MONTREAL – Sporting Kansas City exacted a dose of revenge on the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night.
Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi both converted penalty kicks and Jacob Peterson iced the match as visiting Sporting KC earned a 3-1 win in a heated match at Stade Saputo, overturning a Patrice Bernier tally which had momentarily given Montreal an early lead to start the second half.
The three points move SKC into second place in the Eastern Conference and allowed them to avenge a 2-0 home loss to the Impact on May 5. It was Sporting's first road win since a 3-1 win in Vancouver on April 18 and it represented the Impact's third straight loss in league play.
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The first 30 minutes had one name stamped on them on Montreal’s side: Marco Di Vaio. The Impact’s link-up play with their Italian Designated Player improved dramatically from his first two games, resulting in a handful of good opportunities, none of which were converted.
Highlights: Montreal 1, Sporting KC 3
Montreal winger Justin Mapp also enjoyed pockets of space behind SKC defenders Chance Myers and Aurélien Collin on Kansas City’s right. Midfielder Felipe spotted him in the 38th minute and Mapp broke free on goal, but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen won the one-on-one with a fine save.
In the first half, Sporting struggled to get the ball past the Impact’s midfield, but balls pumped into the box from distance troubled Montreal. SKC's best chance in the opening half came on a Zusi cross, but Kamara’s header missed the target.
The Impact started the second half with intent and were rewarded four minutes in: Felipe ran onto a Zarek Valentin through ball on the right side of the area and he cut back a low cross which evaded everyone in the box. It fell perfectly for Bernier, who came charging through the center and unleashed a first time shot that Nielsen could not block.
Montreal enjoyed the lead all of six minutes before Bernier was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area. Kamara stepped up to convert and Kansas City immediately sprang to life and pinned back the Impact in their own half.
Yet another scramble in the Impact’s penalty box in the 75th minute saw Montreal captain Davy Arnaud foul SKC substitute Soony Saad. Referee Sorin Stoica pointed to the spot once again, much to the displeasure of Montreal manager Jesse Marsch. With Kamara out of the match, it was Zusi's turn to step up and put the visitors ahead 2-1.
Sporting added a third eight minutes from full time. Roger Espinoza’s cross from the left found Jacob Peterson on the opposite side and his hard drive struck Montreal defender Shavar Thomas in the head and the deflection was enough to beat goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and ensure Kansas City leapfrogged New York Red Bulls to second place in the East.
Both teams will be play at home this weekend: Sporting Kansas City host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, while the Columbus Crew visit Stade Saputo on Sunday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Felipe||The Impact's best player on the night with high quality passes, great runs on goal and a blossoming connection with new DP Marco Di Vaio.|
|2||Graham Zusi||Even when nothing was working for Sporting in the first half, Zusi kept battling in midfield and provided the inspiration for SKC's best chances in the match. Converted what turned into the game-winning PK.|
|3||Marco Di Vaio||Exceptional first half for the Italian. He sliced up the Sporting defense with dangerous runs in behind and some exceptional passing. However, the DP should have converted one of the many chances he created.|