By DAN KARELL
Major League Soccer teams were busy on Wednesday night, with Sporting Kansas City, the Montreal Impact, San Jose Earthquakes, and Toronto FC all in action.
Sporting KC scored a goal on either side of halftime and used a confident performance from midfielder Benny Feilhaber to take down Real Esteli of Nicaragua, 2-0, on the road. At Stade Saputo, the Montreal Impact defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, thanks to a first-half goal from Hassoun Camara.
Meanwhile, at BMO Field in Toronto, AS Roma defeated TFC, 4-1, in a friendly match in front of more than 18,000 fans.
Making their first international cup competition appearance since 2009, Sporting KC traveled to the Estadio Indepencia in Esteli to open up their CCL campaign. 31 minutes into the match, the visitors opened up the scoring as a Feilhaber ball into the box was directed towards goal by defender Ike Opara, who sent a looping header over Esteli goalkeeper Justo Lorente.
In the second half, Dom Dwyer, making his first start for Sporting KC this season, dribbled past a defender and finished calmly to give his side a two goal lead, one that they would hold on to for all three points early on.
In Montreal, the Impact earned three points thanks to a bullet redirected header by Camara in the 15th minute, which turned out to be the lone goal of the game.
The visiting Earthquakes nearly went up in the 11th minute, as Collen Warner was whistled for a handball in the box, giving Alan Gordon an opportunity to put his team up a goal. Instead, Gordon struck his spot kick just to the right of Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush, allowing the backup stopper to make an easy save.
Camara’s goal came off a free kick from new signing Hernan Bernardello, who made his debut on Wednesday. In the 52nd, the Earthquakes nearly drew level when midfielder Jaime Alas hit a curling free kick that cannoned off the crossbar.
In their penultimate friendly match on their North American tour, AS Roma defeated TFC, 4-1, with the Italian side out-shooting the Canadian club, 20-6, and 9-1 shots on target.
Despite the scoreline, it was actually TFC who took an early lead. Recent signing Alvaro Rey ran down the right sideline and crossed into the middle of the box. Roma defender Nicolas Burdisso tried to head the ball away but instead re-directed it into his own goal.
It only took ten minutes for Roma to equalize, as right back Maicon stormed past a number of defenders, crossing the ball on the ground to Alessandro Florenzi, who only had to tap the ball in for a goal. Florenzi was involved again in the 33rd minute as he set up his teammate Marco Borriello with a wonderful cross that Borriello headed home.
Substitute Miralem Pjanic put the game beyond doubt in the 67th minute with a stunning free kick over the wall and again in the 87th minute with a cheeky back heel after rounding the TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei.