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MLS Roundup: Sporting Kansas City Flying High

It was an SKC-colored celebration at Sporting Park as the defending MLS Cup champions easily dispatched Montreal. Nick Kariuki with that story and more in your highlight-filled weekend review.
BY Nick Kariuki Posted
April 21, 2014
11:43 AM

The game you should have seen

Sporting KC’s dominant showing at home against the Montreal Impact on Saturday was a good overall performance that made a strong statement for the defending champions.

Marco Di Vaio seemed set to open the score for the visitors in the 14th minute. Teammate Felipe managed to draw out Sporting keeper Eric Kronberg and cross for Impact striker to finish from near the penalty spot, but defender Aurélien Collin was able to clear the shot off the line. Kronberg recovered to save Collen Warner’s follow-up attempt. Sporting’s opening goal came in the 31st minute when a Matt Besler long throw met the head of Montreal’s Calum Mallace and then looped over everyone into the right side-netting for an own goal.

A minute later Di Vaio had a chance to even the score, but the Italian dragged his effort wide.

In the 71st minute Collin extended the lead with a low shot that took advantage of Troy Perkins’ obscured vision.

Dom Dyer followed up with a brace to put the game completely out of Montreal’s grasp. In the 74th minute he slid into the six-yard box connect with Jacob Peterson’s low cross, and in the 86th minute the forward rose between Montreal’s central defensive partnership to head in a Graham Zusi cross for the final goal of the match.


This week, two goals share top billing since both were similar in placement, technique, and importance.

Héctor Jiménez’s 90th minute equalizer for the Columbus Crew started with a fantastic cross-field pass from Will Trapp. Jimenez took the ball down on the left wing and cut into the top corner of D.C.’s penalty area before letting loose a curling shot that whipped into the bottom right corner. Take a look:

The other top goal was Vancouver Whitecaps substitute Ketuka Manneh’s 86th-minute equalizer against Los Angeles. The winger also received the ball outside the top-left corner of the penalty area and was able to line up and shoot before Juninho could close him down. The shot curled quickly into the bottom right corner and put the Whitecaps level 2-2.

Two other goals that deserve a mention are Javier Espindola’s thumping shot from a tight angle to put D.C. ahead of the Crew:

and Sounders forward Obafemi Martins’ chipped finish after great interplay with Clint Dempsey:

Inconsistent Referees or Poor Discipline?

This game-week saw 33 yellow cards and seven red cards, which seems pretty high. When you realize that season total is already at 221 yellow cards and 20 red cards you start to worry that a trend is developing.

The week’s ejections ranged from goal-impeding handballs to dangerous challenges. Most of the recipients should have no complaints, except maybe Houston’s Kofi Sarkodie. The defender received his second yellow card for time-wasting on a throw-in. With the game tied and under eight minutes left it seemed strange that ref Armando Villarreal was so quick to reach for his pocket. “Normally you see the ref warn a guy before he gives him a yellow for that kind of thing but MLS is cracking down on these types of things," Dynamo teammate David Horst said after the game.

Columbus center back Giancarlo Gonzalez should consider himself fortunate that his foul on Eddie Johnson wasn’t deemed a last-man challenge by referee Juan Guzman. Gonzalez was seemingly let off with just a yellow card. Here’s a look at the foul and the resulting chaos:

Standings and Stats

Sporting KC moved to the top of the Eastern Conference ahead of the Columbus Crew. Toronto’s second-straight loss dropped them to third. Montreal’s poor form has the team down at the bottom with only three points so far this season.

In the Western Conference, FC Dallas’ win helped the team keep three points clear of Seattle and unbeaten Real Salt Lake. San Jose are in last place but have the benefit of two games in hand.

Erick Torres is now joint top-scorer in the league alongside Dempsey with six goals each. While Dempsey boasts supports a superior minutes per goal ratio, scoring every 65.5 minutes, compared to Torres who has scored every 100.5 minutes, it’s a great start to the season from the 21-year-old who’s on loan from Chivas Guadalajara.

Other News and events

  • Despite playing every minute so far this season, Landon Donovan still has not scored that elusive 135th goal that will make him the MLS’s sole all-time top scorer. Donovan is currently tied with forward Jeff Cunningham for the honor.

  • Speaking of all-time records, in RSL’s 1-0 win over Portland Nick Rimando made his return after two games out with a knee injury. Rimando made two highlight-reel saves in the 85th and 88th to earn his 111th career shutout. He is now one shy of the top-spot held by retired stopper Kevin Hartman. Take a look:

  • Michael Bradley also returned from his injury, although he couldn’t prevent Toronto’s 2-1 defeat to Dallas. The team will have the bye week to hopefully get its long list of injured, including Jermaine Defoe, fit again.

  • Robbie Keane has now put away three goals in his last three games.

  • With New York winning on Wednesday, now four teams are still waiting for that first win: Chicago, San Jose, Portland, and Montreal.

    Nick Kariuki is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.
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