Though their time on the field has come to an end, the Austin Aztex accomplished a lot this year, and had tremendous success. And though they couldn’t put together the scoreline they needed last night, they went out in fine form, reminiscent of their peak this summer.
It was yet another beautiful evening for pro soccer at House Park. The early sunset helped make it one of the coolest games of the year. The clear skies capped a perfect record of perfect weather at Austin home games this year. We’ve had the threat of rain a few times, but never a drop since the Aztex moved to House.
The crowd of 2,872 was a little on the light side. But for a playoff game that wasn’t included in the season ticket package, and given that some 70,000 people were down at Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Festival, that’s not too shabby. Those in attendance were treated to a cracking good game, played with good skill and intensity on both sides of the ball.
The one downer in the supporters’ section was the guy with the euphonium. Props to the guy for dragging that big horn into the game. But as he continued to blow long, low tuneless notes on it throughout the game, I began to realize how bad the vuvuzelas must have been at live games in South Africa. Bring the horn back next year, bro – but play Reveille or some Sousa or something.
In the calm reflection of the day after, the taunts and jeers we direct at opposing players are usually faded and half-forgotten. Sometimes, however, there are exceptions: such is the case for Montreal’s Nevio Pizzolitto. The fact that this unsportsmanlike jerk wears the captain’s armband for the Impact is a serious blemish on the reputation of an otherwise worthy opponent. He seems to have more aptitude for the theatre than for sport; may he realize the wisdom of a career change soon.
Here’s a rundown of other post-match coverage:
- box score — USSFAttendance: 2,872
- Yesterday in the Playoffs: Rochester Loses the Hard Way; Montreal and Carolina Don’t — Eighty Six Forever
The best viewing for the neutral came in Austin, Texas, when the Aztex tried to overturn a 2-0 series deficit against the Montreal Impact. Both teams are known for their scoring and it was the Montreal attack which struck early: in the fourth minute, big Ali Gerba somehow emerged from behind his marker on a Philippe Billy free kick and neatly defected Billy’s ball past Austin’s Miguel Gallardo.
- Aztex Record-Setting Season Comes to an End — AustinAztex.com
At the open of the second half with Austin tied 1-1, Gerba gave his team a 2-1 lead in the game, but more importantly, a 4-1 aggregate lead in the series.Despite being with the Impact for only the second half of the season, Gerba’s total of 13 goals puts him at third in the league.Austin fought back valiantly all night and constantly pressured the Montreal defense causing Coach Marc Dos Santos’ heart to “skip a beat.”“What we did tonight was beat an excellent team,” he said. “Austin’s offense is a coach’s nightmare.”
- Montreal Defeat Austin, Head to Next Round of Playoffs — The NASL Fanatic
Gerba put the Impact ahead again four minutes after intermission, as he beat Gallardo with a low shot after receiving a pass from Impact midfielder Leonardo Di Lorenzo. But the Aztex had no quit in them, and came back to tie in the 58th minute as USSF D2′s second leading 2010 scorer Eddie Johnson beat Jordan from a pass by midfielder Lawrence Olum. The hopes of the Aztex fans were growing again, as the team needed two goals in the final half hour of the game. Jordan had to leave the contest because of a groin injury, and was replaced by Srjdan Djekanovic, who played almost half the Impact’s regular season games. Djekanovic was able to shut down the Aztex the rest of the way, and veteran Eduardo Sebrango gave Montreal the win in the 89th minute with a high shot that became his sixth Impact’s game-winner.
- Austin Aztex end season with loss — Austin American-Statesman
Montreal knocked Austin out of the playoffs with a 3-2 victory in the second leg of their opening-round series. The score pushed the aggregate to 5-2 in favor of the Impact, sending Montreal into the semifinals against Carolina and abruptly ending an Aztex season during which the team sat atop the league standings for much of the year.“I’m disappointed for the players because they’ve worked hard all season,” Aztex head coach Adrian Heath said. “My players have done me proud this year.”
- Video: Aztex-Impact Playoff Quarterfinals, 10-9 at Austin (3:17) — AztexSoccer on YouTube