Sporting Kansas City put on a soccer clinic the last time that they met Montreal. The score was 2-0 but it could have been more, it was that kind of night. Now, however, Sporting and Montreal are still close in the standings, Montreal has a one point advantage, but the Impact have three games in hand against Sporting. If Sporting is to keep pace in the East, this game is massive.
About the Teams
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City is certainly at lesser strength than the first matchup. Sporting is currently missing Graham Zusi and Matt Besler on international duty, two key parts to the win earlier in the season. Sporting is coming off of two straight draws in league play, one on the road at DC United and one at home to a feisty Houston Dynamo squad. Sporting has maintained good pace in the Eastern Conference so far, sitting in third place only three points behind New York with a match in hand against them.
Even without Zusi and Besler, this Sporting squad is still strong. An attack lead by Jacob Peterson, Claudio Bieler and Kei Kamara is a big scoring threat all match long. That attack will have to be strong if they want to win against Montreal.
What a change a year makes. Montreal has been one of the most formidable teams this season, earning 23 points in only eleven matches. They lead the league in average points per match with a very healthy 2.09 and have one of the better goal differentials in the league. They've had success domestically as well, winning the Voyageurs cup which gave them entrance into the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League.
Montreal arguably has the best chemistry of any MLS squad. With the way they've been dominating the league this season, it's not hard to see why.
Players to Watch
Sporting Kansas City- Kei Kamara
Kei Kamara has been on a hot streak as of late. He scored the equalizer against Houston on Sunday and then scored another two days later against the Des Moines Menace in the third round of the US Open Cup. Kamara has looked like he is in top shape coming off of his Norwich City loan and has done very well for the attack of Sporting Kansas City.
Montreal Impact- Marco Di Vaio
Kei Kamara has been on a hot streak. Marco Di Vaio has had a hot season. Di Vaio has scored nine goals in eleven appearances including a hat trick in the Impact's latest win over the Philadelphia Union. Di Vaio has been a big part in the Impact's strong attack and will need to be on the top of his game to get past the strong Sporting KC defense.
How they will Win
Sporting Kansas City
Montreal's attack is very good but their defense is still a little shaky. Sporting's high pressure style of offense is perfect to capitalize on this. If Sporting can keep the pressure on the attacking half then there should be no reason why they can't put a couple of goals in the net.
Sporting's defense is still strong without Matt Besler, but it takes a hit without their international player. If Montreal can keep some attacking pressure on the center backs, surely Di Vaio or Andrew Wenger can find an opportunity to put one past Jimmy Nielsen.
Sporting Kansas City: Nielsen, Myers, Olum, Collin, Sinovic, Rosell, Nagamura, Rosell, Feilhaber, Peterson, Bieler, Kamara
Montreal Impact: Troy Perkins, Hassoun Camara, Alessandro Nesta, Matteo Ferrari, Jeb Brovsky, Justin Mapp, Patrice Bernier, Felipe, Andres Romero, Andrew Wenger, Marco Di Vaio
Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Montreal Impact
Like I said above, Montreal's defense is still a little shaky. If Sporting can keep the pressure up on the defense of the Impact they should be able to put a couple away.