A rugged defensive display and a late goal from Blake Smith helped the Impact return to winning ways.
MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact finally put an end to its five game winless streak Saturday with a late stoppage time victory against Eastern conference leader Sporting Kansas City.
The Impact struggled to keep hold of possession for large parts of the match under KC's tireless pressing game, but managed to keep the visitors powerful attack at bay and found the crucial go-ahead goal in extra time.
Coach March Schällibaum commended his players for their defensive resolve and determined played in the game.
"We had another good game defensively today," Schällibaum said in French following the game. "They (KC) had very few scoring chances. We played right up until the very end, and for me as a coach, it was a happy ending when you bring in a player (Blake Smith) who scores the winning goal."
After coming on as a substitute in the 80th minute, Smith bagged the winner in the sixth minute of added time after some intricate combination play in the final third.
"The win was huge for us today and that's all that really needs to be said," Smith stated. "[The ball] came across from the right side, Patrice [Bernier] played a great dummy and Marco [Di Vaio] was able to play me through to finish. It's a great feeling."
Goalkeeper Troy Perkins attributed the Impact’s win to regaining the fighting spirit which the team possessed early on in the season, but then lost in its recent winless slump.
“We have to remember that what is giving us the result is the fact that we were willing to put in the hard work right now, before we weren’t. We got away from that,” Perkins said. “I think that’s what gave us the early success and that’s what’s going to keep us going”.
Three points puts the Impact within one point of first place in the East, while also helping maintain a five-point advantage over the New England Revolution, who sit in the fifth and final playoff position.
The Impact will be on the road next week against D.C United. Patrice Bernier and Di Vaio will take part in the MLS All-Star game in Kansas City on Wednesday.