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A night of firsts: Montreal Impact finally win on road, 2-0 over Sporting KC

05/06/2012 12:58 EDT | Updated 07/05/2012 05:12 EDT
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The Montreal Impact had a lot of firsts on Saturday night when they visited Kansas City.

Felipe and acting captain Patrice Bernier tallied on the Impact's only two shots on goal for Montreal's first road win in its inaugural Major League Soccer season and dealt red-hot Sporting Kansas City its first home loss of the season.

"The goal was for the team," said Felipe. "It's not one person that wins the game. What is important is winning."

The goal was Felipe's first of the season, one head coach Jesse Marsch was happy to see.

"Felipe has meant a lot to our team. He's want so bad to help the team succeed," said Marsch. "I think (the goal) will lead to him settling down a little bit."

It was the Impact's third win of the campaign, along with two draws, they move up to 11 points on the season.

Kansas City came into the match undefeated in four at home, off a bye week, and off their only loss of eight two weeks ago to the Portland Timbers.

Marsch decided to put out a different roster against Kansas City with an eye to the away leg of the Canadian Championship semifinal against Toronto FC on Wednesday.

Marsch chose to start only five played against Toronto last week, a 0-0 draw in Montreal.

The seemingly patchwork lineup featured centre backs Nelson Rivas and Hassoun Camara, both in the starting 11 for the first time after recuperating from pre-season injury, among others facing a potent and physical Kansas City side. But the lineup was simply a part of the Impact's tactics.

"We felt, especially with Hassoun and Nelson on the field, physically that this would be a good game for them and they would match up well against Kansas City's attacking players," said Marsch.

And the match was indeed physical, resulting in 24 total fouls and five yellow card cautions, four to Montreal.

But the Impact were not intimidated, and they struck first.

Driving in furiously from the left, midfielder Felipe curled a left-footed drive from 34 yards past a surprised Jimmy Nielsen and into the lower right corner of the Sporting net in the 30th minute.

The sublime strike silenced the KC crowd as they watched the jubilant Brazilian circle the pitch in celebration.

But Marsch's Impact were just getting going on the night.

Kansas City came out hard in the second half, intent on tying the match, gaining a series of set pieces in front of Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

After midfielder Sinsa Ubiparipovic earned Montreal's third yellow card, the Impact dodged a bullet as Sporting centre back Matt Besler headed high over an open net in the 53rd minute.

Their fortune grew 10 minutes later, as midfielder Lamar Neagle penetrated the Sporting box and forced KC centre back Aurelien Collin into a sliding tackle from behind.

Referee Juan Guzman did not hesitate to blow for the penalty.

Bernier, who hadn't started in nearly a month, took the initiative and buried the ensuing spot kick into the left side of the net and Montreal were on their way to making franchise history with a 2-0 lead.

"It's always a challenge when guys haven't played in a game in a while to step in and be ready to go," said Marsch. "But we had five or six new faces on the field and they played great."

Added Bernier: "It's proof that the team has a lot of depth. We're going to play a lot of games in this kind of conditions and climate."

Becoming a cohesive unit is the biggest challenge for an expansion team, and the Impact seem to be on their way.

"We've stuck to what the coaches have asked us to do. They believe in what we're doing, and we believe what they are asking us to do," said captain Davy Arnaud, who was returning to Kansas City for the first time after 10 years with Sporting. "We know that eventually we'll get rewarded with good results."

Bernier went one step further.

"If you can weather the storm, get a few points away, and do very well at home, we have a good shot to make the playoffs," said the native of Brossard, Que.

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