KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Soni Mustivar didn’t hide from the mistake that cost Sporting Kansas City two big home points. As quick as he was to take the blame, though, his teammates were just as quick to pick him up.
Mustivar’s errant backpass – right into the path of Montreal forward Matteo Mancosu – set up Mancosu for an 82nd-minute equalizer in Saturday night’s 1-1 draw, which extended Sporting’s unbeaten home run in MLS play to 17 matches but denied them a chance to tie a club record with a seventh straight victory at Children’s Mercy Park.
“I didn’t see him anticipate my pass,” said the midfielder – who subbed on to provide defensive help just two minutes before Mancosu’s equalizer. “My pass wasn’t good enough. It was slow. I take responsibility for the goal, of course.”
But while Mustivar’s mistake was costly, center back Ike Opara said, it wasn’t the only thing that went wrong for Sporting on Saturday – and, he said, this isn’t a club where fingers get pointed.
“The game is filled with mistakes,” Opara said. “At the end of the day, if we did what we needed to do, we wouldn’t have been in that position. So many things happened before that play, and we’re going to win as a team and lose as a team and tie as a team.”
Still, manager Peter Vermes acknowledged the frustration of conceding late on a gifted goal.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s something we obviously didn’t want to do, but that wasn’t a goal that they made by any means,” Vermes said. “That was a goal that we gave up on our part. They don’t deserve the points. They just don’t. They don’t deserve the point, that’s the frustration. We played more than well enough to win, and giving up the two points that way is hard to swallow.”
If not for an assistant referee’s flag, though, the Impact might have taken all three.
Montreal appeared to equalize shortly before Mancosu’s goal, only to see Dominic Oduro – who was subbed off for Mancosu in the 77th minute – called offside by the narrowest of margins.
It was one of several quick forays forward after the break for the Impact, who had several nonthreatening chances in the first half but proved more dangerous on the counter in the second – especially with Sporting, who had made taking care of the ball a priority this season – seeming out of sync for much of the half.
“I can’t remember, to be honest, how the second half went too much,” midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. “I want to watch it back. It felt like they had a lot of the ball, but I looked at the stats and it looked like we had more possession than them the entire game except for one five-minute period, and it didn’t feel like that was the case in the second half.”
(Sporting did have more of the ball, in both halves, finishing with 66.1 percent of the possession.)
“What I remember in the second half is a lot of nothing,” Feilhaber went on. “It felt like there was no real rhythm, no real chances on goal for either team. I didn’t feel like we had too many chances until they scored, and I didn’t feel like they had any chances the second half at all.
“As ugly and as boring as it might be, when we’re winning 1-0 that should be OK.”