Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer scored his 14th goal of the season, and sixth of the year against Montreal, in the 89th minute as the reigning MLS Cup champions earned its third straight road win with a 2-1 result over the Montreal Impact on Saturday at Stade Saputo.
With the victory, Sporting Kansas City sweeps the season series with a perfect 3-0-0 record against the Canadian club and remains in second place in the Eastern Conference.
The visitors took the lead less than four minutes into the match when Dwyer beat Troy Perkins to a long throw-in from Matt Besler for the earliest goal scored in a Sporting KC game this season. Now 8-0-4 when scoring first in 2014, Sporting Kansas City’s unbeaten streak was put in danger when Montreal pulled level in the 28th minute.
The equalizer came on Montreal’s first shot of the match and one of only two attempts by the Impact in the first half. Marco Di Vaio directed a perfectly placed header inside the far post after Justin Mapp did well to pick out the 37-year-old Italian with a header of his own. Di Vaio — a 20-goal scorer in 2013 — is the Impact’s all-time leading scorer with 28 goals, while Mapp recorded his 63rd career assist (fourth most among active players) and 10th against Sporting KC.
Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made his first MLS start for Sporting KC on Saturday, replacing the injured Eric Kronberg in net, and improved to 4-1-1 all-time against Montreal with the win in his debut. The Overland Park, Kansas native denied Andres Romero in the 33rd minute for his lone save of the match and made an important intervention to thwart Jack McInerney minutes later.
Sporting Kansas City started the second half as the more dangerous of the two sides but it would take nearly the full length of regulation to capitalize with the match-winner. Aurelien Collin’s header carried narrowly over the crossbar off a free kick from Graham Zusi and Perkins did well to make a one-handed stop on Antonio Dovale’s effort at the 60-minute mark.
Besler, making his first appearance since returning from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, again proved to be dangerous on the attacking end with a trademark long throw in the 63rd minute. His delivery struck the arm of Krzysztof Krol, making his Montreal debut, but the infraction went unpunished by referee Hilario Grajeda.
Montreal’s attack awoke with their first shot of the second half in the 67th minute from the foot of Felipe Martins. The attempt rolled wide, as did an attempt from McInerney shortly thereafter. The 21-year-old threatened again in the 78th minute and earned a corner when his shot deflected wide of its target before Hassoun Camara curled his shot just beyond the far post in the 86th.
Sporting Kansas City punished the last-place Impact for the missed opportunities by capitalizing on a moment of indecision between Perkins and veteran defender Heath Pearce in the 89th minute. Pressure from second-half substitute C.J. Sapong produced the decisive goal as the ball fell to Dwyer with Perkins caught out of position.
The Englishman took one touch to settle and sent his shot into the empty net for his fourth game-winning goal and fourth multi-goal game of the season (both MLS highs), including braces in each of the team’s three meetings with Montreal. His 14 goals are one shy of Bradley Wright-Phillips for the MLS lead and rank third on the club’s all-time single season goal scoring chart, trailing only Eddie Johnson (15 in 2007) and Preki (18 in 1996). Dwyer leads all MLS players with four game-winning goals.
Sporting Kansas City remains on the road, where it has won five times in 2014, for its next MLS match at the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, live locally on KMCI-TV 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV. The team’s official watch party will be held at Turn 2 inside Hollywood Casino (777 Hollywood Casino Blvd.) in Kansas City, Kan., with doors opening at 4 p.m.