Montreal earns playoff bye

August 29, 2005

Brief reports of United Soccer Leagues play this week.

USL First Division

Friday, August 26

Virginia Beach Mariners 0 at Montreal Impact 1

Making his return after being out 12 games to injury, Eduardo Sebrango came off the bench to score the game-winner on the last kick of the game on a corner kick that was not completely cleared. Sebrango, who put the ball away from the top of the six, also scored the Impact's 1-0 winner earlier in the season at Virginia Beach.

Puerto Rico Islanders 2 at Seattle Sounders 2

Mauricio Salles brought the Islanders back twice in the match as the club continued its playoff chase. Seattle's Keven Sakuda opened the scoring 11 minutes in, but a Salles penalty kick conversion tied it up in the 34th. Two minutes later, Brent Whitfield restored Seattle's lead which held until a long-range strike from Salles found the back of the net in the 74th for the draw.

Saturday, August 27

Portland Timbers 0 at Charleston Battery 1

Headed toward a scoreless draw, late sub Alon Lubezky found the twine two minutes from time to give the home side three points in the playoff chase.

Puerto Rico Islanders 0 at Vancouver Whitecaps 2

The Whitecaps greatly improved their odds to secure the postseason by moving four points clear of fourth-place Richmond on a pair of Jason Jordan strikes. The league leader struck in the 55th and hit his 17th in the 71st. Josh Wicks made six saves in the shutout. Sunday's results would put the Whitecaps into the playoffs.

Sunday, August 28

Rochester Raging Rhinos 0 at Montreal Impact 2

It was big night for the Impact, defeating rival and second-place Rochester to secure a spot in the top two for a first-round bye in the playoffs to the semifinals. Mauro Biello opened the scoring 15 minutes in and defender Gabriel Gervais provided an insurance tally in the 65th as Greg Sutton posted four saves for the clean sheet.

Portland Timbers 2 at Atlanta Silverbacks 1

The Timbers registered an important win over a fellow contender in the race for the final playoff berth. Dan Antoniuk scored twice to give Portland commanding control of their own destiny with a two point lead and at least one game in hand on the others. Antoniuk scored the lone first half goal in the 29th minute and converted a penalty in the 52nd. Atlanta defender David Hayes cut the lead in half in the 74th, but was not enough.

Richmond Kickers 0 at Minnesota Thunder 2

With Liberian international Melvin Tarley headed to Real Salt Lake, fellow Liberian Aaron Paye filled his shoes nicely for the Thunder with a pair of second half goals. His strikes came early and three minutes apart in the 48th and 51st. Joe Warren made five saves to help keep the Thunder's slim playoff hopes alive while Richmond continues to slide down the table.

Virginia Beach Mariners 1 at Toronto Lynx 1

The bottom two teams in the table were still clinging to playoff hopes, but a draw threw them out the window for both sides. Abraham Francois scored two minutes before the break for Toronto and the Mariners' Jakob Fenger tied the match up in the 83rd

USL First Division Standings (Points, W-L-D)

x - Montreal 52 (15-2-7)

x - Rochester 45 (13-7-6)

x - Vancouver 42 (11-4-9)

Richmond 38 (10-7-8)

Seattle 38 (9-4-11)

Portland 32 (8-8-8)

-------------------------- Atlanta 30 (9-13-3)

Charleston 29 (8-13-5)

Puerto Rico 29 (7-10-8)

Minnesota 28 (6-9-10)

Virginia Beach 22 (5-13-7)

Toronto 17 (3-13-8)

x - Clinched playoff berth (top six)

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