Preview: Sporting look to restore dominance against Impact

SKC vs. MTL, 5-5-12

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SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. MONTREAL IMPACT
LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
May 5, 2012 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #83)
8:30 p.m. ET (KSMO; TVA)

Sporting Kansas City return to action after a week off, when they meet the expansion Montreal Impact for the first time on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting saw their undefeated and untied start to the season ended last time out, a 1-0 loss at the Portland Timbers. The Impact are coming off the second victory in the club's MLS history, a 2-0 victory against those same Timbers.

REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Brian Poeschel; JAR (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Jorge Luna Hernandez
MLS Career: 11 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 6; pens: 2

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INJURY REPORT:

  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY - OUT: GK Eric Kronberg (lower back strain); DF Seth Sinovic (R broken hand); DOUBTFUL: DF Shawn Singh (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Cyprian Hedrick (bilateral Achilles tendonitis)
  • MONTREAL IMPACT - OUT: DF Zarek Valentin (R calf contusion); DOUBTFUL: MF Justin Mapp (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Nelson Rivas (L hamstring strain); DF Gienir Garcia (L knee contusion); MF Davy Arnaud (L hamstring strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: MTL: Sanna Nyassi

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Aurelien Collin ... MTL: Felipe Martins, Bernardo Corradi

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME: First meeting.

RETURN MATCHES: 7/4: Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS); 9/22: Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City, 1 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS)

Coaches record: Jesse Marsch vs. KC: first game ... Peter Vermes vs. MTL: first game

SPORTING KANSAS CITY

Sporting Kansas City return to action after a weekend off, their last match their first loss of the season, a 1-0 defeat by the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field. Sporting have 21 points from 8 matches to lead the Eastern Conference.

HIGHLIGHTS: Own goal dooms Sporting in Portland

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came after 40 minutes. Portland's Kris Boyd ran down a long pass to the right corner and put in a cross. Defenders Chance Myers and Julio Cesar collided while trying to clear, leading to Myers heading the ball into his own net.
  • Sporting head coach Peter Vermes made one change to the team that posted a 3-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Julio Cesar returned to the side in place of Paulo Nagamura.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Julio Cesar (Paulo Nagamura 76), Roger Espinoza - Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi, Bobby Convey (Teal Bunbury 71) - C.J. Sapong.

TEAM NEWS

  • Sporting saw their bid for MLS history ended in the loss to Portland. With seven consecutive wins in regulation to start the season, they fell one short of the eight recorded by the Los Angeles Galaxy - their first eight games in MLS history.
  • "Look, I hate losing, but I have to put into context. If we came in here and didn't play well I think the guys would be feeling a bit different," said KC head coach Peter Vermes. "Overall, I think our guys are happy with the way they played. From their perspective sometimes you have to chalk it up and move on - they don't like to lose either - and this game will definitely sit in our minds."
  • Sporting have still allowed just three goals over the course of the season, and have not allowed more than a goal in a single game.
  • "We've only lost by scoring on ourselves, and that was a freak own goal. I've never seen anything like that before in my life. But other than that, I think we've been doing fine," said Bobby Convey.
  • Following the match, left back Seth Sinovic underwent surgery for a fractured right hand suffered during the game. He is expected to miss 2-3 weeks, but will not available for the Montreal game.
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  • Michael Harrington, who made one start over the final two months of last season after starting 15 of the first 23 league games, will deputize.
  • "I think Michael has matured a lot, knowing that a lot of things can happen over the course of the season,"Vermes said. "The one thing you have to make sure of from a player's point of view is that when you get your opportunity, you're ready. I think Michael's attitude has been great, and I do think he's ready."
  • Despite playing a third game in eight days and facing a number of players with aches and pains, Vermes kept his first-choice lineup for the Portland game - even returning Julio Cesar to the group after he missed the contest in Vancouver.
  • "Physically, for playing three games in eight days, we were good," Vermes said. "That bodes some big-time dividends for us later in the season."
  • With the weekend off, Vermes took the opportunity to give his team some time off. But it was back to the training ground this past week.
  • "We have some things that we just want to work on, that we thought this would be a good time. I don't really want to discuss too much what that is, but it's just a part of our game that we can be a little better at," said Vermes.

MONTREAL IMPACT

The Montreal Impact remained unbeaten on their home ground in league play, getting a pair of late goals for a 2-0 win against the Portland Timbers on Saturday afternoon at Olympic Stadium. The Impact are in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 8 points from 9 matches.

HIGHLIGHTS: Montreal cut down Timbers at Stade Olympique

LAST MATCH

  • Both goals came in the final quarter-hour. Bernardo Corradi sent the Impact into the lead in the 76th minute when he converted a penalty kick after Timbers newcomer Steven Smith was whistled for a handball in the box.
  • Then in the 84th minute, an unmarked Sinisa Ubiparipovic delivered the insurance goal after finishing a Davy Arnaud cross at the far post, finishing off a quick movement by tapping the ball into an empty net.
  • Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was credited with four saves in delivering the club's shutout in MLS play.
  • Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made no changes to the team that playing to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Zarek Valentin, Shavar Thomas, Matteo Ferrari, Tyson Wahl - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Collen Warner, Justin Mapp (Lamar Neagle 57) - Sanna Nyassi (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 68), Bernardo Corradi (Eduardo Sebrango 89).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact kept a clean sheet for the first time in MLS play, in their ninth game. "When we got the lead, it was like, ëWe've been here before, we know how to handle this,'" said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. "We killed the game at different moments. We kept the ball at different moments. We still had opportunities to increase the lead, which we wind up doing."
  • Said Davy Arnaud: "We handled [the pressure] pretty well. I think they had one good look at the very end, but we defended well. Our shape, for the most part, was good. We did a good job of keeping possession a little bit, being a little smarter, holding up the ball for a corner, wasting some time. Overall, I think we did pretty good."
  • Bernardo Corradi extended his goalscoring streak to three games in the win against Portland, then added his first MLS assist.
  • "Things have been getting much better. The precision behind our passes is improving and the finishing as well," Corradi said. "Our intensity is getting much higher. We battled today and we managed the game better."
  • SKC - MTL: Avant-match

  • The Impact have scored goals in four consecutive games, and have hit for two goals three times in the last six.
  • "We've tried hard to work on when to go for those attacking plays, and when to go for that extra pass. We have players that are good with their feet, and we have some fast and explosive players that can create havoc. We are still trying to fine tune that balance on when to do what," Marsch said. "If we would have held on to the ball a little longer in the first half, and made that extra pass, we would have had even better opportunities."
  • Sinisa Ubiparipovic scored his second goal with the Impact, his first since making his only start of the season April 7 vs. Toronto. Ubiparipovic has come on as a substitute two of the last three games.
  • "We said all along that we've been playing well enough to get results, but we haven't gotten the points. Now, some of those results are coming, so for me personally, I want to keep pushing and make Jesse's job as hard as possible," said Ubiparipovic. "It's a different preparation coming on as a sub. When you start, you don't know what to expect. When you come on later in the game, you have to prepare yourself mentally for what type of game is being played."
  • "We have a lot of players that look really sharp right now. That would include Lamar Neagle and Sinisa Ubiparipovic. Nelson Rivas is coming back, Hassoun Camara has looked good, so has Patrice Bernier,"said Marsch. "So there have been days in training when the reserves have whipped the first team's butt. That's a good thing. Different games require different things and I'm fortunate as a coach to have these choices to put into the game, like Sinisa today. Once he got in, he made a good impact on the game."
  • On Wednesday, the Impact started their Canadian Championship campaign with a scoreless draw with Toronto FC at Olympic Stadium. The second leg will be played May 9 at BMO Field.
  • Here's the Impact team: Donovan Ricketts - Jeb Brovsky, Shavar Thomas, Matteo Ferrari, Tyson Wahl; Collen Warner, Felipe (Justin Braun 86), Davy Arnaud, Lamar Neagle (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 71); Sanna Nyassi, Bernardo Corradi (Eduardo Sebrango 82)