One week removed from an emotional comeback win over rivals Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City ventures north of the Canadian border for a cross-conference showdown with the Montreal Impact at 6:30 p.m. Saturday inside Stade Saputo in Montreal.
Three hours of live television coverage will begin at 5:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest, while local radio broadcasts will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM (Spanish). The match will also stream live on FOX Sports GO for viewers in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, as well as on ESPN+ elsewhere across the U.S.
Sporting KC boasts a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions, a streak that was extended last weekend after a remarkable second-half rally at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Facing a 2-0 halftime deficit, the hosts stormed back behind goals from Daniel Salloi and substitutes Diego Rubio and Khiry Shelton to seal a wild 3-2 victory over the Dynamo. Manager Peter Vermes’ men haven’t lost since falling 1-0 to the New England Revolution on April 28.
Anchored by reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia and 2018 MLS All-Star honorees Graham Zusi and Ilie, Sporting KC has enjoyed excellent defensive form on their recent travels.
The side has conceded just two goals in its last six away games in all competitions. Offensively, the club has seen staggering production from off the bench: Sporting KC has received a team-record eight MLS goals from substitutes in 2018.
Montreal endured a poor start to the 2018 campaign, losing 10 of their first 13 games under first-year head coach Remi Garde. The Impact have steadied their sails since then, however, and own three shutout victories over their last four games.
Evan Bush, who has 15 more saves than any other MLS goalkeeper, is amidst a 252-minute shutout streak, good for the longest active run in the league.
Talismanic playmaker Ignacio Piatti has played a pivotal role in Montreal’s resurgence. The 33-year-old Argentine has been involved in seven of the club’s last eight goals since the start of May, recording three goals and four assists.
Piatti leads the team in both goals (eight) and assists (six), while midfield newcomer and Algerian international Saphir Taider has created a team-best 32 scoring chances. Holding midfielder Samuel Piette serves as the defensive foil to Piatti and Taider, leading MLS field players in recoveries and ranking fifth in interceptions.
The head-to-head series has seen Sporting KC wield a decisive upper hand in recent years. The club boasts a 4-0-2 record in the last six meetings since 2014, outscoring the Impact 14-5 during that stretch. Sporting KC also owns a 3-1-2 mark at Stade Saputo, including a 2-2 draw on their last visit in June 2016.
The most recent battle between the sides resulted in a 1-1 draw last June at Children’s Mercy Park. Gerso Fernandes opened the scoring after 24 minutes, but Montreal’s Matteo Mancuso capitalized on a turnover to notch an 82nd-minute equalizer.
Sporting KC’s injury report had swelled to nine players earlier this month but includes just five names heading into Saturday.
Captain Matt Besler has missed three straight games with a hamstring strain and is listed as questionable, while the quartet of Gianluca Busio (hamstring), Felipe Gutierrez (hernia), Cristian Lobato (knee) and Jimmy Medranda (knee) will remain sidelined.
Montreal will also be without four players, defenders Zakaria Diallo (Achilles) and Kyle Fisher (tibia) and midfield duo David Choiniere (ankle) and Louis Beland-Goyette (foot).
– Story from Sporting KC