By Nick Hartman:
(KANSAS CITY, KS): After two consecutive 0-0 draws, Sporting KC was looking for a strong win over a dominant Montreal Impact team. This game would be a tough win for Sporting for a couple reasons: 1) The Montreal Impact were 4-0-0 before the night. The teams they have beat so far were the Seattle Sounders, the New York Red Bulls, the Portland Timbers and Toronto F.C. Second, the Montreal Impact defense and goalkeeper have only allowed two goals in four games. 2) The Montreal Impact offense had scored six goals in those first four games. Head Coach, Peter Vermes took in these factors and put his best line out on the pitch and it paid off. Sporting beat the undefeated Impact 2-0, shutting the Impact out and extending the shutout streak to 339 minutes.
“I think it is really simple. From the opening whistle to the final whistle we were dominant,” said Sporting Head Coach, Peter Vermes. “We had a very specific way to play this game and the guys executed the plan perfect. I thought we could have scored a couple more goals but outside of that they were dominant. During transitional moments, we were tremendous. Our ultimate pressure lead to two very high quality goals. We had great movement, excellent passes, and good finishes so I thought it was a great performance by us.”
Sporting KC came out on all cylinders from the kick-off. The team was attacking and defending well and it showed quickly. In the 5′ minute, Benny Felihaber set Claudio Bieler up and Bieler struck the ball into the right corner of the goal. The rowdy sellout crowd at Sporting Park went crazy when the goal was scored. Sporting KC had another chance to score in the 12th minute when Aurelien Collin headed in a free-kick. The goal did not count because of an offside call. Sporting KC created numerous more chances before the half came to an end after four minutes of added time. Sporting allowed no shots during the first half and the defense play paralyzed Montreal’s attack scheme.
“Little by little I am fitting into this system more,” said Sporting KC Midfielder, Benny Felihaber. “It’s not an easy system to fit into and I’m working hard at it. You go off your teammates who work hard at it and you begin to figure it out.”
The second half was not as strong as the first for Sporting but the team still managed to limit the Impact’s chances. At the 57th minute, Seth Sinovic had an opening but missed the shot just wide left. The 18,609 fans at Sporting Park were devastated after it didn’t go in but still hoped for a capitalizing goal. Graham Zusi scored that game-winning goal, in the 80th minute, when Benny Felihaber sent a great set up feed Zusi’s way. Zusi shot and scored from a good distance out. Montreal’s head coach, Marco Schällibaum was ejected in the 81st minute after throwing a water-bottle at the fourth official and will likely receive a suspension from the league. After three minutes of added time, Sporting KC clinched a victory over the Impact extending their record to 2-1-2.