(SLAM! Sports): Lynx snap winless streak
Friday, July 13, 2001
Lynx snap winless streak
By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Sports
TORONTO -- The Toronto Lynx ended an eight-game winless streak tonight, defeating Northern Conference leaders Hershey Wildcats 1-0 before 2,174 fans at Varsity Stadium in A-League Soccer action.
With the win, their third of the season, Toronto gain a valuable four points in the standings and inch closer towards the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the Long Island Rough Riders who are tied for fifth in the conference with 19 points. The Lynx sit in last place with 13 points with a record of 3-10-1.
The win could not have come at a better time for the Lynx. Stuck in horrible losing streak, Toronto's last victory came on June 3rd, a 1-0 decision over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at home. Had they lost tonight, you could have considered Toronto dead and buried for the season with no way of making the post-season.
Toronto outplayed and out-hustled the Wildcats for 90 minutes and controlled the majority of possession thanks to spirited play from midfielders Robbie Aristodemo, David DiPlacido, Darryl Gomez and newcomer Gregory Messam.
The Lynx scored in the second minute of play when Aristodemo picked off a Hershey pass deep in their own half and made a brilliant rush down the right side of the 18-yard box, feathering a lovely pass into the middle to striker Juan Arango who effortlessly tapped the ball into the net past a helpless Hershey goalkeeper Jon Busch. It was the Colombian native's first goal of the season.
Arango nearly collected his second goal of the night four minutes later when a Aristodemo free kick found the striker all alone on the left side of Hershey's 18-yard box, only to head the ball wide of the post.
The Lynx took a 1-0 lead into the second half and managed to run Hershey into the ground. Quick, timely runs forward by Arango and Gomez kept the Hershey defense on its toes while DiPlacido and Aristodemo controlled traffic from the middle. Argentine striker Waldo Sponton was a spark plug on the field for Toronto, scrapping and fighting for loose balls and stripping Hershey players of possession several times in their own end.
Hershey really came on in the final 15 minutes of the game, threatening to tie the affair with several dangerous scoring chances. Toronto's defense hung tough, denying the Wildcats at every turn as backup goalkeeper Yuri Elkaim earned his first victory of the season.
The game was a gut check for the Lynx. For the first time in over a month, Toronto looked impressive in its control of the game. Their play on the field had purpose and pace to it and the team created several quality scoring chances from midfield.
After the game, Toronto head coach Peter Pinizzotto praised his club, stating tonight's game was the best the Lynx had looked all season.
"It's nice to finally get the monkey off our backs," Pinizzotto told SLAM! Sports in a post game interview. "It's been a while since we won and it's great that we got the win and were able to build up some confidence."
Pinizzotto was very complimentary of newcomer Messam, a member of Jamaica's national team with 75 caps.
"He was great out there. He's got a great touch on the ball, he has great pace and he's going to be a tremendous asset to this club."
NOTES: The Lynx travel to Rochester tomorrow to take on the Raging Rhinos. Their next home game is on Saturday, July 21st against the Long Island Rough Riders... After tonight's contest, the Lynx have only scored seven goals in 13 games while giving up 20... Backup goalkeeper Yuri Elkaim made his third start of the season, playing in reserve of regular starter Theo Zagar who is still out with a ankle injury. Toronto also had to do without the services of starters Adrian Serioux, Mauricio Vincello and Lyndon Hooper who were also out with injuries. Midfielder Chris Pozniak did not play as he is in Ottawa playing for Canada this weekend in the Francophone Games... The Lynx have let go striker Francisco Dos Santos. The Brazilian had not scored in ten games for the Lynx this season... Midfielder Brian Ashton was honoured prior to kickoff for playing in his 100th game for the club.
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