by Brian Turrel
Sporting KC returned from MLS schedule’s international break rested, trained and prepared. The visiting Montreal Impact were the ones who suffered for it, as Sporting KC scored a team record 7 goals in the Saturday afternoon match at Children’s Mercy Park.
Montreal had no antidote for Sporting KC’s front line — Krisztian Nemeth in the center, Johnny Russell on the right, and Gerso Fernandes on the left. Nemeth finished the game with 3 goals, and Russell with 2. Fernandes didn’t score, but created many of the scoring chances by beating his defender on the dribble or getting open space for a pass from his supporting line.
Russell started the scoring in the 10th minute, picking up a rebound off a Nemeth shot for a 1-0 lead.
Sporting scored two more in the closing minutes of the first half. Nemeth got a fine cross from Fernandes for his first goal in the 43rd minute. Fernandes served up another assist to midfielder Felipe Gutierrez in first half stoppage time.
The scoring burst continued after halftime, with Russell’s 50th minute goal off an assist from Roger Espinoza.
Nemeth scored his second goal in the 68th minute when Russell set him up nicely with a pass into the box.
Gianluca Busio scored as a substitute in the 78th minute, becoming the youngest goal-scorer at Children’s Mercy Park. The 16 year old midfielder anticipated a move by Montreal defender Victor Cabrera to win the ball near the penalty spot and knock it in.
Nemeth finished his hat trick in the 84th minute finding himself wide open and getting a pass forward from midfielder Ilie Sanchez.
Kansas City did give up one goal in the closing minutes of the game. Montreal winger Saphir Taider broke away to slip one past goalkeeper Tim Melia in the 89th minute. It was only the second shot on frame from the Impact.
Nemeth credited his fellow forwards after the game.
“When you play with wingers like Johnny and Gerso,” he said, “it’s easy to play center forward because the teams don’t know which players they have to focus on.”
“They gave me an easy ball,” Nemeth said. “Probably anyone could finish that.”
Sporting KC will head next to Mexico, taking on Monterrey in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semifinal on April 4. They’ll quickly turn around to Cincinnati for an MLS road game on April 7 before returning to Kansas City for the home leg of the CCL semi-final on April 11.