SKC Notebook: No complaints over "ugly" midweek victory
As far as Sporting Kansas City are concerned, no win is so unattractive as to be unwelcome – especially when it ends a three-match winless streak.
In light of that attitude, don’t expect any complaints to come out of SKC camp after Wednesday night’s 3-1 victory in Montreal.
“It was one of those ugly games,” said forward Kei Kamara, who converted the first of Sporting’s two second-half penalty kicks in the comeback victory over the Impact. “But it’s finally about time when we can have an ugly game and then get points from it. So we’ll take the points back home and get back to what we’ve been doing.”
HIGHLIGHTS: PKs send SKC past Impact
Sporting struggled against the Impact’s counterattack through a scoreless first half and then fell behind 1-0 on Patrice Bernier’s 49th-minute goal before getting untracked with the help of two Montreal infractions in the penalty area.
“We didn’t play really well tonight,” center back Aurélien Collin admitted. “Montreal had more [scoring] occasions in the first half. We got lucky today. We’re happy about the result, but not about our performance.”
After those early issues, though, Sporting’s defensive adjustments paid off after the break as Montreal found fewer breakaway opportunities. That, and the PKs from Kamara and Graham Zusi, helped Sporting avenge a 2-0 home loss to the expansion side on May 5, regaining some momentum heading into Saturday’s home date with the Houston Dynamo.
“I’ll call it even with Montreal,” Kamara said. “They came to our place and they got points away from us. And then we come here and we get points. So now it’s all about us just looking forward. Every team we play now is in the Eastern conference, so every single game is like a playoff game for us right now.”
Sporting and the Dynamo will be meeting for the first time since Houston’s 2-0 victory at Livestrong Sporting Park in the 2011 Eastern Conference Championship.
No concerns about Nagamura
Paulo Nagamura’s first game back from a groin strain ended when the midfielder was stretchered off after 86 minutes.
But Nagamura, who started in Júlio César’s usual spot after being unavailable for the four previous league games, hasn’t reinjured himself.
“He was cramping,” manager Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “So it was time to take him out.”
With two goals in his last four appearances, forward Jacob Peterson is hitting his stride with Sporting.
Peterson, who replaced Teal Bunbury to start the second half in Montreal, iced Sporting’s win when he drilled a shot that deflected off Shavar Thomas’ head and past Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts in the 82nd minute.
“Jacob is continually getting better with understanding how our formation plays, and his role and responsibility,” Vermes said. “I’m really happy for him. His work ethic when he came in was tremendous, and that’s one thing that really helped us get back in the game. The scoring was just the icing on the cake.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.