Peter Vermes walked through the Sporting Kansas City locker room late Saturday night — long after his club had completed a satisfying 4-0 victory against visiting Montreal — and planted himself in front of a wall-mounted TV showing another MLS game. Aurelien Collin was already watching.
Vermes stopped to talk to a reporter but kept one eye on the TV. He interrupted his own thought when a saw a scoring chance go awry.
“He should have played to his left foot,” Vermes joked.
Collin proudly smiled. His left foot came in quite handy Saturday.
Collin produced a rare left-footed strike — the second of his career, he said — igniting Sporting KC’s three-goal onslaught in the second half in front of 20,306 fans at Sporting Park, the venue’s 40th consecutive MLS sellout.
Collin also initially was credited with a first-half goal — and celebrated as if it was his — before it was changed to a Montreal own goal.
“I scored another one to make things clear,” Collin said. “So we’re good.”
Collin started the second-half scoring. Dom Dwyer finished it off 15 minutes later.
Earning his second straight start at striker, Dwyer scored two late goals — giving him a team-best four this season — though the team’s best offensive output of the season required some help from Montreal to get the ball rolling.
Montreal midfielder Calum Mallace supplied the first goal of the match, but it wound up in the wrong net. After Sporting KC defender Matt Besler launched one of his signature long throw-ins into the goalie box, Mallace attempted to clear the pass away from danger, but he instead flicked a header into his own goal. For a team that entered the night having allowed the most goals per game in the Eastern Conference, it certainly didn’t help the Impact’s cause.
“It was a fluke goal,” Mallace said. “You don’t want to concede any goal, but when they score one like that, it’s even harder.”
To make matters worse for the Impact, it was about the only offense Sporting KC could muster for the first 60 minutes, showing some ill effects of a 14-day layoff.
Then the floodgates opened.
Collin pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 71st minute when he cleaned up a loose ball in the box and bent his left-footed shot to the near post to beat Montreal keeper Troy Perkins.
Dwyer joined the fun shortly thereafter.
He finished off a crossing pass from late-game substitute Jacob Peterson in the 74th minute and then headed home a crossing pass from Graham Zusi in the 86th minute. Dwyer has four goals in his last four matches.
“We were just a little impatient in the first half, but we opened them up big time (in the second half),” Vermes said. “We changed the game on them considerably. I think that put them under a great deal of pressure.”
Montreal, 0-4-3, produced no answer for the Sporting KC offensive assault. It didn’t manage a shot on goal after halftime, when Vermes made an adjustment to his defense to silence Montreal’s counter attack.
The Impact got its best chance of the match in the 14th minute — a two-on-one break with Felipe Martins and Marco Di Vaio — but Collin cleared Martins’ shot off the line, kick-starting his impressive outing. It also preserved the third shutout of the season for goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, who leads MLS in that category.
“I think we’ve got a fantastic group with our back four, and they’re playing great,” Kronberg said. “We have to keep grinding and not let down. We have figured out a rhythm, and we have to keep doing it on a consistent basis.”