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Impact Kicks Off 2010 Season Sunday In Austin

April 10, 2010 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Montreal Impact News Release

AUSTIN, Texas - The Montreal Impact starts the defense of its 2009 championship title, Sunday, in its first 2010 season match in the USSF Second Division, against the Austin Aztex, at House Park, in Austin, (7 pm, live on austinaztex.com).

Since the Impact's debut in 1993, the team has a lifetime record of six wins, six losses and four draws in 16 season openers (18GF - 15GA).

"What is new for us this year is that we start the season as champions, so it will not be easy and we absolutely need to remain humble in the face of last year's accomplishments," declared Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos. "Season starts earlier this year, but we are prepared. Every single thing that is within our control has been executed during training camp. I expect the Aztex to come out strong."

The Impact and the Aztex are matching up for the 1st time in a season opener. The Impact has a lifetime record of 2-0-1 against the Aztex. In three matches, all played in the 2009 season, the Impact registered a 4-0 win on May 17 at Saputo Stadium, played to a 2-2 draw on July 25 in Austin, and shut out the Aztex 2-0 on August 23 in Montreal.

The Impact concluded its training camp with a record of three wins (2-1 versus UQAM/McGill, 5-1 versus Freamunde and 2-0 versus Wake Forest), two losses (2-1 versus Celta de Vigo and 1-0 versus Rochester) and three draws (1-1 versus Boavista, 1-1 versus Charleston and 1-1 versus Carolina).

"We worked hard during training camp and now we are looking forward to this first match," noted one of the team's newcomers Tyler Hemming. "What we are feeling now is excitement rather than pressure to perform well. Our mentality is to approach one game at a time as though it were a championship match each time."

New Impact team captain Nevio Pizzolitto (thigh), the Impact's MVP David Testo (abdominals), as well as newcomer Filipe Soares (Achiles tendon) did not travel with their teammates in Austin, due to injuries. Defender Simon Gatti will also miss Sunday's game due to an ankle injury that occurred Friday during training.

Defender Cédric Joqueviel is now a permanent resident of Canada and his no longer a foreign player. The seven foreign players on the Impact 2010 roster are: Philippe Billy (France), Roberto Brown (Panama), Peter Byers (Antigua and Barbuda), Stephen deRoux (Jamaica), Leonardo Di Lorenzo (Argentina), Stefano Pesoli (Italy) and Filipe Soares (Portugal).

"It's a new league, but we will find this season the same good teams that we faced in 2009," explained defender Cédric Joqueviel, who had scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win against the Aztex, on August 23, 2009. "Austin is certainly going to be motivated to start its season at home versus last year's champion team, so we will have to be ready from the start of the match. It will be important to maintain our level of play during the full 90 minutes."

Five players have joined the Impact during the offseason: midfielders Filipe Soares (Feirense, Portugal D2), Philippe Billy (Brest, France D2) and Tyler Hemming (Charleston), as well as forward Reda Agourram and goalkeeper Andrei Badescu, both players from the reserve team.

Impact technical director Nick De Santis signed new contracts with six players who were on the 2009 lineup: MVP David Testo, midfielders Leonardo Di Lorenzo, Rocco Placentino and Pierre-Rudolph Mayard, as well as defender Adam Braz and forward Roberto Brown.

This is also the season opening game for the Aztex. Eight players from last season's team core are back in 2010, including the team's best scorer Eddie Johnson, who finished the season with a total of five goals and four assists for 14 points. Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, who played 14 matches last season, is also back, as well as Kevin Sakuda, who had played a few games with the Impact in 2009.

Among the new faces in 2010, former Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) defender Leonard Griffin, as well as his brother, Maxwell Griffin, a former UCLA player. A former Kansas City Wizards player Lance Watson, midfielder Joey Worthen (Real Salt Lake) as well as defender Yohance Marshall, on loan from the Galaxy (MLS) are now with the Aztex.

The Impact will only play one game on the road prior to its home opener, April 25 at Saputo Stadium, against the Portland Timbers (2 pm, Radio-Canada, radio-canada.ca/sports, CKAC Sports, THE TEAM 990).

Tickets for the home opener are now on sale through Admission (514-790-1245 / 1-800-361-4595/ admission.com), as well as at the Saputo Stadium ticketing office. 2010 season tickets and mini-season tickets for five or ten matches are also available. For further information, dial 514-328-3668 or visit impactmontreal.com.

NEXT MATCHES

- Saturday, April 17 - IMPACT @ Antigua Barracuda FC - Sir Vivian Richards Stadium - 7:30 pm (International match)

- Sunday, April 25 - Portland @ IMPACT - Saputo Stadium - 2 pm (home opener)

- Wednesday, April 28 - IMPACT @ Toronto - BMO Field - 7:30 pm (Nutrilite Canadian Championship)

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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