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How Champion Montreal Overcame Early Season Woes
USL Soccer, October 19th, 2009 4:45PM

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The Montreal Impact's season did not go as planned. In March, Montreal suffered a demoralizing Concacaf Champions League defeat. After taking a 2-0 lead in the first leg against Mexican power Santos Laguna, the Impact watched as Santos scored five goals in the second leg, two in stoppage time, to reach the semifinal round. When Montreal's league campaign began, it drew its first game, then lost the next three. After a coaching change, in which Marc Dos Santos replaced John Limniatis, Montreal crashed out of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, losing two games to Vancouver and then losing 6-1 to Toronto FC in a game in which Toronto needed a four-goal victory margin to advance.
 
Despite all of these setbacks, however, Montreal rallied late in the season to carry its momentum into the postseason. Like rival Vancouver, which Montreal defeated, 6-3, on aggregate in the two-leg championship series, Montreal finished the season with only one loss in its last 10 games. "It was a difficult season for us," Mauro Biello said. "The [loss to] Santos Laguna and the psychological impact that had on us, starting off the season really bad and then coming back and growing as a team, showing character with the results and confidence and peaking at the right time. That's what happened. The momentum we had at the end of the season, we brought it into the playoffs and I gotta congratulate all of my teammates and the organization on the fantastic job they did."
 
Coach Dos Santos credits the team's hard work and preparation for turning the season around. "We continued working. We never gave up," said Dos Santos after winning the title Saturday. "Even in bad moments, we stayed in our motto, we stayed in our principles. We just knew that with work, we would get here and that's what happened. We always continued working."

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