After a win earlier this week over one of their closest pursuers for the Eastern Conference lead, Sporting Kansas City appears to have another big challenge despite facing a team not even currently in the playoff picture.
That’s because the Montreal Impact have won six in a row at Stade Saputo, but Kansas City is the last visiting team to win there and has plenty of momentum as it heads back north of the border Saturday.
Sporting Kansas City (16-7-6) would have lost its spot atop the East with a defeat to New York on Wednesday but emerged with a 2-0 victory, handing the Red Bulls their first home loss of the season. C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara scored as Kansas City posted its third straight road win, moving four points ahead of second-place Chicago and five in front of New York.
“To score two goals here and get a shutout, it’s a massive result for us, especially how tight we are in regards to points,” said coach Peter Vermes, whose club is 5-0-2 in its last seven league games. “We’ll try to keep the pressure on everybody else.”
The victory also pulled Sporting KC within three points of San Jose in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, whose winner is guaranteed to host the MLS championship game should it get there.
The expansion Impact (12-15-3) just hope to get to the postseason. They are seventh in the East and trail Houston by seven points for the fifth and final playoff spot with four games left - at least one fewer every team they’re chasing.
Montreal hasn’t helped itself with road losses in its only two games this month. The Impact blew leads both times, falling 2-1 in Columbus on Sept. 1 and 3-1 at Chicago last Saturday.
Marco Di Vaio, Montreal’s first designated player, has the club’s only goals in September. He’s scored in four straight games and five of six after failing to register a goal in his first seven matches with the team.
“We needed those three points,” goalkeeper Troy Perkins said after last Saturday’s loss. “I don’t think we regrouped very well after they scored. “We have to be able to pick ourselves up better. We have to look to get those three points at home.”
Montreal has won six straight at Stade Saputo by a combined 15-4 score, a streak which dates back to a 3-1 loss to Kansas City on July 4. After their team fell behind early in the second half, Kamara and Graham Zusi converted penalty kicks, and Jacob Peterson added a late goal on an assist from Roger Espinoza.
Espinoza will have to sit out this game after drawing his fifth yellow card in the win over New York.
Bernier, who has a team-best nine goals, also scored in the home defeat to Kansas City in July.
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