Sporting Kansas City 2, New England Revolution 3 | MLS Match Recap
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – If the New England Revolution had any worries of their late-season hot streak evaporating after last weekend's loss to Columbus, they might have just laid them to rest. It wasn't easy, though.
The Revs capitalized on a series of defensive lapses and took a 2-0 lead into halftime on Friday night, only to see Sporting Kansas City charge back after the break and pull even behind a one-two goalscoring punch from Paulo Nagamura and Dom Dwyer.
But in the 85th minute, Jermaine Jones put in a low shot from the top of the penalty arc that lifted New England to a 3-2 victory and a tie with Sporting for second place in the Eastern Conference. And, perhaps more importantly, the Revs finished the regular season 3-0 against their possible conference semifinal opponents.
The Revolution (14-13-3) won for the sixth time in their last seven games, while Sporting (13-11-6) have lost five of their last six.
The loss overshadowed Dwyer's accomplishment of becoming the first 20-goal scorer in club history for Sporting with his 56th-minute equalizer, and his 21 goals across all competitions are one short of tying Preki's single-season record from 1996.
Sporting had several good chances and near-misses in the early going, but the Revs withstood the pressure – and their own giveaways – and went up 1-0 on Kelyn Rowe's goal in the 22nd minute.
Kevin Alston, making his first start at right back since Aug. 26, chipped a cross to Rowe at the top left corner of the 6-yard box. Rowe's low tap rolled past right back Igor Juliao and keeper Eric Kronberg and rolled just inside the post.
That goal exposed spacing issues with Sporting's makeshift back line, which had Kevin Ellis at center back because of an ankle injury to Aurelien Collin and Lawrence Olum's yellow-card suspension. The next one required a series of defensive breakdowns over two-thirds of the pitch.
In the 35th minute, Revs center back Jose Goncalves muscled Sporting midfielder Nagamura off the ball near the edge of New England's defensive third. Then he took off, straight down the middle of the pitch – and nobody stopped him. Goncalves didn't get rid of the ball again until he put a left-footed shot past Kronberg from just outside the penalty area for a 2-0 lead.
But after the break, Sporting charged back with a new burst of energy – and by the hour mark, the scoreline was level at 2-2.
Nagamura led the charge with a goal and an assist, in that order – a very short order, at that.
He brought Sporting within 2-1 in the 54th minute when he took a pass from Ellis, drove into the area and chipped over Bobby Shuttleworth from a tight angle. Then, just two minutes later, Nagamura collected Antonio Dovale's pass and lofted a ball across the face of goal for Dwyer to finish with a close-range header.
But ultimately, Jones' debut goal in MLS was the decider on the night, and helped New England beat Kansas City on the road for the first time since 2008.
Sporting's late-season grind continues with a match at D.C. United next Friday, while the Revs look to keep their momentum going a day later against Columbus.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jermaine Jones||Had highs and lows on the night (who didn't?), but his first goal was memorable and helped the Revs grab a big win|
|2||Paulo Nagamura||Orchestrated KC's comeback in the 2nd half with a goal and assist, but in the end it was all for naught|
|3||Jose Goncalves||Held on defensively, but played a big role in grabbing the win from his first goal of the season on an impressive play|