Sporting Kansas City (0-7-3, 3 points) fell 2-0 to CF Montreal (3-6-0, 9 points) on Saturday night in the 200th regular season match at Children’s Mercy Park. The visitors collected their first win in Kansas City since 2013 behind first-half goals from Bryce Duke and Mathieu Choiniere, condemning Sporting Kansas City to their fourth straight MLS defeat.
Sporting Manager Peter Vermes made two changes to his starting lineup from last weekend’s trip to New England as 21-year-old Jake Davis—earning his first career MLS start—replaced Cam Duke at right back and 21-year-old Robert Voloder replaced the suspended Andreu Fontas in central defense. Between the posts, goalkeeper Tim Melia notably eclipsed 250 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Fresh off a goal in Tuesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory over Tulsa Athletic, Sporting striker Alan Pulido put Montreal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois to the test in the 13th minute. Receiving a clever square pass from left back Logan Ndenbe, the Mexican international took a touch to create separation from his marker on the edge of the box before seeing his left-footed blast saved.
At the opposite end, Melia did well to keep Montreal off the scoresheet in the 20th minute by diving right to snag a well-struck effort from Choiniere. He spared Sporting’s blushes again five minutes later, thwarting striker Chinonso Offor at point-blank range with a stop that drew healthy applause from the Children’s Mercy Park faithful.
A back-and-forth spectacle continued to unfold with Daniel Salloi—another player to score in Tuesday’s 3-0 triumph over Tulsa—next to threaten at the half-hour juncture. His seething strike at the top of the penalty area had the makings of a wondergoal but was touched over the crossbar by a leaping Sirois.
Duke, who was acquired by Montreal in a lucrative trade from Inter Miami CF earlier this month, lifted the visitors ahead in the 35th minute, applying a cool finish into the far left corner following an incisive attack through the middle involving Choiniere and Sean Rea. It was Montreal’s first road goal of 2023 after the club had failed to find the back of the net in its first five away games this season.
Montreal compounded Sporting’s woes in first half-stoppage time, going ahead 2-0 when Choiniere tucked home from 10 yards off an Aaron Herrera cross with Rea picking up another secondary assist.
Sporting were on the front foot after halftime and almost grabbed a goal back in the 52nd minute. Salloi dashed onto Dany Rosero’s long ball over the top, muscled off a challenge from Herrera and uncorked a right-footed shot that lacked the direction to beat Sirois. Salloi then turned provider in the 58th, clipping a delectable ball to the back post for Russell, but Sirois produced an excellent save to deny the Scottish winger and keep Sporting at bay.
Sporting midfielder Gadi Kinda, who made his long-awaited return to the pitch in the Open Cup win against Tulsa, came off the bench at the hour mark for his first MLS appearance since November 2021. His introduction preceded another sterling effort from Salloi, whose 25-yard curler was palmed over the bar by an in-form Sirois.
With the game out of reach and Sporting seeking a consolation goal deep into added time, Russell thought he had provided exactly that by finding the far corner with a right-footed finish through traffic. Much to the hosts’ dismay, however, the offside flag was raised and the contest ended 2-0 in favor of Montreal.
Sporting will look to bounce back next Sunday, May 7, visiting Seattle Sounders FC in a nationally televised clash at Lumen Field. Kickoff is slated for 3:55 p.m. CT with live coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. CT on FOX and Apple TV.