturday April 17.

Support your local A-League team!

2004 Team Schedules:

Montreal Impact

Toronto Lynx

Calgary Mustangs

Edmonton Aviators

Vancouver Whitecaps
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old September 3rd, 2004, 01:28 Thread Starter
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A-League semi-finals: two-leg, aggregate score

Eastern Conference

Rochester 0-1 Montreal, Fri. Sept. 3
Montreal 1-0 Rochester, Sun. Sept. 5
Montreal wins

Richmond 0-1 Syracuse, Fri. Sept. 3
Syracuse 1-2 Richmond, Sun. Sept. 5
Syracuse wins on penalties (5-4)

Western Conference

Portland 2-1 Seattle, Wed. Sept. 1
Seattle 2-0 Portland, Sun. Sept. 5
Seattle wins

Vancouver 2-0 Minnesota, Fri. Sept. 3
Minnesota 0-1 Vancouver, Sun. Sept. 5
Vancouver wins

Last edited by Jeff; September 6th, 2004 at 19:54.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old September 6th, 2004, 20:03 Thread Starter
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Conference finals:

Seattle 1-0 Vancouver, Fri. Sept. 10
Vancouver 1-1 Seattle, Sun. Sept. 12
Seattle wins the Western Conference

Syracuse 0-2 Montreal, Fri. Sept. 10
Montreal 1-1 Syracuse, Sun. Sept. 12
Montreal wins the Eastern Conference

League Championship:

Montreal Impact will play the A-League championship final against the Seattle Sounders at Montreal’s Claude Robillard Sports Complex, this Saturday, September 18 at 7:00 pm (live on Fox Sports World, RDS, CKAC).

Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, B.C., had also been considered as a site for the final by the league’s management, but the Vancouver Whitecaps were eliminated by the Sounders in the Western Conference finals, late Sunday night, following a 1-1 tie. Seattle won the series two goals to one.

Montreal defeated the Syracuse Salty Dogs three goals to one on aggregate in the Eastern Conference finals.

The A-League final will be decided on a single 90-minute match-up, with overtime if necessary.

Tickets are on sale at the Impact office (tel. 514-328-3668) or through Réseau Admission (514-790-1245) at the same prices than during the regular season — $15 for reserved seating, and $10 (adults) and $5 (kids) in general admission.

Last edited by Jeff; September 13th, 2004 at 22:15.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old September 20th, 2004, 06:43 Thread Starter
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Montreal wins the Championship

MONTREAL, September 18, 2004 — The Montreal Impact was crowned 2004 champion, Saturday, following a 2-0 win against the Seattle Sounders in the 2004 A-League Championship. Goals by Mauricio Vincello, at the 33rd minute of play, and Fred Commodore, at the 78th minute, led to Montreal’s victory.

Montreal, who follows the Charleston Battery as the A-League reigning champions, wins the title for the second time in club history and the first time since 1994. Seattle lost in its third trip to the final, after winning the championship in 1995 and 1996.

"It was a great feeling as a player, and it’s a great feeling as a coach," said Impact head coach Nick DeSantis, who was part of the 1994 championship team, along with Mauro Biello and Lloyd Barker. "The guys have shown consistency all year, and they’ve done it all the way. They’ve been on a mission since day one and they showed today that they deserved the title."

"This final, I played the full 90 minutes, so it’s pretty special," said Biello. "This championship means a lot — I captained this team, a great group of players."

"I couldn’t hope for a better gift," said defender Gabriel Gervais, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, Saturday. "Everybody worked hard, we showed we had the better team. And all that in front of 13,000 people, it’s incredible."

The match-up was played in front of 13,648 spectators at Claude Robillard Sports Complex, a a club record for an Impact home game, regular season or playoffs. The old record — 11,019 fans — was set last August 6 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Vincello was proclaimed the Man of the Match, an honour all the more deserved considering he was knocked out by the flu, Friday, and spent the night on intravenous fluids under the care of Dr Scott Delaney, and was therefore able to recover enough to play.

"I didn’t feel so good during the warm-up, but I felt better and better during the game," said Vincello. "I wanted to play. I played all year, so I didn’t want to miss the final even if I wasn’t 100 percent."

Following a layoff from Zé Roberto in the middle of the field, Vincello ran towards the penalty area and took a high shot on the right side with the left foot that left no chance for Seattle goalkeeper Preston Burpo.

On the second goal, Nevio Pizzolitto heeled the ball back towards Commodore, who found himself alone at the right post and didn’t miss his chance from up close.

Craig Tomlinson missed a good chance for Seattle a few minutes earlier, at the 74th. After moving up on the left side, his shot hit the crossbar.

"We wanted to go at them, we said let’s go out and put some pressure on them, and that’s what we did. We scored the first goal but we wanted that second goal, and we kept going. And we put the game away," explained Biello, whose team dominated the game 16-5 in shots — 10-2 in the second half.

Goalkeeper Greg Sutton picked up his fourth shutout of the playoffs, in five starts.

"Individual honours don’t mean much if you don’t win the championship," said Sutton. "There’s such good chemistry on this team. There isn’t one guy that didn’t contribute."
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old October 8th, 2004, 21:19
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13,648 !!!!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old November 5th, 2004, 02:42
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Thanks to the Montreal Impact, Canada now owns an actual pro soccer championship.

Hearty congratulations to the Montreal Impact, who packed almost 14,000 delighted souls into the Centre Claude Robillard the other night, and knocked off the Seattle Sounders 2-0 to win the A-League championship.

This is the happiest moment in Canadian pro soccer in a long, long time. The Impact, who have come up painfully and dramatically short in the past, had been improving dramatically in recent times, playing to larger and larger crowds.

And now, they're number one.

Okay, it's a small pond. But any big fish that can put on a maple leaf and kick a soccer ball is news in these glory-starved days. And we were that close to an all-Canadian final. The Vancouver Whitecaps, who finished second in the A-League's western conference, were upset 2-1 over two games by surprising Seattle.

So as coach Nick Desantis and his troops gleefully parade their hard-earned, genuinely good-looking trophy, let us pause to assess what this championship means in the larger effort to rebuild pro soccer in Canada.

There are probably as many different theories about growing the beautiful game in Canada as there are soccer fans here. Ever since the Canadian Soccer League collapsed in the mid-nineties, there has only been one serious attempt to replace it. For about a dozen good and unalterable reasons, it went nowhere.

In the meantime, the Impact, Whitecaps and Toronto Lynx set up shop in the A-League, essentially the second division of North American soccer, even though the standard of play is far below the global standard for the second tier. And these teams - along with the Calgary Mustangs and whatever actually survives out of the Edmonton Aviators disaster - have quietly and unassumingly kept going, playing pro in a country that resolutely doesn't care.

To me, the biggest factor that can change all this is sheer excitement. People won't care about soccer because soccer fans tell them to. It amazes me how many Canadian soccer fans still don't get this. Our fans have a huge, burning passion for the game, but that doesn't generate new footy enthusiasts.

People become soccer fans when the game excites them. And most days, in our home and native land, that just doesn't happen.

Just at the moment, though, the Impact are the exception. 14,000 fans for a minor-league game in Montreal! Awesome! And they got to see the home team score a couple of delicious goals, and run around the field with an honest-to-gosh championship mug.

Okay, so they won't all be back the next time the Syracuse Salty Dogs or Milwaukee Wave United roll into town, but the Impact had already proven they could haul in 7,000 just for showing up, and that number should rise nicely when their title defence kicks off next spring.

But is it going to change anything nationally? Montreal has a good and growing soccer rivalry with Rochester, New York, but wouldn't this be a great time for Montreal and Toronto to start snarling at each other? Well, that's going to be a harder sell.

All right, I admit I probably haven't given the A-League enough attention over the years. I am probably guilty of letting a strong personal and professional dislike for Lynx honcho Nicole Hartrell keep me out of the pressbox at Centennial Park. It's a factor. I admit it. I also admit the Hartrells have done a commendable job of keeping soccer alive in my hometown. It's time to write a piece or two about the Lynx. That's my intention for next summer.

But the Lynx still aren't a very good team, and I'm seriously unsure that Montreal's championship is going to make the Impact any kind of a gate attraction in Toronto. But what the heck? Let's give it a go.

More importantly, the Impact have to go all-out for a repeat title next year. And the Whitecaps need to close the deal in the semifinals, and get all the way to the title game - at least. Championship-caliber teams at both ends of the continent is a great step forward. If the Lynx can ride that to any kind of increase relevance - or start threatening to win a title themselves - we may yet be getting somewhere.

The other subtext here, of course, is the persistent rumour that all may not be well with the much-hyped new soccer stadium for Toronto. The University of Toronto, which has pledged to fund huge portions of the project through alumni funding, remains ominously quiet on the subject, even though the federal government is ready to turn on the money hose. Such silences are not rare: I grew up on the U of T campus, and can show you several places where the University tore down houses to make way for new facilities that were never built. The vacant lots are all still there, decades later.

New Varsity Stadium is rumoured to already be the focus of a very real plan to bring Major League Soccer north of the border. Many of us hope that would amount to a revival of the old North American Soccer League, which thousands of us could bore you to death about any time, any place, ever. If that dream falls apart, the A-League will continue to be all the men's pro soccer we'll be getting up here for a long, long time.

What is certain, however, is that the Montreal Impact are the best second-division soccer team in any part of North America that isn't Mexico, and the Vancouver Whitecaps are not far behind.

It's a big step forward.

But there's still a huge and daunting distance left to go.
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