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Montreal Impact, anatomy of a champion
by Paul Kennedy, October 19th, 2009 7AM



[USL-1] The Montreal Impact became first USL First Division team in a decade to sweep all its playoff games when it beat the Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-1, Saturday before more than 13,000 fans at Stade de Saputo and captured the championship series, 6-3, on aggregate. The Impact's third championship team featured a midfield corps of Americans who had previously played at Vancouver, players with MLS roots and a trio of local players who been with Montreal since the club's early days.

Ironically, the first two Impact goal scorers were former Whitecaps -- Tony Donatelli and Joey Gjertsen -- and their midfield partner, fellow American David Testo, also came to Montreal from Vancouver.

USL-1 teams often do lots of maneuvering, but only two key players -- Stephen deRoux and Eduardo Sebrango -- were in their first seasons. And they were brought in right after last season and played in the Impact's 2008-09 Concacaf Champions League campaign.

Goalie Matt Jordan was the most experienced of the Impact's five former MLS players with more than 100 appearances for Dallas and Columbus between a short and unsuccessful stint in Denmark.

One thing the Impact did not have was youth. Of the 16 players who played in the championship series, none was younger than 25.

Three players -- Nevio Pizzolitto, Mauro Biello and Rocco Placentino -- had 15 or more years of experience on the Impact. Biello's career dates back to the Impact's first year in the old A-League in 1993.

Matt Jordan (USA/34) 3rd season; MLS: Dallas (1998-2002), Columbus (2004-06).

Adam Braz (Canada/28) 6th season; MLS: Toronto FC (2007)
Cedric Joqueviel (France/27) 2nd season
Nevio Pizzolitto (Canada/33) 15th season
Stephen deRoux (Jamaica/25) 1st season; MLS: D.C. United (2006-07)
Stefano Pesoli (Italy/25) 2nd season

Leonardo Di Lorenzo (Argentina/28); 4th season
*Tony Donatelli (USA/25) 2nd season
*Joey Gjertsen (USA/27) 3rd season
*David Testo (USA/28) 3rd season; MLS: Columbus (2004-05)
Mauro Biello (Canada/37) 17th season
Patrick Leduc  (Canada/31) 4th season
Rocco Placentino (Canada/34) 15th season

Peter Byers (Antigua & Barbuda/34); 2nd season
Roberto Brown (Panama/32); 3rd season; MLS: Colorado (2007)
*Eduardo Sebrango (Cuba/36); 1st season
*Previously played for Vancouver.

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