Sporting KC Falls 2-1 To First Place Montreal Impact

By: Sporting, posted by Kinch O'Kelley
By: Sporting, posted by Kinch O'Kelley

(June 1, 2013) - Sporting Kansas City fell 2-1 to the Montreal Impact in front of a sold-out crowd at Sporting Park on Saturday night.

Sporting Kansas City opened the scoring from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time on Claudio Bieler's seventh goal of the season, third most in MLS. Sanna Nyassi equalized for Montreal in the 47th and Collen Warner earned the match-winner for the visitors in the 53rd minute of play.

In the 17th minute, Marco Di Vaio, the League's second leading scorer, chipped the ball to an unmarked Felipe Martins. Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was quick off his line and pushed the ball away from danger moments before the attacker arrived.

Seven minutes later, Bieler settled a pass from Ike Opara and fired from 22 yards out, but it was just wide of the right post.

Kei Kamara, in his first regular season start of the season for Sporting KC, had a chance of his own in the 33rd minute when Mechack Jerome tipped the ball to him deep in the right corner of the box. However, his ensuing angled shot was saved easily by goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

Montreal's best chance of the first half came in the 39th minute when Felipe went one-on-one with Nielsen and fired a low shot that hit the near post. The rebound came to Di Vaio and was sent just wide of the left post.

The tide turned in Sporting Kansas City's favor in the first minute of stoppage time when a penalty kick was granted to Sporting KC after Allesandro Nesta brought down Bieler at the top of the box. Bieler converted the penalty kick, sending the home side into halftime with the lead.

The Montreal Impact wasted no time in the second half and found an equalizer in the 47th minute of play. Nyassi chested down the ball from a cleared corner and thumped in a low shot from outside the box that worked its way through traffic and settled into the back corner of the net.

Six minutes later, Montreal took the lead when Warner capitalized on a failed clearance, collecting the loose ball and firing an angled shot past Nielsen for his first career MLS goal.

Bieler nearly notched his second goal of the match in the 56th minute when he flicked in a corner kick from Oriol Rosell, but it fell just wide of the far post. Nine minutes later, the ball was pinballed around Montreal's box before finding Benny Feilhaber, whose bicycle kick was saved by Perkins.

The Impact were reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute of play after Nesta was shown a red card for a confrontation with Bieler. In the dying minutes of the match, Sporting KC scrambled to find an equalizer and in the 90th minute, a chance fell to Peterson but his left-footed shot was wide of the far post.

Two minutes later, Jerome nudged the ball to Bieler but his strike was right at Perkins' chest. Sporting KC's final chance came in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Bieler crossed a low ball from the left to Kamara, but his effort was just wide of the right post.

Sporting Kansas City will next host Orlando City Soccer Club in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at 7:30 p.m. CT on June 12. Tickets are available in limited supply through Ticketmaster and at Sporting Park Box Offices.

FAST FACTS
With the loss, Sporting Kansas City remains in third place in the Eastern Conference behind the New York Red Bulls and the Montreal Impact.
Sporting KC is now 6-5-4 in 2013 and 3-3-2 at home.
Sporting Kansas City is 218-211-113 all-time and 144-78-48 all-time at home.
Sporting Kansas City's record against the Montreal Impact moves to 2-2-1 all-time and 1-2-0 at home in the series.
Claudio Bieler opened the scoring on Saturday finishing a PK in the fourth minute of first half stoppage time.
After scoring in each of the team's first two road games, Claudio Bieler's last five goals have all come at home.
Bieler has now scored seven goals in MLS, third most in MLS, and eight in all competition.
Bieler is now one of five players with two or more penalty kick goals this season along with Robert Earnshaw, Will Johnson, Federico Higuain and Robbie Keane.
Bieler becomes one of eight Sporting KC players all-time with multiple penalty kick goals scored.
Bieler has scored in both matches against Montreal this season.
Bieler's six shots on Saturday tied his season high, set in Sporting KC's previous meeting with Montreal in March, and are the most by a Sporting KC player this season.
Sporting Kansas City dropped points for the first time in 2013 when leading at halftime and are now 3-1-0 when ahead at the break.
Sanna Nyassi scored Montreal Impact's first goal of the match, his first goal during the 2013 season.
Nyassi's goal in the 47th minute was the first for Montreal against Sporting KC since July 4, 2012 when Patrice Bernier scored in the 49th minute. It snapped a 267-minute scoreless streak for Montreal in the series.
Collen Warner notched Montreal's second goal on Saturday, his first career goal.
Montreal earned their first points of 2013 when trailing at halftime and are now 1-2-0 when behind at the break.
Sporting KC has lost five straight games when allowing two goals in a match, dating back to July 18, 2012.
Sporting Kansas City made two changes to their starting XI from their most recent MLS match, a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo. Kei Kamara and Aurelien Collin started in place of Graham Zusi and Matt Besler respectively.
Graham Zusi and Matt Besler were unavailable for Saturday's match. The pair is with the U.S. Men's National Team, who will face Germany tomorrow at RFK Stadium.
Zusi was not in the starting lineup for only the second time this season, after also missing the New England Revolution match on March 23rd due to international duty.
Soony Saad also missed Saturday's match for international duty with Lebanon.
Mikey Lopez was not available for Saturday's game and is currently with the U.S. Under 20 Men's National Team. Lopez started and played the entire match helping the U.S. earn a 1-0 victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo U21's in the Toulon Tournament on Saturday.
Sporting KC is 5-3-3 when wearing Sporting Blue and 5-2-4 versus the Eastern Conference in 2013.
Jimmy Nielsen has appeared in 76 straight MLS matches, including postseason, for Sporting Kansas City, dating back to June 12, 2011. The streak covers a span of 6,840 straight minutes of MLS action.
Sporting Kansas City outshot the Montreal Impact 19-7. Sporting KC is 5-4-4 when outshooting an opponent this season.
Sporting KC leads MLS all-time in shots with 7,410 and ranks first in MLS this season with 218 shots.
Saturday's attendance of 19,470 marks the 24th consecutive sellout at Sporting Park.
Montreal head coach Marco Schallibaum was dismissed at halftime on Saturday, the second time this season he has been dismissed at Sporting Park.
Alessandro Nesta's second-half red card was the third by a Sporting KC opponent this season. Sporting KC is now 2-1-0 in games played with a man advantage.
The red card was the first time Montreal has had a player ejected in MLS play this season.
Jacob Peterson started the 100th MLS match (including playoffs) of his career on Saturday.
Aurelien Collin surpassed 6,000 minutes played on Saturday in his MLS career (including playoffs).
Benny Feilhaber, who entered the match in the 62nd minute, led all players on the field with three good crosses on Saturday.
Opta logged four good open crosses in Saturday's match. Two came from Sporting Kansas City's Josh Gardner, who entered in the 85th minute.
Kei Kamara led all players with four aerial duels won on Saturday. He also led all players with 10 duels won.
Oriol Rosell led all players with 58 total passes, while Mechack Jerome led all players with 73 touches.
The first 10,000 fans into the match on Saturday received a Sporting Kansas City poster courtesy of Capitol Federal.
Sporting Kansas City defenders Chance Myers and Kyle Miller signed autographs on the Sprint Plaza prior to the match at the Capitol Federal booth.
Silver tickets were distributed in the Boulevard Members Club postgame for the free Silversun Pickups concert on July 30 at Power & Light District in conjunction with the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
QUOTES

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes
General thoughts on the match...
We're missing guys for the rebounds that pop out. You can't fan or whiff on a ball inside the box, when it's played in there. And then a player gets an easy chance like that, you work too hard over the course of the game to give up to easy chances like we did. And we did. They capitalized on them and at the end, we just couldn't find a way to stick the second one in to tie it at least. It would have been nice if we would have got one a little bit early to put the pressure on them, but it is what it is.
On the tempers of the opposition at Sporting Park recently...
My temper wasn't hot at all. It's interesting how two games in a row now that (the opposition) get red carded here at our place for what? I have no idea. It's just interesting to me. I'm very fine. We weren't involved in anything. Like I said, it has nothing to do with us, so we're fine.
Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin
On the cause of the loss...
It's maturity and experience and they are very important in the first five minutes and the last five minutes. We were not focused enough. We gave two goals away, honestly, we should have won 3-0 today because the two goals were a present for them. It was a disappointment. Mistakes can happen to anybody, but we just have to make sure the same mistakes don't happen the next game.
On the mentality going into the second half...
They had one chance on us before the half when it hit the post. But after, they were not dangerous and we were not dangerous either and we had another opportunity to score before the halftime and that would have given us a lot of power heading into the half. We needed to be more physical and more focused, because the first half we were a little sloppy. The goal should have given us the power in the second half and it didn't and I'm very upset about it.
On his feelings after the match...
I think it was six shots for them an 18 or 19 for us. We have to work on being more experienced. There was a chance in front of us, we almost didn't give anything away and they were trying to get in our heads. They were more experienced than us tonight and that's just what I have to say.
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Paulo Nagamura
On the loss...
You always expect a good effort from Montreal and in the end we are just disappointed to not get three points.
On Sporting Park not appearing to be as big of an advantage...
To be honest, we haven't been playing our best and we didn't today. We had a lead in the first half, but lost it in the first five minutes in the second half and it cost us the game. Once you are behind in the game, it becomes difficult especially against a team like Montreal who I think is a very good team. Credit to them, they came here and got a good result.
On not scoring while being a man up...
It's hard when they are sitting back and just defending with ten men. It was tough to break them down with eleven at the end. Give credit to them, they got away with the result."
On the start of the second half...
We start with a foul on the end line and they got a goal off that and right after that it was an unfortunate bounce when Joseph tried to clear. He miss-stepped and the ball dropped right in front of their guy. We fell asleep for five minutes and that cost us the game. We'll learn from that.
On what to blame the loss on as a team...
We don't expect to play very well every game and we know that. When we have those tough games, the mentality has to be there, the attitude has to be there. And today for five minutes we were missing that attitude, that mentality, and that cost us the game. That needs to change. We have to be concentrated and fully locked in if you want to get the result at home or away.
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen
General thoughts on the match...
It feels very bad right now. Gigantic disappointment. We gave 100 percent but we didn't do it as a team in the first half. Coming out 1-0 at halftime, it should have given us the advantage, but it didn't. We came out, and in those five to seven minutes, they scored two goals and from there we were chasing and chasing, and we just weren't good enough. This is not a good home record right now and it's very, very, very disappointing. It's got to change. We have to change our mentality and how we approach these games at home. We went down 2-1 and we went after them. We should have went after them from the first second of the game. They had a tough game Wednesday night and we didn't take advantage of that. Huge disappointment, it's not good enough.
On who is to blame for the two goals...
It's us as a team. You can't call out one guy or two guys. It's us as a team. We have to step up as a team because today we worked extremely hard in the first half, but we didn't do it as a team."
On giving away the first half momentum so quickly in the second half...
We were not awake. We were not ready for them coming out at that moment. It's a gigantic disappointment and it's not good enough. We need to change this year. Right now.

On how to improve...
We are probably going to have a long chat about this here. We've got to change. Everyone has to change the mentality, individually. What can we bring to the group? What can I bring to the group, what can Collin bring to the group and on and on. I can handle losing if we are getting outplayed and they are playing a good game, but we can't lose like this. This is not good enough.

On if he is happy about the international break...
No I'm not. We can't enjoy this time off now. It's a situation where you want a quick game again. I want a game tomorrow."

Montreal Impact assistant coach Mauro Biello

General thoughts on the match...
In different moments we were in control of the game in the first half, so we wanted to continue that as we move into the second half and the players followed through

On the red card...
Obviously emotions run high and I'm sure they got the better of him (Nesta) at that moment and things happen and we have to deal with it. I'm sure we dealt with it in the right way, the ref made his call and he got a red card, and I guess his emotions ran to far

On equalizing early...
I think that gave us even more confidence since we were scored on late in the first half. We were able to generate all that energy and score us a quick goal and I feel like we were able to feed off that energy and continue to play and to believe

On the impact of the veterans on the team...
We have some experienced players in moments like this before and managing these situations is important. That's when you see experience come through. Even a man down, we were able to control the game and stay composed during the difficult moment and I applaud my players for that.

On conceding a penalty...
Obviously you don't want to concede a penalty without being ahead in the half, so you we tried to stay calm. We told the players we were doing well and to go out there and continue to play well. We were able to get the tying goal and then the second came along. We showed a lot of character, it was a difficult week for us with the championship in Vancouver and three games total this week.

Montreal Impact midfielder Collen Warner

On scoring the first goal of his career...
I just tried not to mess it up. It's a chance you don't get often; the ball fell to me like seven yards out so I was happy to finish. I'll take it. A game winner on the road isn't too bad. I was super happy and proud of the team tonight, we did well to fight back and overcome some circumstances, some calls didn't really go in our favor so it was a huge game.

On conceding a penalty...
Everyone's reaction on the field was that it wasn't a penalty. I don't know what it looked like on the television, but yeah to go into the second half at 1-0, there was a little bit of emotion in the locker room when we came out and I think everyone saw that.

On defeating Sporting Kansas City after losing to them earlier this season...
We want to win every game and they are our rival and one of our toughest competitors.

On the team's mood tonight...
The team has been in a good mood, and there is a lot of good emotion coming off Wednesday and that gave us the confidence to come in and do well tonight.

On winning the Canadian Cup and defeating Sporting in the same week...
It's amazing. A lot of guys are going on three games this week and some of the older guys as well which is great, so it is a huge performance from a lot of the guys.

Montreal Impact midfielder Sanna Nyassi

On his goal...
I think it was a team goal, we had a free kick and did it according to the game plan. I stayed at the top of the box for the rebound.

On the grit the team has shown this week...
We are professionals, we have a way of dealing with tired legs, we have a deep squad and players that can step in when needed. Before the PK, we were in control of the game. We dominated every area on the field, we took a peek at the goal towards the end of the first half, but we didn't back down and came back strong in the second half. We scored two goals and continued to stay strong defensively throughout the entire 90 minutes.

On moving into first place in the Eastern Conference...
It's awesome. it's a spot every group and every team is aspiring to be at, so it's great.


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