Sporting Kansas City entered the 10th game of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season still searching for their first win. They welcomed CF Montreal for the first time since 2019, after defeating them in Canada in 2022.
Sporting KC rolled out a slightly altered lineup with Jake Davis replacing Cam Duke at right back, as Graham Zusi was still unavailable for selection. Robert Voloder was inserted back into the starting lineup for the suspended Andreu Fontas. Also, Gadi Kinda appeared on the bench again, after starting midweek against the Tulsa Athletic in the US Open Cup.
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) April 30, 2023
Montreal found themselves a bit shorthanded with a heavy injury report entering the game. Newly acquired midfielder Bryce Duke found himself in the starting lineup, but the team was without Romell Quioto, Lassi Lappalainen and Mason Toye.
Notre XI contre @SportingKC 👊
— CF Montréal (@cfmontreal) April 29, 2023
Sporting KC, as they do, came out in control of the match early. They earned a couple dangerous free kicks, and it seemed Montreal’s strategy was to foul and foul frequently. Despite that, the first good chance of the half came from a ball cut back to the top of the box that was stung towards a diving Tim Melia who would haul it in. In the 25th minute Montreal nearly opened the scoring with a buildup that saw Sporting players scrambling with challenges before a cross found the foot of Offor and was shot off a diving Melia’s face before it trickled out for a corner kick.
Victor Wanyama would find himself the first in the book when he fell to the ground fighting for a ball with Espinoza and grabbed ahold of his shorts to stop an attack. I’m not sure the attack was that promising, but the letter of the law, it’s a booking. In the 30th minute, Rosero followed it up with a yellow of his own. After fouling Offor coming over his back for a ball, he slide in before the play had been restarted to kick the ball away (and may have gotten the man too).
Sporting would get their best chance up to that point when Daniel Salloi settled a bouncing ball on the top of the box and blasted a shot towards the net that was parried over for a corner kick. On the subsequent corner there was a hint of a PK as Wanyama pulled down Dany Rosero and after the ball went out for another corner, it seemed there was a slight delay, but the VAR never signaled for a full review by the center ref.
From there, things completely fell apart.
In the 35th minute, Montreal would open the scoring. They worked a ball, methodically, but not that fast, right through the heart of the defense. Davis was caught up the field a bit on the right, so Rosero rolled over to cover, pulling Voloder out of position. Eventually, Logan Ndenbe was left two on one for a ball to be rolled through to Bryce Duke who slid the shot past Melia. Watching the replay, there were a lot of Sporting players just jogging back on defense, including all three midfielders.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 30, 2023
There was a hint of offside on the goal, but after a delay, the game was restarted.
After the goal, Sporting KC looked lost. In the only minute of stoppage time a ball was played up the right side of the attack and then slipped into the box where Johnny Russell was on the wrong side of his runner, Aaron Herrera, who played a slow rolling ball back across the box, through Voloder’s legs before it’s knocked into the net by Choiniere.
Mathieu Choinière is in red-hot form🔥
— Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic (@AlexGangueRuzic) April 30, 2023
The second goal was immediately followed by a “Vermes Out” chant from The Cauldron. 0-2 at the half.
To start the second half the only change was the removal of Robi Voloder for Robert Castellanos.
In the 52nd minute Sporting showed mild signs of life with a ball over the top to Daniel Salloi who beats Herrera and blasts a shot off the keeper. The rebound fall to Erik Thommy who plays a square ball to Pulido whose touch lets him down and he ends up getting a yellow card for a nasty challenge as he tried to recover the ball. If Pulido doesn’t even touch the ball, it probably falls to Russell for a golden chance. But this is how things are in 2023 for Sporting KC.
Espinoza went in the book in the 57th minute after another turnover off of a throw in. It was a smart foul from Espinoza to stop a counter, but he was very animated to Jake Davis who had made the throw to put it at his feet.
Sporting, who only start playing after giving up two goals, found more life in the 58th minute when Salloi lofted a beautiful cross to the far post where Russell karate kicked it at the keeper who somehow dove to force a corner.
In the 62nd minute, Gadi Kinda subbed on for Thommy, marking his first MLS game minutes since 2021.
In the 66th Daniel Salloi was played a ball by Gadi Kinda and Salloi tried to work a moment of individual brilliance beating three defenders and shooting a rocket of a shot towards the upper 90, but once again the keeper parries it out for a corner.
Around the 77th minute a “Hey Vermes, it’s all your fault” chant broke out in the Cauldron.
Sporting KC almost scored in the 90+7′ of stoppage time but it was called back for offside before the game mercifully came to an end.