Chalk up another learning experience in the young life of Team America. The lesson: losing for the first time in North American Soccer League play.
Team America dropped a 1-0 decision to the Manic before 8,109 at Olympic Stadium this afternoon.
Yugoslav forward Dragan Vujovic scored the game's lone goal and his third of the season at 21:16. Dale Mitchell and Gerry Gray assisted.
The loss made Team America's record 2-1 and left Vancouver (5-0) as the only unbeaten NASL team.
"This loss is a little bitter for us," said Team America Coach Alkis Panagoulias. "It was a good game and I thought we had a few good chances to win it. It is unfair to lose, 1-0."
Apart from losing, the game saw another first for Team America, as it gave up its first goal of the season. Vujovic's goal snapped a period of 216 minutes of shutout soccer, with Paul Hammond in the goal throughout.
"It was our first taste at trailing in a game," said Panagoulias. "We didn't change our basic style once we got behind . . . I thought we should have least tied the score."
Boris Bandov and Andrew Parkisnon replaced Pedro DeBrito and Chico Borja at 59:42 as Team America pressed for the equalizer. Team America outshot the Manic, 10-8, but was thwarted by rookie goalkeeper Ed Gettemeier.
Gettemeier made eight saves to give Montreal (3-2) its first shutout of the season. He made several fine stops, including two in the first half against Tony Crescitelli.
Hammond was tested four times, but had no chance on Vujovic's goal.
Panagoulias said the despair of defeat would be short-lived.
"We have to start planning for our next game," he said, referring to Wednesday's game against Seattle at RFK Stadium. "This is our first loss, but not the last. We are on the right path . . . However, it is clear we do need some more players."
The game lacked excitement and intensity, not helping the cause of soccer in Montreal.