Victory out of playoff contention following loss to Montreal
SAN FRANCISCO (August 16, 2007) -- The California Victory suffered a 2-0 loss at home to the Montreal Impact Thursday night, ending any chance at making the playoffs in its inaugural season.
Roberto Brown scored in the first half and Mauricio Vincello netted in the second to help Montreal extend its unbeaten run to six games. The 2-0 scoreline was a reverse of the last meeting between the two sides, when California stunned the Impact in Quebec City last month.
California finished the game with 10 men after Federico Bianchi was ejected in the dying seconds of the match.
The game began positively as both teams took advantage of the unusually fog-free Kezar Stadium by playing some tidy, possession soccer.
Montreal threatened first through Mauro Biello, who was wide open in the 11th minute after latching on to a looping pass from the left, but the midfielder placed his shot high over the crossbar.
Back at the other end, Yuri Morales -- whose half-volleyed goal against Montreal in July was a USL-1 Goal of the Week -- found room on the right and ran the ball 15 yards before shooting into side netting.
Victory goalkeeper Eric Reed was called into action plenty throughout the night, making four crucial saves to keep the score palatable. His first stop came in the 14th minute when he denied Pat Leduc, and was at it again in the 23rd when he parried away Biello's attempt from six yards.
But Reed had no chance at saving Brown's 34th-minute strike.
A speculative pass from the midfield somehow managed to thread its way straight through the California orange, eluding three Victory players before falling to a wide-open Brown at the edge of the box. All the Montreal forward had to do was place his shot into the net past Reed, which he did confidently.
Reed pulled off another fantastic stop in the 56th minute, but the visitors were able to capitalize from the resulting corner when Joey Gjertson's kick was inadvertently flicked on by a Victory defender, leaving Mauricio Vincello to tap in at the far post to double the score.
The Vics tried to get back into the game through Morales, who had a long shot and a header saved, and Mike Munoz, who came remarkably close from 45 yards out with a dipping shot that almost caught the Montreal 'keeper off his line.
Then, to complete a miserable night for the home side, in the final seconds Federico Bianchi was bizarrely and mysteriously sent off with a straight red -- his first ever as a soccer player -- and will miss the Victory's next game.
The Vics next play second-place Seattle Sounders on Saturday at Kezar Stadium. The 7 p.m. kickoff follows a very special charity event that begins at 4:15 p.m. when the San Francisco Fire Department will take on the Police Department in a soccer "departmental derby."
The California Victory is proud to host a Toy Drive on behalf of the SFFD. All fans that donate a toy will receive a coupon for a FREE ticket to the Victory's final home game of the season, against the Carolina RailHawks on Sept. 8.
Tickets for Saturday will be available at a reduced rate -- $10 for adults, $5 for youths -- and available at Kezar Stadium prior to kickoff.
The Montreal Impact next heads to Vancouver Saturday for a matchup with fellow-Canadians Vancouver Whitecaps.
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USL First Division Stories from August 17, 2007
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