KANSAS CITY, KAN — Enacting an onslaught from the opening whistle, Sporting Kansas City rolled the Montreal Impact Saturday, 7-1 at Children’s Mercy Park. It was the first time SKC scored seven goals in a competitive match.
A Krisztian Nemeth hat trick, Johnny Russell brace and a debut home goal for 16-year-old Gianluca Busio cemented one of the most dominant wins for Sporting in recent memory.
The clearest illustration of SKC’s supremacy came in the form of forward Gerso Fernandes, whose cuts into the Impact’s defense early set the tone for the rest of the day. Fernandes went on a tear from the beginning, his runs consistently beating Montreal’s overwhelmed defense. His second-minute goal was called back because he was offside, yet he still notched two assists before the half ended.
But it was Russell who opened SKC’s scoring, stealing a goal for his team (and from his own teammate). In the 10th minute, the ball landed nearly equally between Russell and Nemeth, who took a more measured approach to try and set up for the shot. But Russell charged in from the opposite side and immediately blasted a shot behind Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush.
For the rest of the half, it was the Gerso show. Late in the half, Fernandes found himself behind the defense, and one-on-one with Bush. In the last moment of his run, he slid the ball in to Nemeth, who had an easy finish waiting for him.
And again, Fernandes’s speed set up SKC’s third goal of the half. Behind Montreal’s defense, he sent a cross into Felipe Gutierrez, who caught it on his foot and finished the goal all from mid-air.
“I think there’s no doubt that he (Fernandes) was the lightning rod,” SKC coach Peter Vermes said. “I’ve said this, I think his movement off the ball right now is the best in the league of any player that I’ve watched, and I’ve watched every team play. It’s tremendous. He probably himself could have had three goals today. That movement is what creates opportunities for himself and the rest of the team and gets us in dangerous positions.”
It was a sizable cushion heading into halftime, but SKC (2-1-1, 7 points) only built on its 3-0 lead early in the second half. Russell added his second goal in the 51st minute, finishing an easy chance.
Nemeth was next in line. He took a Russell assist from the left side in the 68th minute, and slid an easy shot down the middle into the net past Bush, who had moved to the near side to defend Russell.
Mar 30, 2019; Kansas City, KS, USA; A general view of the pitch before the match between Sporting Kansas City and the Montreal Impact at Children's Mercy Park. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Busio added to the miserable day for Montreal. Taking advantage of an Impact back line breakdown, Busio knocked in a goal, his first scored at Children’s Mercy Park. With that, he became the youngest goal-scorer in stadium history.
And to add the final historical note, Nemeth completed his hat trick in the 83rd minute for a the seven-goal SKC margin.
“When you have wingers like Johnny and Gerso and Daniel (Salloi), it’s easy to play center forward because the teams don’t know which one they have to focus on,” Nemeth said.
Saphir Taider provided the lone bright spot for Montreal (2-1-0, 6 points) with his team’s only goal one minute before full time.
“Really disappointed as a team that we let them get a goal as well,” Russell said. “But to get seven goals and the possibility of it could have been a few more as well, it’s definitely the most dominant win I’ve been involved in.”