Impact president Joey Saputo couldn’t wait until the end of the game before he stirred the pot.
Minutes before the final whistle of Sporting Kansas City’s 3-0 victory over a shorthanded Montreal Impact squad on Saturday afternoon, Saputo tweeted: “Our fans deserve better. Changes will be coming, guaranteed.”
The Impact (1-3-5) have won once this season, are second-to-last in the Eastern Conference with six points from nine games, and have now lost six games in all competitions.
“In the end, I’m the coach, and it’s my responsibility,” said Frank Klopas, who coached his 100th MLS game on Saturday. “I always want the best for the club. Every one has the right to be upset when you lose. I’m going to give everything in the end.
“I know I’m doing the right things, but in the end, I’m the coach and I’m responsible. It starts from there, from the top.”
The Impact, who were without the services of Marco Di Vaio due to a hamstring injury, were outclassed even before Collen Warner was shown a red card for handling the ball with his arm in the penalty box in the 17th minute, which left the club with only 10 players on the field.
Before and after the ejection, Montreal was penned in its own half. Kansas City (5-2-2) finished the game with 78 per cent ball possession, and 12 total shots to Montreal’s four. Sporting also completed five times as many passes as the Impact did.
Fans expressed their displeasure by booing sporadically during the game. The Ultras, Montreal’s vocal fan base, even chanted for the return of Marco Schallibaum, last year’s coach.
“I know the frustration of the fans, and it’s understandable,” said Klopas. “They come to support the team.”
“That’s why they’re fans,” added Impact keeper Troy Perkins. “They want results, they want a good team, and especially in this city, they want to win. They’re free to say what they want, and they’re going to say it.”
In the 17th minute, Matt Besler’s long throw-in evaded the Impact defenders and landed awkwardly in the penalty box. Perkins made the initial save, but the ball rolled onto the arm of Warner, who was sprawled out on the goal-line. Warner made two saves with his left arm before the referee pointed to the spot.
“Those long throws, we’ve been talking about them. We knew they were good at them,” said 24-year-old Wandrille Lefevre, who made his first appearance for the team on Saturday. “We had to be ready, and we paid for those details. And that wasn’t the last goal — it was the first one. It’s all about the details. The games are won and lost in a matter of minutes.”
After the red card, Dom Dwyer’s penalty kick beat Perkins low for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
“Initially, the ball just happened to be on his hand,” said Sporting midfielder Graham Zusi. “But the second one was pretty obvious.
“It changed everything. We were able to keep the ball the entire game. They didn’t have anything going for them. Going down a man is devastating, and today was no different.”
Dwyer added another in the second half, a powerful left-footed shot in the 64th minute, to cement Kansas’ lead and propel the team to the top of the MLS Eastern Conference.
Paulo Nagamura also scored for Kansas City in the first half.
The storyline wasn’t very different from last month’s encounter between these two teams, when Dwyer recorded a brace and Kansas City thumped the Impact 4-0 at Sporting Park on Apr. 19.
Sporting keeper Eric Kronberg, who was only solicited twice, now leads the league with five shutouts and a paltry 0.67 goals-against-average.
Klopas wanted to focus on positives after the game, pointing to a young back-line that was solid despite the lopsided score. Alongside Lefevre, the Impact started 22-year-old Maxim Tissot and 21-year-old Karl Ouimette on defence.
“These are three younger guys that are getting a lot of experience,” said Klopas. “They’re guys you can count on for the future. I’m not happy with the result, but you can have continuity when you can build a team around guys like that.”
The Impact play Edmonton FC midweek in the Canadian Championship after losing the first leg 2-1. The team then heads to the American capital to take on D.C. United.
“There’s a lack of ideas, a lack of belief in themselves. Certainly something’s missing,” said Perkins. “But when things are going bad, you don’t stop, you don’t quit, you just keep going. We have to keep plugging away, and keep doing what we’re doing.”
Notes: Defender Hassoun Camara missed the game due to an accumulation of yellow cards. a Midfielder Hernan Bernardello made his first start since injuring his ankle in April. a Montreal and Kansas City meet for the third and final time this season on July 12 at Saputo Stadium.