CP article: Lynx Suffer First Loss
posted on Voyageurs message board by Winnipeg Fury (original story by Neil Davidson).

Lynx suffer first loss of A-League season

 TORONTO (CP) -- Injuries and some woeful finishing took their toll Tuesday night as
the Toronto Lynx surrendered their title as the last undefeated team in the A-League
with a 1-0 loss to the Hershey Wildcats.

 The defeat dropped Toronto's record to 6-1-2 in the 25-team league while Hershey
improved to 5-7-1. Toronto was 5-0 at home prior to the game.

 A mistake at the back cost the Lynx a first-half goal and, despite long periods of
sustained pressure in the second half, they were unable to convert their chances.

 Toronto midfielder Brian Ashton had a glorious chance to tie the game in injury time
after dribbling past the goalie but fired his shot into the side netting.

 The Lynx were hurting coming into the match, missing injured captain and defender
Marco Reda (thigh) and defensive midfielder Lyndon Hooper (hamstring).

 Perhaps as a result, the Lynx lived dangerously at the back in the first half and paid for
it with a goal in the 35th minute when a short back pass by defender Adrian Serioux,
replacing Reda, was intercepted by Steve Klein. The Hershey striker had a clean run at
goal, slotting a shot in the corner of the goal past a diving Theo Zagar.

 It was just Zagar's fifth goal conceded in 795 minutes this season.

 "I don't want to find too many excuses but we're missing some key players on our
team," said Toronto coach Peter Pinizzotto. "And you hate to stretch your lineup but we
had some great chances in the first half. Their goalie came up big."

 Colombian striker Juan Arango suffered a hamstring injury in the first half, joining a
list of Lynx wounded that also includes David DiPlacido and Edgar Bartolomeu.

 Toronto carries just 18 players and may have to find some new faces in advance of
Sunday's home game against Rochester.

 It was Union and Employee Night at Varsity Stadium, but it seemed most of the
brothers and sisters had taken the night off. The crowd was woefully small, with the
nine mascots on hand practically running out of patrons to greet in the empty stands.

 Counting an exhibition game against Italy's Reggina, Toronto has averaged about
3,300 fans this season. But few came out on an unseasonably chilly night Tuesday.

 The team said 1,427 tickets had been sold. Where their holders were was a mystery.

 It was a depressing sight, coming in the middle of Euro 2000 with soccer enjoying
such a high profile.

 The mascots, meanwhile, combined for a four-a-side game during halftime, with the
stadium PA announcer enthusiastically describing passing plays between the Pizza
Pizza Dough Boy and the Big Chicken as cartoon music belted over the sound system.

 After yet another missed chance by the Lynx early in the second half, a fan yelled
"Bring back the mascots." But the Big Chicken had left the building.

 The right side of the Lynx defence looked vulnerable from the get-go, especially
matched against the speed of Hershey striker Jamel Mitchell. The marking was slack at
the back and in the midfield, giving the Wildcats plenty of room to operate.

 Up front, the Lynx finishing was dreadfully slack.

 Toronto had its chances but was stopped twice in the first half by Hershey goalie Rich
Sletvold, who got his body in the way of close-range shots by Arango and midfielder
Nebojsa Vignjevic.

 The Lynx attack misfired repeatedly in the second half, which Toronto dominated, but
an acrobatic Sletvold was equal to the task when the shots found their target.

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