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Montreal Ousts the Salsa From APSL Playoffs


FULLERTON — The Salsa stretched Montreal to the limit, but the Impact held on to win, 2-1, in a sudden-death shootout of a mini-game that decided the American Professional Soccer League semifinal series Sunday night at Titan Stadium.

Patrick Diote's overtime kick sent Montreal into the APSL championship game against Colorado, Oct. 15 in Montreal. The Salsa's season comes to a frustrating end.

The teams were tied, 1-1, at the end of the first shootout. Lloyd Barker gave the Impact a 1-0 lead, but Paulinho's kick tied the score.

The Salsa had won the regular game, 3-0, behind two goals from Paulinho, then battled the Impact to a scoreless tie in the 30-minute mini-game before Montreal wound up with its fifth victory over the Salsa this season in as many games.

Salsa Coach Rick Davis was disappointed it came down to a shootout. "I didn't like shootouts when I was a player in the old North American Soccer League," he said. He likes them even less now.

"What we ended up seeing was two evenly matched teams," he said. "In this scenario, Montreal prevailed. In another, the Salsa might have prevailed."

Davis said he also was disappointed because he was "delivered the best collection of players in the entire league . . . and we under-achieved from that standpoint."

Davis left his future as coach of the team undecided until he meets with team owner Dr. William De La Pena.

Davis said he had to go all-out as a coach in the regulation game, while Montreal's one-game lead gave the Impact more opportunity to rest players for the mini-game.

Montreal had defeated the Salsa, 2-1, Friday night in Montreal to take the advantage in the two-game semifinal series. The Salsa dominated the second semifinal game. The Salsa scored in the 40th minute of the first half when Thor Lee connected on a low, skidding kick that went in untouched. Lawrence Lozzano had the assist on a pass from the side that Lee took at mid-goal.

Paulinho controlled the second half. He scored the Salsa's second goal on a free kick in the 78th minute that sailed over the wall and bounced off the hand of Impact goalkeeper Pat Harrington. A foul by Impact defender Randy Doliscat set up the kick.

Paulinho added another goal on a header into the left corner of the goal in the 86th minute, assuring the Salsa a victory in the regular game. Yari Allnutt had the assist on the goal.

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