MONTREAL – A goal by second half substitute Blake Smith in stoppage time gave the Montreal Impact a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City Saturday night in front of 20,527 spectators at Stade Saputo.
Blake Smith scored his first ever game-winning goal in the 96th minute. Impact defender Hassoun Camara, dribbling down the right flank, played a ball towards centre field in the direction of Patrice Bernier, who cleverly dummied the ball through his legs for striker Marco Di Vaio. The Impact’s DP took one touch and then played a through ball for Blake Smith towards the left of goal. Smith used his first touch to place the ball past SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
With the win, the Impact is now only one point behind SKC for first place in the Eastern Conference with 35 points, tied with the New York Red Bulls, which won 4-3 versus the Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
The best chance of the first half fell to the Impact in the 20th minute. Justin Mapp cut to the middle from the right flank before playing a through ball towards the left side of the box that found Sanna Nyassi on the run. The Gambian midfielder dribbled into the box on a partial break and fired a shot that Nielsen blocked up high.
In the 26th minute, SKC striker Claudio Bieler found a little room just outside the left of the 18, but his left-footed shot was caught by Impact keeper Troy Perkins.
Perkins, who registered his 6th shutout of the season, came up big in the 52nd minute when a ball bounced into the box finding Bieler. With his back towards goal, the Argentine half volleyed a shot from 7-yards-out that was destined for the top right corner before the Impact’s keeper managed to parry the ball out of bounds, diving to his left.
“We had another good game defensively today,” said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum. “They had very few scoring chances. We played right up until the very end, and for me as a coach, it was a happy ending when you bring in a player [Blake Smith] who scores the winning goal.”
“It’s a huge win and really good for the team’s morale, especially after such a good effort to win the game in the end,” said Patrice Bernier. “We now move within one point of first with the three points from tonight and our smiles are little bigger. We couldn’t have asked for better.”
“The win was huge for us today and that’s all that really needs to be said,” added Blake Smith. “It came across from the right side, Patrice played a great dummy and Marco was able to play me through to finish. It’s a great feeling.”
The Impact will play its next game on the road in Washington against D.C. United on Saturday, August 3, at 7pm ET.
The team will then return home for its first matchup in the CONCACAF Champions league, the team’s opening match of the group stage at Stade Saputo against the Sans Jose Earthquakes, on Wednesday, August 7, at 8pm ET.
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky; M-Justin Mapp, Davy Arnaud, Patrice Bernier, Felipe (Andrés Romero 66’), Sanna Nyassi (Blake Smith 80’); F-Marco Di Vaio (Andrew Wenger 89’)
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Dennis Iapichino; M-Collen Warner; F-Daniele Paponi
KC – GK-Jimmy Nielsen; D-Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Lawrence Olum, Seth Sinovic; M-Oriol Rosell, Peterson Joseph (Benny Feihaber 45’), Graham Zusi; F-Kei Kamara, Claudio Bieler (Dom Dwyer 80’), Sonny Saad (C.J. Sapong 89’)
Subs not used: GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Mechack Jerome; F-Teal Bunbury,
MTL – Smith (Di Vaio, Camara) 90+’
KC – Sinovic 1’
KC – Joseph 24’
KC – Bieler 70’
MTL – Bernier 71’
KC – Rosell 88’