The Impact were leading 1-0 at home and looked in full control, but two controversial penalties in the second half changed the tide of the game and Sporting went on to win 3-1.
MONTREAL – With a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City Wednesday night at Saputo Stadium, the Montreal Impact’s losing streak extended to three games in front of a season-low crowd of 12,085.
The Impact had numerous chances in the first half and finally found the breakthrough in the 49thminute, but with two subsequent controversial penalties, the momentum of the game went Sporting’s way and the away side was able to seal the deal in the 86thminute through Jacob Peterson.
Impact head coach Jesse Marsch was visibly dumbfounded in the postgame press conference by the calls against his side, but after recently being fined by the league for questioning the integrity of referees from prior games, Marsch was a little more reticent in his comments.
“I was fined last week for claiming that the referee was one-sided,” said Marsch. “I’m not sure how scathing that is, but obviously I’m not going to be able to make comments. But it’s pretty obvious what happened out there."
Impact designated player Marco Di Vaio started a second game with his new club, and found the back of the net in the first half, but the play was controversially called back for offside. The former Bologna striker said that it was his best performance so far, but he was frustrated by not being able to score and help his team get a result. When asked whether or not he had ever seen two penalties comparable to the ones given against the Impact in a match during his 20-year career, Di Vaio replied with a resounding “no”.
“Given like that, never,” continued Di Vaio. “I spoke to some of my teammates about it during the half; I thought it was really strange.”
Captain Davy Arnaud was of the same opinion.
“What happened after [leading 1-0], I don’t want to get in trouble, but this is my 11th year in this league, and I’ve never seen something like that,” said Arnaud.
“If we’re going to start giving penalty kicks in the box for players fighting and battling [on corners] we’re going to see eight penalty kicks a game. Let’s have some consistency then and call every one like that. We saw in the first half. Hassoun [Camara] is in between two guys and he isn’t even allowed to jump, he’s got two guys with their arms around his waist, and they call a hand ball on him."
Despite the controversial decisions, Marsch insisted that he didn’t want to dwell too much on referee mistakes and focus on improving his team's own performance.
"I feel like we've been on the wrong end of a lot of calls this year, but feeling sorry for yourself is what losers do, so that's not what we're going to do," Marsch concluded. "We're going to figure out how to regroup and push forward."