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UPDATED - January 28, 2007

A-League Archives Home

A-League

1997 Season

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Carolina Dynamo - Charleston Battery - Connecticut Wolves - Hershey Wildcats

Jacksonville Cyclones - Long Island Rough Riders - Montreal Impact - Raleigh Flyers

Richmond Kickers - Rochester Raging Rhinos - Toronto Lynx -Worcester Wildfire

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Atlanta Ruckus - California Jaguars - Colorado Foxes - El Paso Patriots

Milwaukee Rampage - Minnesota Thunder - Nashville Metros - New Orleans Storm

Orange County Zodiac - Orlando Sundogs - Seattle Sounders -  Vancouver 86ers

 

1997 Home - 1997 Results - 1997 Stats

1997 FINAL STANDINGS

The USISL Select League changed its name to the A-League. 

It then absorbed Montreal, Rochester, Toronto,

Hershey, Atlanta, Colorado, Seattle and
Vancouver from the old A-League which then folded. 

Orlando and Orange County were added,

and South Carolina dropped to the D3 Pro League.


EASTERN CONFERENCE

Northeast Division             GP   W   L   SO   GF   GA  Pts
Montreal Impact                28  20   6  1-1   58   19   61
Rochester Raging Rhinos        28  14   9  0-5   56   47   42
Long Island Rough Riders       28  13  10  3-2   44   36   42
Toronto Lynx                   28  12  14  2-0   44   43   38
Connecticut Wolves             28   8  15  4-1   31   45   28
Worcester Wildfire             28   6  19  1-2   26   61   19

Atlantic Division              GP   W   L   SO   GF   GA  Pts
Hershey Wildcats               28  18   8  1-1   56   33   55
Carolina Dynamo                28  16   8  2-2   63   33   50
Richmond Kickers               28  15  11  0-2   41   35   45
Charleston Battery             28  10  13  2-3   39   50   32
Raleigh Flyers                 28   8  13  4-3   34   52   28
Jacksonville Cyclones          28   4  23  1-1   28   73   13

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Central Division               GP   W   L   SO   GF   GA  Pts
New Orleans Storm              28  13  10  3-2   45   42   42
Nashville Metros               28  10   9  7-2   42   34   37
Orlando Sundogs                28  12  12  0-4   39   40   36
Milwaukee Rampage              28  11  12  3-2   33   36   36
Minnesota Thunder              28  11  10  2-5   22   30   35
Atlanta Ruckus                 28   9  15  3-1   39   48   30

Pacific Division               GP   W   L   SO   GF   GA  Pts
California Jaguars             28  17  10  1-0   48   34   52
Seattle Sounders               28  16   7  2-3   42   19   50
Vancouver 86ers                28  15  11  1-1   50   29   46
Colorado Foxes                 28  15  10  1-2   55   49   46
Orange County Zodiac           28  10  17  1-0   35   62   31
El Paso Patriots               28   5  17  3-3   30   50   18

Win-3pts, Shoot Out Win-1pt


After the season, Orlando folded

1997 PLAYOFFS

MG-Mini game series tiebreaker  *-after extra time

Division Semifinals

9/3/97   Rochester   0-0  Long Island

Long Island wins shootout, 4-3

9/6/97   Long Island 1-1  Rochester

Long Island wins shootout, 3-1

Atlanta advance on 2-0 series win

 

9/5/97   Toronto     1-2  Montreal

9/7/97   Montreal    4-0  Toronto

Montreal advance on 2-0 series win

 

9/5/97   Charleston  1-1  Hershey

Hershey wins shootout, 3-1

9/7/97   Hershey     1-1  Charleston

Charleston wins shootout, 1-0

Series tied 1 game apiece

MG       Hershey     0-0  Charleston

Charleston advance on 4-2 mini-game shootout win

 

9/5/97   Richmond    1-2  Carolina

9/6/97   Carolina    1-4  Richmond

Series tied 1 game apiece

MG       Carolina    0-0  Richmond

Carolina advance on 3-2 mini-game shootout win

 

9/4/97   Nashville   1-2  Milwaukee

9/7/97   Milwaukee   3-0  Nashville

Milwaukee advance on 2-0 series win

 

9/4/97   Orlando     1-2  New Orleans

9/7/97   New Orleans 6-2  Orlando

New Orleans advance on 2-0 series win

 

9/4/97   Colorado    0-3  Seattle

9/6/97   Seattle     2-0  Colorado

Seattle advance on 2-0 series win

 

9/5/97   Vancouver   4-1  California

9/7/97   California  2-2  Vancouver

Vancouver win shootout, 2-1

Vancouver advance on 2-0 series win

 

Division Finals

9/12/97  Long Island 2-1  Montreal

9/14/97  Montreal    2-0  Long Island

Series tied 1 game apiece

MG       Montreal    0-0  Long Island

Long Island advance on 4-1 mini-game shootout win

 

9/11/97  Charleston  3-3  Carolina

Charleston win shootout, 4-3

9/14/97  Carolina    2-1  Charleston

Series tied 1 game apiece

MG       Carolina    1-0  Charleston

Carolina advance on mini-game win

 

9/12/97  Milwaukee   2-1* New Orleans

9/14/97  New Orleans 3-4  Milwaukee

Milwaukee advance on 2-0 series win

 

9/12/97  Vancouver   3-0  Seattle

9/14/97  Seattle     0-0  Vancouver

Seattle wins shootout, 1-0

Series tied 1 game apiece

MG       Seattle     1-1  Vancouver

Vancouver advance on 3-1 mini-game shootout win

 

Conference Finals

9/19/97  Long Island 1-2  Carolina

9/21/97  Carolina    2-0  Long Island

Carolina advance on 2-0 series win

 

9/19/97  Milwaukee   3-1  Vancouver

9/21/97  Vancouver   0-0  Milwaukee

Milwaukee wins shootout, 3-0

Milwaukee advance on 2-0 series win

 

A-League Championship

9/27/97  Milwaukee   1-1  Carolina

Milwaukee win shootout 3-0

Leading Goalscorers

Doug Miller, Rochester             23

Mark Baena, California             20

Jamel Mitchell, Nashville          17

Stern John, New Orleans            16

Steve Patterson, Colorado          16

Gustavo Leal, Orange County        16

Dominic Mobilio, Vancouver         14

Sebastian Barnes, Orlando          14

Jimmy Glenn, Rochester             13

Darren Tilley, Montreal            13

 

Goalkeeping Leaders                GAA

Dusty Hudock, Seattle             0.67

Paolo Ceccarelli, Montreal        0.77

John Swallen, Minnesota           0.92

Paul Dolan, Vancouver             0.95

Pat Onstad, Toronto               1.07

Kevi Rueda, California            1.18

Randy Dedini, Nashville           1.19

Marcos Machado, Orlando           1.19

 

1997 A-League Award Winners

Most Valuable Player:  Doug Miller, Rochester Ragin' Rhinos
Top Goal Scorer:  Doug Miller, Rochester Ragin' Rhinos
Top Goalkeeper:  Dusty Hudock, Seattle Sounders
Coach of the Year: Bob Lilleo, Hershey Wildcats
Championship Game MVP: Carmine Isacco, Milwaukee Rampage
Rookie of the Year:  Stern John, New Orleans Storm
 

1997 A-League First XI

G - Dusty Hudock, Seattle Sounders
D - John Limniatis, Montreal Impact
D - Scott Schweitzer, Carolina Dynamo
D - Mark Watson, Seattle Sounders
D - Travis Rinker, Long Island Rough Riders
M - Yari Allnutt, Carolina Dynamo
M - Mauro Biello, Montreal Impact
M - Garret Kusch, Vancouver 86ers
F - Mark Baena, California Jaguars
F - Doug Miller, Rochester Rhinos
F - Stern John, New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers

 

Home Attendance     G    Total    Avg.

Rochester          14  149,481   10,677

Montreal           14   70,924    5,066

Long Island        14   58,052    4,147

Minnesota          14   53,933    3,852

Vancouver          14   49,812    3,558

Milwaukee          14   44,307    3,165

Hershey            14   43,932    3,138

Seattle            14   40,221    2,873

El Paso            14   38,226    2,730

Carolina           14   36,474    2,605

Connecticut        14   34,825    2,488

Atlanta            14   33,687    2,406

Jacksonville       14   29,394    2,100

Richmond           14   26,948    1,925

Raleigh            14   25,521    1,823

Charleston         14   24,320    1,737

Nashville          14   22,848    1,632

Worcester          14   21,545    1,539

Toronto            14   21,533    1,538

Orlando            14   21,196    1,514

Orange County      14   17,898    1,278

New Orleans        14   15,226    1,088

Colorado           14   13,759      983

California         14    9,780      699

LEAGUE            336  903,842    2,690

 

Overview of the 1997 A-League Season - From the American Soccer History Archives

Less than a month after the conclusion of the 1996 season, the A-League reached a merger agreement with the USISL, bringing all outdoor lower divisions into one corporate entity. What actually happened is the original A-League folded, and five of the six remaining teams joined the USISL Select League which adopted the "A-League" name. Also joining were the two expansion A-League teams, Toronto and Hershey. The old A-league's New York Fever sat out the year, eventually joining the USISL D3Pro League as the Staten Island Vipers. This new league provided a stronger training ground for up and coming MLS players.

To facilitate this, the A-League laid plans to establish an elite team consisting of promising newcomers culled from the top ranks of the NCAA college ranks. Dubbed "US Project 40", this team, starting in 1998, would practice full time, and play a full schedule against the other A-League teams. All players would be signed with MLS clubs and be subject for promotion to the MLS for varying lengths of service. This was intended to bypass the shortcomings of college soccer as a training ground for future professionals and give the amount of playing/practice time and quality of competition required to develop players to their fullest potential and ensure a steady flow of new talent to MLS, and ultimately the National Team.

The reconfigured A-League consisted of 24 teams in four divisions. The new teams from the old A-League immediate made their impact felt, as they immediately assumed commanding positions within the league standings. Montreal and Rochester finished 1-2 in the Northeast Division while expansion Toronto finished a respectable 4th. The fledgling Hershey Wildcats won the Atlantic, while Seattle, Vancouver and Colorado finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Pacific. Only the struggling Atlanta Ruckus failed to make an impact. Making their first impact this season were future MLS stars Stern John and Dominic Mobilio.

The old A-League teams generally were top performers at the box office, with the notable exception of Colorado who were feeling the competition from the MLS Rapids; they would move to San Diego after the season. The Rochester Rhinos averaged an incredible 10,677 per game, better than a couple MLS teams, leading to a push for them to apply for the MLS. Total league attendance was 1,085,777 (2,828 per game).

To make the different leagues more consistent, the round robin tournaments were eliminated in favor of straight divisional playoffs followed by a final four. Surprisingly, the A-League teams, who performed so well during the regular season, fell short when it really counted, as only Vancouver made it to the Conference Finals where they bowed to the Milwaukee Rampage 3-1, 0-1, after a mini-game and shootout. Carolina defeated the Long Island Rough Riders, leading to the first unified Championship, where Milwaukee won their first league title, defeating Carolina 1-1 in the shootout. Thus capped an amazing surge by a team that had not qualified for the playoffs until the final week of the season.

 

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