Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City | MLS Match Preview

Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City - July 27, 2013 (IMAGE)

Photo Credit: 
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

MONTRÉAL IMPACT vs SPORTING KANSAS CITY
STADE SAPUTO, Montréal, Qué.
July 27, 2013 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #196) 7 p.m. ET (TSN2/RDS; KSMO)

It’s a clash at the top of the Eastern Conference when the Montréal Impact play host to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. Sporting come into the contest leading the division by four points, extending their unbeaten streak to six games with a 2-1 win at Real Salt Lake last weekend. The Impact haven’t won in five games but are still tied for second in the conference, coming off a scoreless draw at home with FC Dallas last weekend.

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REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Kermit Quisenberry; 4th: Mathieu Bourdeau
MLS Career: 21 games; FC/gm: 23.4; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 9; pens: 6

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: KC: Aurelien Collin (yellow card accumulation; through July 28)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: MTL: Dennis Iapichino, Hassoun Camara, Felipe Martins, Jeb Brovsky, Matteo Ferrari, Davy Arnaud … KC: Seth Sinovic, Lawrence Olum, Oriol Rosell
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Matt Besler (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Impact 2 wins, 5 goals … Sporting 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
AT MONTREAL (2 meetings): Impact 0 wins, 1 goal … Sporting 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 1

2013 (MLS)
3/30: KC 2, MTL 0 (Bieler 5; Zusi 80)
6/1: KC 1, MTL 2 (Bieler 49+ -- Nyassi 47; Warner 53)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Goals from Sanna Nyassi and Collen Warner early in the second half propelled the Impact to a 2-1 victory, June 1 at Sporting Park. Sporting won 2-0 at home on March 30 on goals from Claudio Bieler and Graham Zusi.
  • Sporting have come away with points on their two trips to Montréal, recording a victory on their visit before the teams played to a scoreless draw, both in the Impact’s inaugural MLS season.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. MTL: P5 W2 L2 T1 … Marco Schallibaum vs. KC: P2 W1 L1 T0

LAST MEETING

  • Sporting went in front in first-half stoppage time. Impact center back Alessandro Nesta pulled down Claudio Bieler from behind at the edge of the penalty area, and referee Armando Villareal eventually pointed to the spot. Bieler took his own penalty and buried his kick into the lower left corner of the goal.
  • As the teams went into the locker rooms, Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum was ejected from the game. But his team took the lead two minutes after the restart. A free kick could not be cleared by the Sporting defense, and Sanna Nyassi sent a low shot through traffic from the edge of the area to beat SKC 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen.
  • The Impact took the lead just six minutes later. After a scramble in the penalty area, Peterson Joseph's mishit clearance attempt instead fell to Collen Warner in front of the goal, and he finished easily.
  • Nesta was sent off in the 74th minute after another confrontation with Bieler, but the Impact held out for the road victory.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Mechack Jerome, Ike Opara, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic (Josh Gardner 85) - Oriol Rosell, Peterson Joseph (Benny Feilhaber 62) - Kei Kamara, Paulo Nagamura (C.J. Sapong 77), Jacob Peterson - Claudio Bieler
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Alessandro Nesta (sent off 74), Matteo Ferrari, Dennis Iapichino - Patrice Bernier, Collen Warner - Justin Mapp (Andres Romero 73), Felipe Martins (Jeb Brovsky 77), Sanna Nyassi - Marco Di Vaio (Andrew Wenger 89).

MONTREAL IMPACT
The Montréal Impact saw their winless streak stretched to five matches, reaching a scoreless draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points from 19 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez made four saves for the match, as both teams saw winless runs extended. Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins made two saves -- including a key stop late on FCD striker Eric Hassli -- as FC Dallas were held without a goal for a fourth consecutive match.
  • Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum made three changes to the team that fell 4-0 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Felipe Martins and Sanna Nyassi came into the team in place of Andres Romero and Marco Di Vaio.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-1-4-1): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky - Felipe Martins (Andres Romero 71) - Sanna Nyassi (Blake Smith 86), Patrice Bernier, Davy Arnaud, Justin Mapp - Daniele Paponi (Andrew Wenger 76).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact saw their winless streak reach five games, shut out at the offensive end for the first time this year in back-to-back games following the scoreless draw.
  • “The team showed a lot of spirit,” head coach Marco Schällibaum said. “The will to win was extremely high today. We had many chances, though maybe not enough that could have won the game. … Losing a game hurts when you control it the way we did, but the performance was very strong.”
  • With Marco Di Vaio away in Italy due to family reasons, Daniele Paponi was run out as the lone striker in front of a five-man midfield.
  • “Paponi worked really hard tonight and was fighting for every ball,” Schällibaum said. “Wenger did well also when he came in. We had some good work from behind them as well, from our wingers. Obviously, we miss a player like Marco, but we knew we were going to be without him.”
  • Justin Mapp was set out in a wide attacking role for a second consecutive match, while Sanna Nyassi returned to the starting lineup after a one-match absence.
  • “Sanna Nyassi and Justin Mapp did a lot of work for us today. They were always lighting fires and I think that they are probably going to be really tired tonight because they did a lot of work,” Schällibaum said.
  • After missing his first match of the season, Felipe Martins returned to the deep-lying central midfield role.
  • Said Patrice Bernier: “For sure, when you play a new system there is a bit of an adjustment period. We had to realize that we need to put more players in the box. Justin Mapp played really well for us tonight on the wings, creating a lot for us in the offensive zone. Paponi played a physical game up top against a team with big defenders.”
  • The Impact announced the signing of Designated Player Hernán Bernardello, last with Atlético Colón in Argentina.
  • “He fits in well with the identity of the club and we believe he will play an important role for us moving forward,” Impact sporting director Nick De Santis said. “Hernán has consistently played between 25 and 30 games a season over his career. He is a player with great quality in midfield that covers a lot of ground, all while displaying great technical skills and great ability to relaunch attacks.”

READ: Di Vaio back with Impact, but what formation suits him best?

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City stretched their undefeated streak to six matches, coming back for a 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Sporting are in first place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points from 20 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • RSL took the lead in the 56th minute. Sporting 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen misplayed a free kick sent into in the box, knocking it straight up in the goal area, and Robbie Findley was able to head it home.
  • Real then went a man down in the 66th minute when Chris Wingert was sent off for a second yellow. Sporting capitalized less than a minute later when RSL failed to clear a free kick, and from the scramble in the box Claudio Bieler was able to head the ball forward to Soony Saad, who whirled and smashed the ball into the net from close range.
  • Then, seven minutes into stoppage time, the visitors hit for the winner when defender Ike Opara rose up high on a great corner sent in to the box by Graham Zusi.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the team that rolled to a 3-0 victory against Toronto FC at Sporting Park. Ike Opara came into central defense with Matt Besler away on national team duty, and Peterson Joseph came into the midfield in place of Benny Feilhaber.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic - Oriol Rosell - Graham Zusi, Peterson Joseph (Lawrence Olum 63) - Kei Kamara, Claudio Bieler (Dom Dwyer 84), Soony Saad (Benny Feilhaber 79).

READ: Soony Saad working his way onto scoresheet, Vermes' good graces

TEAM NEWS

  • Sporting won their third match in a row while also extending their unbeaten run in the win at Real Salt Lake. The three-game winning streak matches their longest of the season, also achieved March 30-April 17.
  • “We tried not to let them play that much, and I thought we did a pretty good job at that. There's always a lot of teams that go on the road and try to press high up the field like we did tonight, and I thought that was a really good quality that took them out of their flow a little bit which helped us I think over the course of the game,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes.
  • Soony Saad scored his third goal over the last two games, and now has four goals in 27 career MLS appearances.
  • Making his first start since June 1, Ike Opara scored his second goal of the season. They are his first two goals in MLS play since his rookie season of 2010, when he scored three times for San Jose.
  • Sporting scored both goals from set pieces, their first two goals from deadball situations since May 19 – when Opara scored his last goal.
  • “The great thing was that as soon as they went a man down, we got that set piece,” Vermes said. “We needed to capitalize on that set piece, and that was huge for us that we did it immediately. We put it to them.”
  • The Opara goal came seven minutes into second-half stoppage time, tying the fourth-latest goal scored in regulation in MLS history (and the third scored in the 97th minute this season).
  • “We go chance after chance in terms of set pieces along the way. You have to have that confidence, because you're going to get one opportunity,” said Opara. “Benny [Feilhaber] had a shot that was saved, that was a second ball off of a set piece as well. I think the more and more we got them, I think the more confidence we got, and [Zusi] was putting great balls in all game. It was just our job to go up and attack it.”
  • Graham Zusi recorded his first assist since May 19, his sixth assist of the season, in setting up the matchwinner.
  • Peterson Joseph returned from a five-match absence while on national team duty with Haiti, and moved into a central midfield position in place of Feilhaber.