In a season where the Montreal Impact have been sitting dead last in the Major League Soccer standings for sometime, it may be hard to pinpoint one moment that can be called the ‘low point’ of the season.
However, last night when the Impact took on the defending MLS Cup Champions, Sporting Kansas City at Stade Saputo, we found that low point…
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Ahead of the game, the Impact were looking to shake the demons that Sporting K.C. has brought them all season. Sporting has outscored Montreal 7-0 and had 71% of the possession in their two previous meetings (3-0 in Montreal and 4-0 in Kansas City).
Dom Dwyer has tormented the Impact this season. In their two games, he has four goals, including a game-winner.
The match started out in nightmare fashion for the Impact.
In only the ‘4 minute, SKC called on long thrower Matt Besler to come up to take a throw-in. Besler delivered a rocket line drive straight into the box. Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins came off his line slowly and was out jumped by – guess who – Dwyer. The throw in seemed to deflect off of Dwyer’s face more than his head, but regardless, he beat Perkins to the ball.
1-0 Kansas City.
In the ’19 minute, the Impact had a promising chance as star striker Marco Di Vaio found some space on the left and put a low ball into the box. But, Sporting goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was sharp and cut off the cross. Had Grenebaum not come out, it would have been an easy tap-in for Jack McInerney.
Frank Klopas’ side did get their breakthrough in the ’32 minute. Captain Patrice Bernier sent a high ball into the box, that appeared to be going to no one. Then, out of nowhere, Justin Mapp somehow managed to elevate and direct the ball onto the head of Di Vaio. The Italian then did really well to head the ball back across the face of goal and just inside Grenebaum’s far post. It was Di Vaio’s third goal of the season and Mapp’s sixth assist.
Jul 12, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact forward Marco Di Vaio (9) celebrates his goal against Sporting KC during the first half at the Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sport
Montreal kept their foot on the throttle and only five minutes later, there was a fiasco in the Sporting box. Andrés Romaro’s shot was turned away by Grenebaum and Mapp’s rebound attempt was blocked by defender Aurélien Collin.
Both teams had a few chances before the half, but when referee Hilario Grajeda blew for time, the score was still level.
In the ’54 minute. SKC had a great build up and the ball landed for Graham Zusi. The American, who was starting his first game since returning from the World Cup, cracked a shot that was blocked by Heath Pearce.
A few moments later, Toni Dovale was left unmarked in the Montreal box. Jacob Peterson found him, but Dovale was thwarted by an excellent reflex save from Perkins.
In the ’64, Impact defender Krzysztof Krol was cautioned for a late challenge. The 27-year-old from Poland was making his debut for Montreal and provided some offensive kick out of the left back position.
The match seemed to be coming to a close and a draw appeared immanent, which wouldn’t be a bad result for either side.
But then, three minutes to time, this happened. (Just watch the video, it’s too painful to describe).
Of course the ball fell right onto the foot of, yes, somehow, Dom Dwyer. That was his sixth goal in three games against the Impact this year. Thank goodness these two won’t have to play each other again during the regular season.
Some call it a blunder, some call it a miscommunication. Whatever way you spin it, it cost the Impact a point against a team that has – and continues to – haunt Montreal.
2-1 Kansas City. FINAL
“When you give up goals like that at the end of a game, twice now, it’s hard to accept,” said coach Frank Klopas in a press release following the final whistle. “I thought we deserved a point in a solid performance. We had good moments, but I feel for the guys”
Bernier seconded his skipper’s thoughts;
“This is a tough loss to swallow. It’s those little mistakes that keep us from winning or earning points that we deserve.”
The Impact remain in the cellar of the MLS East, four points behind 9th place Chicago Fire (Montreal has with two games in hand). They will travel to Columbus on Saturday, July 19th to face the Crew.
As for Sporting K.C., they are now within a win of top seeded D.C. United and five points clear are 3rd place Toronto F.C. Sporting will play a mid-week away game, also against the Crew.