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Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution | MLS Match Preview

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
Sept. 26, 2014 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #275) 7 p.m. CT (NBCSN/NBCSports.com; TSN2)

A massive clash atop the Eastern Conference is ahead when Sporting Kansas City play host to the New England Revolution on Friday evening at Sporting Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. The teams are separated by just three points in the table, with Sporting sitting in second place in the conference, three points behind leaders D.C. United, while the Revolution are one point ahead of fourth-place New York. Sporting return to action after snapping a four-game losing slide last time out in a 4-0 defeat of Chivas USA, while the Revs saw a five-game winning run come to an end in a 1-0 loss at the Columbus Crew.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Sean Hurd; AR2 (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 181 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 63; pens: 68

SUSPENDED: KC: Lawrence Olum (caution accumulation; through Sept. 28)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Igor Juliao, Seth Sinovic … NE: Darrius Barnes, Chris Tierney
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Antonio Dovale, Eric Kronberg, Paulo Nagamura, Kevin Ellis … NE: Lee Nguyen, Daigo Kobayashi, Kelyn Rowe, A.J. Soares, Scott Caldwell
DISABLED LIST: KC: Ike Opara, Chance Myers (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (48 meetings): Sporting 23 wins (1 shootout), 75 goals… Revolution 14 wins (1 shootout), 57 goals… Ties 11
AT KC (23 meetings): Sporting 12 wins (1 shootout), 35 goals … Revolution 6 wins (0 shootout), 23 goals … Ties 5
2014 (MLS):
4/26: NE 2, KC 0 (Bunbury 92+; Nguyen 95+)
9/3: NE 3, KC 1 (Bunbury 45; Nguyen 48, 94+ -- Saad 9)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Lee Nguyen scored a pair of goals as the Revolution claimed a 3-1 win Sept. 3 at Gillette Stadium; Teal Bunbury and Nguyen each scored in second-half stoppage time as the Revolution took a 2-0 victory on April 26 in Foxborough.
  • New England haven’t won in Kansas City since 2008, a 3-1 win April 9. Sporting have six wins in eight home matches in all competitions since, with two draws.
  • The Revolution victory in the first meeting ended a six-game Sporting undefeated streak in league play, and the goals were their first scored in the series since July 30, 2011.
  • The teams met in a thrilling Eastern Conference Semifinal Series a year ago. After the Revolution won 2-1 at Gillette Stadium in the first leg, they pushed Sporting to extra time in the return match, before SKC took a 3-1 victory on their to an eventual MLS Cup championship.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. NE: P12 W5 L4 D3 … Jay Heaps vs. KC: P7 W2 L3 D2

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • Sporting took the lead after just nine minutes. Center back Matt Besler unloaded a long throw-in from just above the left corner. Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones got his head to it at the near post, only to deflect it straight back where Sonny Saad nodded it home at the far post.
  • But the home side drew level just before halftime. Jones unleashed a beautiful diagonal pass from midfield to the feet of Teal Bunbury, who worked a defender in the area before taking a shot that deflected off Besler and past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
  • The Revs took the lead three minutes after the halftime restart. Kelyn Rowe, after patiently holding up along the left side, found Lee Nguyen streaking in, and at the top of the box he calmly collected and fired, curling a beauty into the top right corner of the goal.
  • The home side put away the game in stoppage time as Nguyen collected a second. After creating a turnover on his own and playing a one-two with Patrick Mullins, he took the return pass in the right of the area and shot low inside the far post.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes - Jermaine Jones (Steve Neumann 46) - Teal Bunbury, Daigo Kobayashi, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe (Diego Fagundez 85) - Charlie Davies (Patrick Mullins 61).
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Igor Juliao, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Jorge Claros (Martin Steuble 88), Mikey Lopez - C.J. Sapong, Graham Zusi, Soony Saad (Sal Zizzo 66) - Claudio Bieler.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City put an end to their losing slide after four matches in emphatic fashion last time out, strolling to a 4-0 victory against Chivas USA on Sept. 12 at StubHub Center. Sporting are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 45 points from 28 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Sporting took the lead in the 40th minute. Dom Dwyer ran onto a long diagonal ball from Graham Zusi, and took a touch to send it past an onrushing Dan Kennedy. It was his 19th goal this year, a new Kansas City single-season club record.
  • The visitors then doubled their lead in first half stoppage time. Antonio Dovale’s curling shot bounced off the far post, but Benny Feilhaber was first to the rebound, getting an acrobatic touch on the ball to knock it into the open net.
  • The lead was 3-0 seven minutes after the halftime break, when Zusi picked up the ball on the edge of the box, dribbled, and shot through a collection of Chivas defenders.
  • The rout was complete in the 87th minute, when substitute Claudio Bieler got the ball on a breakaway and pushed it wide of Kennedy on the right, finishing with a tightly-angled shot outside the right post into the far side netting.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made no changes to the team that suffered a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Andy Gruenebaum - Igor Juliao, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Lawrence Olum - Paulo Nagamura (Mikey Lopez 61), Benny Feilhaber - Antonio Dovale, Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 77), Graham Zusi (Soony Saad 70).

TEAM NEWS

  • Sporting won for the first time in league play since Aug. 16 with the victory. Their four-game losing slide was the club’s longest since since Aug. 1-29, 2009. The win at Chivas USA also snapped a three-game road losing skein.
  • “I thought from start to finish we were very good. We controlled the game,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. “I thought our defensive pressure was excellent. The swarming of the ball was exceptional and it really led to all the chances that we had and that we were pretty clinical around the goal. Scored four goals and then not give up any is a big thing anytime you play away from home.”
  • Said defender Matt Besler: “It always feels nice to win, especially on the road. At the same time, it’s just one game. We’ve been very good at that in the past of taking one game at a time, not getting too high, not getting too low. These three points don’t really mean much unless we follow it up the next game with another three points.”
  • Dom Dwyer scored his 19th goal of the season, setting the Kansas City club record that had stood for 19 years, since Preki scored 18 goals for the then-Kansas City Wiz in the inaugural MLS season of 1996.
  • Dwyer scored for a second consecutive match and the third time in the last four games. He has five goals over the last six games, after going goalless for a five-match spell July 12-Aug. 10.
  • “I’ve always scored goals, it’s my job and what I’m good at and I definitely pride myself at it. I want to be the top scorer in every team that I play for and every league,” Dwyer said. “I’m never satisfied and I guess that’s why I’m still hungry. I beat the record but now I want more, I want it even more so. We just have to get back to winning ways and I’m going to get chances and we’ll keep winning games and hopefully a championship.”
  • Graham Zusi scored a goal and added an assist, the ninth time in his MLS career he’s had at least one goal and one assist in the same game. Zusi has assists in back-to-back games and has three goals and three assists since returning from the FIFA World Cup.
  • “We were very hungry and all the chances were created off of our pressure which was great to see and that was something we emphasized all week long and the last few weeks,” Vermes said.
  • In his third consecutive start and his ninth in league play this season, Andy Gruenebaum posted a shutout in goal, SKC’s first clean sheet since recording back-to-back shutouts June 6-27.
  • “It’s something that we’ve been talking about for a while and we know that getting shutouts is important for success in this league,” said Besler. “It’s something that’s been a part of our team for the last three or four years, they’ve been hard to come by the last 10 games, but it feels great to get back.”
  • Since their last league match, Sporting have played two games in the CONCACAF Champions League. On Sept. 18, SKC claimed a massive victory with a 3-1 win against Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica at Sporting Park. Dom Dwyer put Sporting ahead with an early penalty, then Antonio Dovale scored twice seven minutes apart after the break to secure the victory.
  • Here’s the Sporting team: Andy Gruenebaum; Igor Juliao, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler (c), Seth Sinovic; Jorge Claros, Paulo Nagamura (Lawrence Olum 92+), Benny Feilhaber; Antonio Dovale, Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 80), Graham Zusi (C.J. Sapong 83)
  • Then on Tuesday, Sporting moved atop Group 2 following a 3-0 win against Nicaragua’s Real Estelí at Sporting Park. Claudio Bieler scored a pair of goals and Sal Zizzo added a late finisher.
  • Here’s the Sporting team: Eric Kronberg; Igor Juliao, Erik Palmer-Brown (Jorge Claros 60), Matt Besler (c), Seth Sinovic; Lawrence Olum, Paulo Nagamura (Jimmy Medranda 84), Benny Feilhaber (Sal Zizzo 46); Antonio Dovale, Claudio Bieler, Graham Zusi

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution saw their latest five-game winning streak come to an end, falling 1-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Revolution are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points from 29 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came three minutes after the second half restart. A New England foul gave Columbus a free kick from just outside the top of the box, and Federico Higuain stepped up with his usual dead ball confidence, swinging a powerful, curling effort into the top corner that left New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth no chance.
  • The Crew had a glorious chance to put the game on ice in the 84th minute when Revolution defender A.J. Soares committed a late tackle that took out the legs of Justin Meram, and referee Ted Unkel ruled a penalty kick. But Higuain scuffed his effort from the spot and left Shuttleworth with an easy save.
  • Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made two changes to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against the Montréal Impact at Gillette Stadium. Scott Caldwell and Diego Fagundez came back into the team in place of Jermaine Jones and the suspended Teal Bunbury.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes (Chris Tierney 56) - Scott Caldwell - Kelyn Rowe, Daigo Kobayashi (Jermaine Jones 46), Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez (Steve Neumann 74) - Charlie Davies.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Revolution saw their five-game winning streak come to an end with the loss, their first defeat since Aug. 2 (a six-game span). The Revs also put together a five-game win streak April 26-May 24, one game shy of the club record set April 9-May 14, 2005.
  • “I think you can see that everyone is frustrated. It’s normal, we lost a game, but we had the chances to win the game,” said defender Jose Goncalves. “They picked up three points at the end and we have to accept that and move on because we are still in a good spot. We absolutely need to turn this around next weekend to get a win.”
  • The Revolution are the only team, besides D.C. United in 1999, with multiple winning streaks of five or more games in one season.
  • The Revs were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since July 19, when they were defeated 2-0 at FC Dallas. It was their third 1-0 reversal of the season.
  • “We just got to watch this game over, see where we made the mistakes and get ready for Kansas City, because in reality, that is the big one for us,” said striker Charlie Davies. “We got to put this one behind us and move on and really step it up for Kansas City. If we can get a result there, then all is forgotten and we can move forward as a team.”
  • After suffering a foot injury that forced him off at halftime of the Montréal match the week before, Jermaine Jones started the game on the substitutes’ bench, coming on to start the second half.
  • “I put him in to change the game up. He obviously took a pretty nasty knock last week,” said Heaps. “We wanted to get him on the field but at the same time he wasn’t full speed at training all week. I thought he went in and sure enough he gets kicked the time in. It’s a little bit disheartening.”
  • Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth saved his second penalty kick attempt of the season – and the second of his career. He has conceded goals on six of eight penalty attempt for his five-year career.
  • “It’s obviously disappointing, we wanted to come here and get a result. Columbus played like they wanted it more, they had more energy than us,” said Davies. “We didn’t have the best of first halves, but we were able to keep it even and go into half even. I thought that we played better in the second half, we just gave them good chances. If you give (Federico) Higuain some free kicks, he is going to put it in.”
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Current Form

Sporting KC
W
L
L
L
L
W
New England
W
W
W
W
W
L

Season Goal Leaders

Season Stats

Sporting Kansas CityNew England Revolution
29Games Played29
13Wins13
10Losses13
6Draws3
43Goals41
34Goals Conceded40
303Shots295
141Shots on Target157
440Fouls committed382
412Fouls suffered348
64Offside47
160Corners186

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
SKC611723431.5
NE98732411.4
01234+Avg
SKC273021.5
NE345211.7
01234+Avg
SKC444211.5
NE642111.1

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
SKC811730341.2
NE711722401.4
01234+Avg
SKC462201.1
NE662100.9
01234+Avg
SKC455101.2
NE155121.9
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