Vics Shock Montreal 2-0
QUEBEC CITY, CANADA (July 1, 2007) -- Last-placed California Victory recorded another famous scalp of a top-flight team when they beat third-place Montreal Impact 2-0 at Sherbrooke University Stadium, Quebec City Sunday.
Montreal played the entire second half with 10 men after Mauricio Vincello was ejected, and the visiting Vics took full advantage of the extra player to score twice through Josh Hansen and Yuri Morales.
"I feel really good because we got the maximum out of our players in this game and I think we even dominated," said Victory head coach Glenn Van Straatum. "They were a man down, of course, but regardless we dominated from the get-go. I felt at half time we did not want to sit back -- we wanted to get forward and attack."
The win is only the second of the season for California -- the other coming against top-of-the table side Vancouver last month -- and puts the expansion USL side on equal footing with second-to-last Minnesota and only three points behind Miami FC, who they face Wednesday.
With the loss, Montreal misses the opportunity to go top of the standings and remains in third place.
The game's first big chance fell to Montreal when midfielder Antonio Ribeiro played in Freddy Moojen, who had made a run and was just onside. But Moojen couldn't find a white shirt with his cross and California cleared. Fullback Seth Trembly soon picked up play on the left, but he drove his shot straight into the more-than-capable hands of Victory 'keeper Eric Reed.
Minutes later Victory fullback Luis Aguilar found space 20 yards out and fired in a hard, climbing shot, but 'keeper Andrew Webber was able to punch away -- and in the resulting corner Montreal had to clear the ball off the line.
California began to look sharp and tighten up the midfield, forcing Montreal to lose its rhythm. However, in the 34th minute Ribeiro fired in a dipping, half-volleyed shot from just inside the box -- but Victory 'keeper Reed managed to push the ball onto the crossbar and out.
Toward the end of the first half the texture of the game was forever changed when Montreal defender Vincello came in hard on Aguilar, earning a second caution and his ejection. With the sending off, Montreal had lost a talisman -- Vincello was the only Impact player to have played every minute of every game this season.
Montreal almost went ahead at the half-time whistle, but they couldn't capitalize on a last-minute goal-mouth scramble.
The red card proved fatal as the Victory took the surprise lead in the 59th minute.
Midfielder Mike Muñoz whipped in fast cross from the right to top-scorer Josh Hansen, who was a few yards off the near post. Hansen, who was unmarked, glanced home a firm header for his fourth of the season, silencing the 12,000+ home crowd.
The goal gave the visitors a definite swagger, and it looked like the Vics would double the score but Hansen's would-be second goal was disallowed for offside.
Montreal also had a goal disallowed for offside, the decision frustrating Montreal head coach Nick de Santis enough to be ejected for his complaints.
Montreal certainly had their chances to equalize, with Patrick Leduc blasting high and wide from 10 yards and Charles Gbeke heading straight to Reed.
But Yuri Morales killed the game in the 84th minute with a brilliant half volley from 25 yards out. The Victory forward showed plenty of class and technique with his third goal of the season, ensuring the Vics would return home with a morale-boosting and well-deserved three points.
"I think the build up of the team and the way we play is finally coming into fruition," said Van Straatum. "What was missing before was the goals, but now we have some confidence."
He added, "We got a full effort from every player, and another shutout of course, which is fantastic."
The Vics (2-6-5, 11 points , 12th place) return home for a July 4 tussle with Miami FC. Tickets are available at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, prior to the game or at www.californiavictorysoccer.com.
The Montreal Impact (6-3-5, 23 points, 3rd place) has a week off before playing the other USL expansion side, Carolina Railhawks, at home on July 8.
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USL First Division Stories from July 1, 2007
- Vics Shock Montreal 2-0 - California Victory
- Victory Shut Out Impact - Montreal Impact
- Goal In Stoppage Gives Timbers 1-0 Win Over Miami - Portland Timbers
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