Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sporting Kansas City dominates Montreal, sits atop Eastern Conference

Sporting Kansas City moved atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 4-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday at Sporting Park. Forward Dom Dwyer scored twice in the win and how has four goals in his past four games as he moves into a tie for third place among MLS scoring leaders.

Aurelien Collin also added a goal, his second of the season and 15th of his Sporting KC career to break a tie with Jose Luis Burciaga, Jr. for the second most goals scored by a defender in club history behind Jimmy Conrad (17). The four-goal win matches the Impact's largest margin of defeat in the team's three-year MLS history and extends Sporting Kansas City's unbeaten streak to five games in 2014.

The visiting Impact were held to only three shots on the night, all coming in the first half, as Sporting Kansas City lowered their league-leading goals against average to 0.67 per game with the team's third clean sheet of the 2014 campaign. As part of the club's Shutout for Slices promotion with Papa John's, all Sporting KC fans can receive 50% off any regular price online order at local participating Papa John's retailers over the next two days by entering the code 'SPORTINGKC' online at

The defensive play of the game came from Collin in the 14th minute after Montreal countered down the right flank. Felipe Martins led the two-on-one break and found forward Marco Di Vaio in the middle of the area. The Designated Player's first-time shot from 10 yards out was cleared in front of the goal line by Collin and Eric Kronberg recovered in time to save Collen Warner's foliow-up effort from the top of the box.

Sporting Kansas City responded in the 26th minute. Lawrence Olum, inserted into the lineup in place of the suspended Oriol Rosell, forced a turnover inside midfield and Benny Feilhaber threaded a pass between two Impact defenders to Sal Zizzo. Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins was forced off his line to intervene and made a sliding stop to thwart the attack.

Five minutes later, the home side took the 1-0 lead in front of a standing-room only crowd of more than 20,000, the team's 40th straight MLS sell out at Sporting Park dating back to 2012. Matt Besler's throw-in from the left sideline was challenged between Olum and Calum Mallace with the ball deflecting off the Impact midfielder and looping over Perkins inside the far post.

It was the first goal scored by Sporting KC in a first half this season, but it was the second half in which Peter Vermes' side asserted its control on the match. In the 67th minute, Feilhaber intercepted a pass from Patrice Bernier and delivered another well-weighted through ball for Dwyer behind the Impact backline. Perkins was again alert to cut down the angle and blocked the chip with his face before then making a second save in short succession on the rebound.

A throw-in from Besler set up the second goal of the match, as well. The initial header from Collin led to a scramble inside the penalty area before the two-time MLS All-Star let loose a left-footed effort that beat Perkins at the near post for the club's first goal from outside the penalty area this season.

Less than three minutes later, the lead stretched to 3-0. Graham Zusi's free kick was chased down by Jacob Peterson in the right corner and sent into the box where Collin left it for Dwyer to hammer home with a sliding finish from six yards out. Peterson, a second-half substitute,  now has a goal or assist in each of his nine professional seasons.

Dwyer would continue his strong start to the season with his second goal of the game in the 86th minute. Zusi delivered a cross to Dwyer, positioned between Maxim Tissot and Karl Ouimette, and the third-year pro directed his header under Perkins for the game's exclamation point prior to exiting to a standing ovation.

Sporting Kansas City will next travel to take on the New England Revolution (2-3-2, 8 points) at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday live on KMCI and SKCTV. The team's official watch parties will be held at Johnny's Tavern locations in the KC Power & Light District (1310 Grand Blvd.) and Overland Park (8719 W. 95th St.).