Five Things

Sporting Kansas City is set to embark on a three-match road trip with the opener being played north of the border against CF Montreal on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT. Coverage of the match will begin 30 minutes prior to kick with the Sporting KC pregame show on 38 The Spot.

After opening a jam-packed July with a home defeat to the New York Red Bulls, Sporting is looking to get back on track. Sporting still has five MLS matches in the month of July and will compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Wed. July 27 against Sacramento Republic FC.

Here are five things to know for Sporting Kansas City’s match with CF Montreal.

Success at Saputo Stadium

Sporting has enjoyed success against Montreal in MLS since the Canadian side joined Major League Soccer in 2012. In 14 matches, Sporting is 7-4-3 including a 5-2-1 record in the last eight meetings with Montreal. It has not mattered where Sporting and Montreal meet as Sporting also boast a winning road record between the two. In seven trips to Stade Saputo, Sporting is 3-2-2. Their last trip resulted in a 2-0 loss as Montreal scored twice in the second half to take all three points.

Last time out

The last time these two took the field against each other came on March 30, 2019, at Children’s Mercy Park. The early MLS regular season showdown in Kansas City was a memorable one as Sporting would win the match 7-1, tying a club record for the largest margin of victory in a match.

Current Sporting KC captain Johnny Russell scored twice on top of former striker Krisztian Nemeth’s hat-trick, a Felipe Gutierrez goal and Gianluca Busio’s first MLS goal at home. Roger Espinoza tallied two assists in the match as well. When Saturday rolls around it will have been 1,197 days since that afternoon as Sporting and Montreal face each other for the first time in over three years.

Road trip

As stated earlier, Sporting’s stop in Montreal is the first of three road matches in an eight-day road trip. Sporting’s one win on the road this season came against Nashville on June 19 when the visitors snapped Nashville’s two-year unbeaten streak at home. Montreal has done well at home this season, posting a 5-3-0 record with 16 goals scored.

Following Saturday’s match in Quebec, Sporting will face Western Conference rivals Minnesota United at Allianz Field and Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. After this stretch, Sporting will play just four more MLS matches away from home, finishing out the MLS regular season with eight of the final 12 matches at Children’s Mercy Park.

Momentum for Montreal

Looking at Saturday’s opponent Montreal currently sits in a tie for third place in the east with 29 points. This comes after a slow start to the season where they went 0-3-0 in their first three matches. Montreal then found their footing, earning results in their next eight matches (6-0-2) before colling off and losing four of their next seven. In that seven-match span, they are 2-2-0 at home. The streaky Montreal side has the most points of any MLS team with a negative goal differential, conceding 33 goals to their 32 goals scored.

Montreal missing Mihailovic

A big reason for Montreal’s recent run of form has been midfielder Djordje Mihailovic’s absence due to injury. The club’s leading scorer has not played since May 28 when he suffered an ankle injury in a 4-3 win over FC Cincinnati. Mihailovic was also ruled out of the U.S. Men’s National Team camp in early June, meaning he was not able to play in the USMNT’s friendly against Uruguay at Children’s Mercy Park. Despite missing his club’s last four matches, the potential MVP candidate has scored seven goals and added three assists. When he plays Montreal is 7-5-2, without their talisman, they are 2-2-0.

Sporting will be without defender Kortne Ford, midfielder Ozzie Cisneros and forward Nikola Vujnovic as well as Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido. The offensive weapons of Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell are ready to go as they gear up for a busy July. Russell leads Sporting with five goals in MLS play and seven goals in all competitions. Salloi has four MLS goals and six in all competitions.