Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Expansion Impact Still Have Goals to Achieve despite Missing MLS Playoffs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Expansion Impact Still Have Goals to Achieve despite Missing MLS Playoffs

Article excerpt

Impact hope to end first MLS season in style


MONTREAL - There are consolation prizes still to be had for the Montreal Impact despite missing the Major League Soccer playoffs.

Coach Jesse Marsch's club wants to win the final game of its expansion season over the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at Saputo Stadium in order to finish first among the three Canadian-based teams in MLS.

That would give it the top seed for next year's Amway Canadian Championship and, at least theoretically, an easier first-round meeting with Edmonton of the second-tier NASL instead of facing Toronto FC or the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS.

And Montreal hopes to top Vancouver for the most points earned in an MLS season by a Canadian team. The Impact and Whitecaps each have 42 points, with Vancouver ending its season Saturday night on the road at Real Salt Lake. Montreal holds the tiebreaker with 10 more goals scored.

Marsch hopes the Impact can sew up those honours before the Whitecaps game kicks off.

''It would mean I could have a nice dinner with a nice glass of wine and not have to think about it,'' Marsch said Friday. ''But I always watch the games anyway.

''And I'm happy for Vancouver that in their second year (in MLS) they've been able to get in the playoffs. That's always a big accomplishment. It's something we'll certainly be shooting for next year.''

The Whitecaps have clinched the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference to become the first Canadian squad to reach the post-season. Toronto FC has missed the playoffs in all six of its MLS campaigns, never garnering more than 39 points (in 2009).

Making it to the post-season is tougher in the East, where Montreal (12-15-6) can only finish seventh.

''We can be pleased with the effort we've had since the start of the year,'' said Impact captain Davy Arnaud. ''We've formed a solid group and we've bought into the ideas the coaching staff tried to get across.

''We've had good results in the second half. If we're in the west, we're in a playoff spot now, but the way the points have worked out, we just miss out. …

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