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Silverbacks handed 4-0 loss in season finale

ATLANTA -- Minnesota came out like a team fighting for a playoff spot. Atlanta came out like a team already eliminated from the NASL postseason race.

Ryan Pore scored three goals Saturday night to lead the Impact (9-11-8) past the Silverbacks (4-20-4) 4-0 in the regular season finale for both sides.

A win by Minnesota kept Montreal out of the playoffs, but little solace was found in that by the home team.

"It's a tough game to end on this year," said goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, a native of Lawrenceville who made two skillful saves to keep the final score from being worse. "The fans were so great. We wanted to give them a good send-off. ... We really appreciate all the support, but there are a lot of things we can build on."

Pore beat Maurer and the Atlanta defense early for all the scoring Montreal would need. Amir Lowery fed a pass to Pore in the box in the seventh minute, and the Impact forward put a shot past Maurer for a 1-0 lead.

The final goal for Pore came at the end of a controversial call in the box in the 54th minute. A ball was played and struck Atlanta defender Tyler Ruthven on the arm. The referee awarded a penalty kick to Montreal despite the Silverbacks' protest that it was unintentional. Pore buried the PK past Maurer to give the Impact a 4-0 lead.

Miguel Montano's score in the 18th minute and Pore's goal in the 30th minute filled out the score sheet for Montreal.

Ruthven said he didn't see much positive in a 4-0 drubbing, but he complimented the fans' support in a season with just four wins.

"These guys stuck around, stuck by us all year," Ruthven said. "All we can do is hope we can give them a better product next year."

Conor Chinn, a former member of Real Salt Lake of MLS who joined the Silverbacks midseason, was upbeat about the team's improvement over the year after starting with open tryouts.

"We obviously have a lot to improve on. But at least next year it'll be really hard to do worse," Chinn said with a grin. "Everyone got brought together about the same time. It definitely takes some time for a team to find its identity, its style of play. Obviously we're still trying to find it. We've seen glimpses of it this season. I think going into next season we definitely have stuff to work on."