Despite dominating the stat sheet in almost every category, Sporting Kansas City fell to the Montreal Impact 2-0 in front of 20,404 fans at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (LSP). After starting the season with seven straight wins, Sporting KC has now lost two straight.
The loss was the first shutout loss at LSP and the first for the team since a 2-0 loss to Chivas USA on July 10, 2010 at Community America Ballpark.
Sporting KC outshot Montreal 22-6, had 11 corners to Montreal's one and 66 percent of the possession, but were just not able to get the final pass or finish their chances.
During the postgame press conference that Bleacher Report attended, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said, "We didn't come to compete today, and that was a big part of why we lost today. I take responsibility for that. That's not happening."
The Impact's chances seemed to come close on the heels of missed opportunities by Sporting KC.
In the 27th minute, midfielder Graham Zusi took a shot from distance, but goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made the save, tipping the ball out for a corner.
Three minutes later, Sporting KC had a throw-in deep in its own end of the field. After a couple of headers, the ball fell to Impact midfielder Jeb Brovsky. Brovsky made a short pass to Justin Braun, who one-timed the ball to Felipe. The Brazilian moved the ball forward and took a shot from about 25 yards out.
Defender Aurelien Collin appeared to screen goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen for a split second and that was all it took. Nielsen picked up the ball late and got a hand to it, but not enough to keep it out of the back of the net.
In the locker room after the game, Nielsen said, "That's why I probably reacted a little late. I have not seen it on video, but from the outside it probably did not look good from my side. That's a shot I normally expect myself to save. Of course, that's a big disappointment."
In the 55th minute, Bobby Convey played a short corner to Chance Myers. Myers found Zusi for a shot, but the shot was blocked.
Eight minutes later, Montreal was awarded a penalty for a foul on Lamar Neagle in the box. Collin seemed to clear the ball from in front of Neagle before Neagle fell over Nielsen. Referee Juan Guzman pointed to the spot, despite the massive protests from Sporting KC players.
Patrice Bernier stepped up and converted the penalty to give Montreal a 2-0 lead.
After the game, Vermes said, "I saw the replay. It's not a penalty. Collin gets the ball. Referee makes a call, makes a call. If you look at the play prior to that, how it led to it, terrible, terrible on our part. From the throw-in, we give up, we're all open. The whole play should have been totally different."
Braun brought Kei Kamara down in the Montreal penalty area in the first half, in what should have been a more obvious penalty call, but nothing was given.
Aside from Collin hitting the crossbar in the 90th minute, none of the rest of the Sporting KC chances truly threatened to put a dent in the Montreal lead.
In the locker room after the game, Zusi said, "I think we got out-fought tonight and I can honestly say that it's the first time that our team, that's happened to us this year. I can pretty much promise you that it won't happen again. We just flat got out-fought. They capitalized on a couple of mistakes by us, and credit to them, they played the game pretty well. They had a game plan and they stuck to it pretty well."
Sporting Kansas City head back out on the road next week to try to get back on track. They head to Toyota Park to take on the Chicago Fire on Saturday, May 12th, at 7:30 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised on KSMO-TV.
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