Sporting Dominant Over Streaking Montreal

Kansas City breaks Montreal's 4-game win streak with commanding performance
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, April 01, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

After successfully defusing the bomb that is Marco Di Vaio and the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes summed up the game perfectly.

"I think it’s really simple," he said. "From the opening whistle to final whistle we were dominant. … We had a very specific way we wanted to play and I thought the guys executed it just about perfect."

The onslaught began in just the 5th minute when Benny Feilhaber played a cutting ball into Claudio Bieler, whose deft touch brought it to his right foot on the edge of the box, past the defender and into the opposite corner of the net. Bieler would have 2 more excellent chances at scoring, once in the 24th minute and another in the 71st.

Six minutes later, Aurelien Collin appeared to have scored his first goal on the season, knocking the ball into the net with his head from a set piece. This goal was ruled offside. Upon some further review, it seemed to me that Collin was held onside by both Karl Ouimette and Jeb Brovsky by at least 2 yards.

In the 71st minute, Bieler made yet another half chance into something spectacular when he settled a Paulo Nagamura cross from about 12 yards from goal and launched a cheeky floating shot that almost found the upper 90 of the opposite side of goal.

Sporting's defense didn't have much work to do, as its midfield dominated Montreal's and would not let the ball get into the attacking third with much promise. One observation I made was a rather high line set by Matt Besler, in which Di Vaio could not exploit. Collin did a great job shutting the Italian striker down and had to make very few last-ditch tackles.

Man of the Match honors hold some extremely tough competition for this match. Graham Zusi put on a show – dribbling through defenders, bringing Jeb Brovsky to the ground multiple times with his quick first touch and juggling the ball away from a defender at the touch-line for fun. Zusi topped off his evening with an incredible finish after latching onto a ball threaded through the defense by Feilhaber.

Conversely, Feilhaber performed the best he has since becoming a Sporting player. A ball through to Bieler set up the first goal, and the aforementioned pass to Zusi might well be one of the best assists in the league this season. This is especially impressive considering how far Feilhaber has come since last year. In 2012 with New England, he recorded 2 assists on the entire year. He had that same number against Montreal on Saturday.

After 3 weeks of inconsistency, inefficiency and frustration, the team seemed to finally click on Saturday night. Vermes was very critical of the scrutiny surrounding Sporting's recent finishing troubles, saying after the game, "It's not an issue. It's an issue when you have players that can't make chances and it's an issue when you have players that can't run into those positions. ... We have all of that."

NEXT UP: April 5 – Sporting KC vs. D.C. United, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kans. 8:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

Skylar ROLSTAD

Nationality:
USA
College:
Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.
SKYLAR'S SPONSORS