MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact won their very last game in the second division on Saturday night, beating the Atlanta Silverbacks 4-0 on the road, but all hopes of making the playoffs disappeared when the Minnesota Stars won in Carolina to take over the sixth and final spot.
Portland Timbers loanee Ryan Pore (pictured above) netted a hat-trick for Montreal, while Miguel Montaño, on loan from the Seattle Sounders, scored the other goal.
The team finished the NASL season in seventh place, with a record of 9-11-8, but will rue a slow start to the season that saw them win only two out of 14 games.
The arrival on loan of Pore and Montaño, as well the signing of ex-New York Red Bulls midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic, improved the team in the second part of the season, in which they won seven, tied four and lost three. Ubiparipovic played a central role in the team’s revival and showed flashes of brilliance that had been lacking in the Montreal midfield.
The players and staff, who arrived in back in Montreal on Sunday afternoon, will now be looking forward as the team prepares for its first season in MLS next year.
“I’m extremely proud of the players, because they reacted very well after a bad start,” said technical director and interim coach Nick De Santis. “We played very well at the end of the season and I’m disappointed for the fans because they witnessed some great soccer in the past weeks.”
De Santis will now be heading to London to meet 2012 head coach Jesse Marsch, who has been there for the past week. Marsch has already been in talks with a few potential players who could be part of the team next season.
Both he and De Santis will return to Montreal on Wednesday to begin preparations for a small training camp due to begin on Monday, Oct. 3. The week-long camp will feature most of the current squad as well as a few prospects that Marsch has identified.