In an ugly, foul-heavy away game that saw Sporting KC without both its starting central defenders, deep into added time it looked like the boys in blue would be heading home with a point in hand.
And a big point at that – KC entered the match 4 points clear of second place Montreal.
Instead, in a reversal of what happened in KC’s previous game in Salt Lake City, Montreal was able to notch a goal in the 96th minute to secure the 1-0 win. It’s the latest goal that KC has ever allowed, just days after scoring the latest goal in team history.
“(H)e did the right thing,” said KC keeper Jimmy Nielsen of the last second strike from Montreal sub Blake Smith. “Kicking it hard between the goalie’s legs when he comes out, smart finish. All we can do right now is be disappointed with the result. The effort we put in today is acceptable.”
“It came across from the right side, Patrice (Bernier) played a great dummy and Marco [Di Vaio] was able to play get one touch, lift his head and find me, playing me through the defense to finish,” explained Smith. “It’s a great feeling. I wanted to make sure that I got a good clean shot and place it where I wanted.”
For most of the second half, though, KC looked like the squad more likely to find the back of the net.
Just a few minutes after halftime, Claudio Bieler hit a nice half volley that was headed into the area by Ike Opara, but Montreal’s keeper Troy Perkins did well to push it out for a corner. Opara should have done better with the resulting corner, which found him clear at the far post, but the substitute defender couldn’t find the net.
But as the game wore on into the last 10 or 15 minutes, Montreal took back the momentum and looked to be the more dangerous team.
“We kept pushing all game long and we felt that they were slowing down in the second half,” said Bernier. “They have big defenders, so we tried to lay the counter attack, which served us well. Ironically, we scored on a nice build up, but we’ll take it.”
Despite the disappointing result, KC still sits atop the Eastern Conference board heading into the All Star break – which isn’t really all that much of a break. Sporting is back in action this Saturday at home versus the New York Red Bulls.