By TATE STEINLAGE
Needing three points to help kickstart a climb out of the MLS Eastern Conference cellar, Montreal knew it would have a tough task Saturday without its leader up top in Marco Di Vaio. However, a 17th-minute red card would make the task insurmountable, and turn an already forgettable week into a downright disaster.
An early Collen Warner red card and Dom Dwyer penalty kick goal put the Impact in a hole they never emerged from, as Dwyer finished with a pair of goals on either side of a Paulo Nagamura finish as Sporting KC rolled to a 3-0 victory at Stade Saputo.
Montreal had little argument about the red card after Warner took at least three swipes with his hand in an attempt to keep Sporting KC off the board following a scrum in front of goal. Warner’s third swipe made clear contact with the ball and referee Jair Marrufo quickly came running in to award the penalty kick.
Dwyer ran up to the spot and scored the first of his two goals on the afternoon, blasting the penalty kick past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
The tally was Dwyer’s fifth MLS regular season goal. The sixth would come a little more than 45 minutes later, and with a little more flare. Substitute forward Toni Dovale linked up with Dwyer on a perfect run down the middle of the pitch. The finish proved to be just as pretty as the pass, as Dwyer blasted his left-footed shot into the corner of the net with the confidence of a player who’s vying for the MLS’ Golden Boot award.
“I said when we first drafted him (Dwyer), he’s a very hungry forward,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said over the phone after the match. “He’s relentless when it (the ball) comes in and around the box. Again today I thought he had some very good opportunities. The second goal that he finished was a fantastic finish. (It was) good movement by him, (and an) excellent pass by Toni Dovale, and again, a great finish — not an easy finish — that he puts in. His hunger continues and that’s good for us and great for the team.”
Midfielder Paulo Nagamura rounded out the scoring for Sporting KC with a first-half goal of his own in the 34th minute following a cross from defender Chance Myers that rolled to the right foot of the open Nagamura. The goal was aided by a quick deflection that left Perkins with no chance at a save opportunity.
“People think that it is very easy to play a man up in a game, but it is actually very difficult most of the time because it galvanizes a team, especially the team that is a man down,” Vermes said. “They find a way to bunker in and counter, and normally the team that has the man up gets a little bit relaxed because they feel that they’re a man up.
“I thought for the first few minutes once we went a man up we were still trying to drive forward fast and we were enforcing the game a little bit, but then we started to move the ball a little better and after that I thought we were absolutely excellent with possession. We were patient, but at the same time, we had a purpose with the way that we went forward. And at the same time we did a great job on the defensive end to not give anything away, and that’s not an easy thing to do but the guys were very good today.”
The Impact finished the afternoon with just a little more than 20 percent of the possession, resulting in just two shots on target in the team’s second loss this week. Forward Jack McInerney was quiet throughout the 90 minutes, and the only bright spot was the effort of midfielder Justin Mapp.
With the victory, Sporting KC improves its record to 5-2-2, while the Montreal Impact now fall to 1-5-3. Kansas City will have a quick turnaround as it faces the Philadelphia Union in a midweek clash at Sporting Park. The Impact will try to bounce back next Saturday on the road against D.C. United.