By TATE STEINLAGE
Stade Saputo has become a home away from home for Dom Dwyer.
The young Sporting Kansas City forward scored his third and fourth goals there Saturday in Montreal as the reigning Major League Soccer champions earned a crucial three points in a 2-1 road victory.
Dwyer secured the brace — his third against the Impact this season — in the 89th minute. Teammate C.J. Sapong did well to disrupt the shaky Impact defense enough to poke the ball right at the feet of Dwyer, who wasted no time in firing a curling ball into the back of the net to secure a momentous road win.
“The bottom line is that it all came through us pressuring high up the field,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a conference call after the game. “We pushed them to make a mistake. The guys were swarming the game and again, when you’re putting pressure on an opposing team especially at home, you wind up creating opportunities for yourself.
“The guys, I thought, hung in there all game long. We all know that we made a mistake on the goal that we gave up, but they were determined to get one back. Credit to those guys because they did late in the game.”
The game-winner marked Dwyer’s 14th league goal and the third-most in a single season in Sporting KC history. It came as a sigh of relief as the visitors faced a second disappointing draw in as many games thanks to the head of Marco Di Vaio.
Down a goal just four minutes in, Montreal and Di Vaio stormed back to equalize in the 28th minute on an excellent sequence featuring a header reminiscent of Holland’s Robin van Persie in the World Cup. Midfielder Justin Mapp started the sequence with a headed pass to Di Vaio, who soared above the Sporting KC defense to place the ball in the corner past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
The goal came 24 minutes after Dwyer opened the match with a header of his own off a Matt Besler long thrown-in attempt. Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins came off his line to make a desperate save, but it proved to be too late as the ball bounced off Dwyer’s head and into the back of the goal.
With the scoreline at 1-1, both teams looked poised to go up a goal. Di Vaio nearly put away a second in the 33rd minute off an attempt that saw three Impact players touch the ball inside the 18-yard box, while Sporting KC forward Toni Dovale’s left-footed attempt in the 60th minute was saved excellently by Perkins.
However, the script would be Dwyer’s for the taking right before second-half stoppage time as Sporting KC improved its record to 8-5-5 with its third win against the Impact this season.
“It’s not easy (to do),” Vermes said. “I say it all the time, I think they’re a very good team. I think they’re a very dangerous team going forward. They’re excellent on the counter and in transitional moments in the game. If you’re not paying attention to the game, they can hit you pretty quickly.
“What I like about our game tonight is that, except for the goal that they scored, we were very locked into the game. You could tell there is a certain presence and aura about the group and how they went about their business tonight.”
Sporting KC will now look towards a mid-week road match in Columbus against the Crew before returning home for a weekend clash against the LA Galaxy. The Montreal Impact see its record fall to 3-5-9 as it looks ahead to next Saturday for a meeting of its own against the Crew.
Watch the match highlights below: