Recap: Sporting KC advances to Pro Soccer Classic final with 3-2 win over Montreal
Sporting Kansas City earned a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and advanced to the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic championship on Saturday (7 p.m. CT live on WatchESPN and ESPN3.com). Dom Dwyer scored twice and Sal Zizzo grabbed the game-winner as Sporting KC won Group B with a perfect 3-0-0 record in the eight-team, preseason tournament.
Montreal started strong, taking an early 1-0 lead through Sanna Nyassi within the game's opening 30 seconds. The Gambian international latched onto a long ball over the top of the Sporting KC defense from former No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wenger and curled his shot around Jon Kempin for his second goal of the tournament.
Dwyer nearly responded in the seventh minute for Sporting KC. He eluded his defender and had only Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush to beat, but his shot skipped beyond the far post as Bush closed down the angle.
Dwyer would prove to be dangerous again two minutes later, drawing a penalty kick to set up the equalizer as he was dragged down inside the area on a cross from the right flank by Sal Zizzo. Dwyer, who spent the first half of the 2013 season on loan in Orlando with USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC, stepped to the spot and powered his left-footed shot past Bush to level the score at 1-1.
Starting his second straight match in net for Sporting KC, Kempin made two superb saves in as many minutes to thwart Wenger from close range in the 27th minute and then push Justin Mapp's long-range shot over the crossbar after the 29-minute mark. The homegrown product nearly capped off the sequence with a penalty kick stop in the 30th minute however Felipe snuck his shot under Kempin to put the Impact back ahead.
The lead wouldn't hold through the halftime whistle as Sporting Kansas City again answered through Dwyer. Graham Zusi's well-placed service had produced a prime opportunity for Zizzo minutes earlier and in the 43rd minute, it was his cross that connected with Dwyer for the Englishman's second goal of the game on a header at the top of the six-yard box.
The Eastern Conference foes exchanged scoring opportunities on opposite ends in the first 20 minutes of the second half with neither finding the coveted go-ahead goal. Collen Warner, who earned the penalty for Montreal in the first half, failed to put his name on the scoresheet in the 51st minute after doing well with his first touch to break behind Matt Besler. Six minutes later, Kempin was well positioned to smother a shot from Mapp to put an end to the Impact's end-to-end counter attack.
Looking for the team's first advantage of the match, Sporting Kansas City asserted its attack. Zusi came close in the 66th minute if not for a superb save from Bush and Dwyer was inches from a hat trick only to see his header carry over the crossbar minutes later.
The reigning MLS Cup champions finally broke through in the 75th minuth on Zizzo's third goal of the preseason. MLS SuperDraft selection Alex Martinez, a second-half substitute, played the ball wide to Seth Sinovic on the left flank. The Leawood, Kan. native skipped a cross all the way across the face of the goal and found Zizzo beyond the backpost for a first-time finish before Bush could cover the required ground.
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Earlier on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City defeated North American Soccer League expansion side Indy Eleven Soccer Club 4-2 on the practice fields of the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Argentine striker Claudio Bieler recorded a hat trick to increase his preseason goal scoring total to four.
The Designated Player put Sporting KC on the board in the 22nd minute with a penalty kick, but Indy Eleven stormed back to go ahead 2-1 before halftime. Bieler converted his second goal shortly after the break, finishing an Adnan Gabeljic ball in the penalty box, and he completed the hat trick with his second penalty kick in the 69th minute. Midfielder Mikey Lopez sealed the match in the 72nd minute after he dribbled around onrushing goalkeeper Kristian Nicht and finished for the game's final goal.
Sporting Kansas City improves to 8-0-1 in the 2014 preseason and will conclude the team's stay in Orlando on Saturday when they take on the Columbus Crew for the Disney Pro Soccer Classic championship. Visit SportingKC.com/preseason for all the latest information on the March to Soccer leading up to Sporting Kansas City's season opener in Seattle on March 8.
2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Weather: 68 degrees and rainy
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Sporting Kansas City: Jon Kempin; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Oriol Rosell, Jimmy Medranda (Alex Martinez 70), Benny Feilhaber; Sal Zizzo, Dom Dwyer (Trialist 2 88), Graham Zusi
Montreal Impact: Evan Bush; Hassoun Camara (Eric Miller 46’), Wandrille Lefèvre (Calum Mallace 46’), Matteo Ferrari (Karl W. Ouimette 46’), Heath Pearce* (Maxim Tissot 46’); Hernan Bernardello (Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé 84’), Collen Warner (Patrice Bernier 58’), Sanna Nyassi (Blake Smith 63’), Felipe (Andrés Romero 58’), Justin Mapp (Santiago Gonzalez 75’); Andrew Wenger (Marco Di Vaio 46’)
SKC -- Chance Myers (caution; reckless tackle) 53
MTL -- Bernardello (caution; reckless foul) 55
SKC -- Dom Dwyer (caution; reckless foul) 58
MTL -- Maxim Tissot (caution; tactical foul) 77
MTL - Sanna Nyassi (Andrew Wenger) 1
SKC - Dom Dwyer (penalty kick) 9
MTL - Felipe (penalty kick) 30
SKC - Dom Dwyer (Graham Zusi, Seth Sinovic) 43
SKC - Sal Zizzo (Seth Sinovic, Alex Martinez) 75