Weekly Update: Leg 2

Revs head into Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal with Sporting Kansas City

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will look to clinch a berth in the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship this Wednesday, Nov. 6, when the team travels to Sporting Park to face Sporting Kansas City in the second leg of the teams’ Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

Up 2-1 on aggregate following Saturday’s victory at Gillette Stadium over SKC, the Revs need a win or a draw on Wednesday night to clinch a spot in the conference final.

Wednesday’s kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet’s alternate channels, and CSN will join the match in progress immediately following the conclusion of its Boston Celtics coverage. 98.5 The Sports Hub will have the game on its HD2 channel.

The Revs are the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed and will travel to second-seeded Sporting KC on Wednesday in the second game of the two-game, aggregate (total) goals semifinal series. The winner of the series will advance to the two-game Eastern Conference Championship, which will kick off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the home stadium of the lower remaining seed.

The Revs are riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) that dates back to Sept. 21, and the team has won its last four matches.

THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES

Complete MLS Cup Playoffs bracket: 

Poised for final return
The Revolution enters the second leg of its Eastern Conference Semifinal series against Sporting Kansas City in position to make its first appearance in the conference final since 2007 … up 2-1 on aggregate following Saturday’s win over Sporting KC at Gillette Stadium, the Revs need a win or draw to punch their ticket to their seventh Eastern Conference Championship in club history.

How Wednesday could play out

  • If the Revs win or draw on Wednesday, they would advance to the Eastern Conference Championship
  • If Kansas City wins by two or more goals, Sporting KC will advance to the Eastern Conference Championship
  • If Kansas City wins by one goal, the teams will play a 30-minute extra time session
  • If either team scores at least one goal and ends the 30-minute session ahead, that team will advance to the conference championship
  • If the aggregate score is still tied after extra time, penalty kicks will be used to determine which team advances

This Week’s MLS Cup Playoffs Schedule

Wednesday, Nov. 6
8 p.m. ET – New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo (Harrison, N.J.), TV: Univision Deportes

  • Series tied on aggregate, 2-2

9 p.m. ET – Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution (Kansas City, Kan.), TV: CSN+

  • New England leads on aggregate, 2-1

Thursday, Nov. 7
9 p.m. ET – Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy (Sandy, Utah), TV: ESPN2

  • LA leads on aggregate, 1-0

11 p.m. ET – Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC (Portland), TV: NBC Sports Network

  • Portland leads on aggregate, 2-1

Saturday, Nov. 9
2:30 p.m. ET – Eastern Conference Championship, Leg 1, TV: NBC

Sunday, Nov. 10
9 p.m. ET – Western Conference Championship, Leg 1, TV: ESPN

TV for Wednesday
Comcast SportsNet will televise Wednesday’s match on its alternate channels … following the conclusion of its Celtics coverage, CSN will join the Revs match in progress on its main station (expected to be around 10:30 p.m.) … additionally, the match will be available on the MLS Direct Kick package and on MLS Live, the league’s digital platform.

Staying hot as temps dip
While the New England temperatures are beginning to fall, the Revolution remains hot … the Revs are 5-0-2 in their last seven matches overall (since Sept. 21), and have won their last four matches dating back to Oct. 12 … included in that span were matches against the other four playoff teams from the Eastern Conference (against whom the Revs have gone 2-0-2 in this stretch).

Big on youth, short on playoff experience
While the Revs have benefitted from a mixture of youth and experience all season, the youth scale has tipped in the playoffs … Saturday night’s starting lineup included eight players making their debuts in the MLS Cup Playoffs, and only three players – goalkeeper Matt Reis, defender Darrius Barnes and midfielder Andy Dorman – with experience in the MLS postseason … second-half substitute Chad Barrett also has extensive MLS Cup Playoff experience with Chicago (2005-07) and LA (2011-12), but it was his first postseason appearance with the Revs.

Reis just keeps streaking
Matt Reis became the only goalkeeper in MLS history to finish a season undefeated when making 10 or more starts after he went 7-0-4 in his 12 league appearances … he has kept his undefeated run going into the postseason now, racking up another win on Saturday night … on the season in all competitions, Reis is 10-1-4, his lone loss coming against eventual U.S. Open Cup champion D.C. United in the teams’ quarterfinal match-up in June.

Reis hits the big 2-0
Saturday night’s start was Matt Reis’ 20th postseason start as a member of the Revolution … he is the fifth player in Revs’ team history to reach 20 postseason starts, joining Jay Heaps (28), Steve Ralston (24), and Taylor Twellman and Shalrie Joseph (21 each) … Reis is now 9-6-5 in postseason action with the Revs, posting a 0.89 goals against average and seven shutouts.

Wins in a new category
Saturday’s win over Sporting KC was head coach Jay Heaps’ first postseason victory in coaching … the second-year manager is no stranger to the postseason, however, as he holds the Revolution record for postseason appearances as a player with 28 … Heaps is the fourth Revs coach to register a playoff appearance in New England.

History repeats itself?
Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City marked the Revs’ first playoff match at Gillette Stadium in four years and one day … prior to Saturday, the Revolution’s last playoff match at home came on Nov. 1, 2009 – also a 2-1 win as the third seed in the East, but over the Chicago Fire … the Revs can hope that history doesn’t repeat itself completely, though, as the Revs went on to drop the second match of the two-game series, losing at Chicago, 2-0, and the Fire advanced to the Eastern Conference Final.

Undefeated at home in MLS Playoffs
Saturday’s win against Sporting KC extended the Revolution’s postseason unbeaten streak at home to 14 games (10-0-4) … included in that mark is 1-0-1 mark at Foxboro Stadium and a 9-0-3 mark at Gillette Stadium … MLS Cup 2002, which was played at Gillette Stadium, is considered a neutral venue by MLS because it was a predetermined site, and the extra-time loss to the LA Galaxy is not counted in the Revs' home postseason record, rather its neutral-site record … considering the MLS Cup loss in the team’s postseason record at Gillette Stadium, the Revs still remain on an nine-game undefeated run (8-0-1) at home in the playoffs since 2003.

Long time coming for Dorman
ESPN FC writer Jeff Carlisle listed Andy Dorman among six under-the-radar players in the MLS Cup Playoffs, and his prediction could not have been more spot on … making his first postseason start since MLS Cup 2006, Dorman scored the Revs’ first goal on Saturday and proved to be influential in the midfield for the Revs … Dorman’s goal was his first-ever postseason goal, adding to his two previous postseason assists … Dorman’s last postseason appearance came in MLS Cup 2007, when he came on as a second-half sub against Houston at RFK Stadium, but prior to Saturday’s start against Sporting KC, Dorman’s last start in the postseason was MLS Cup 2006 (against Houston at Pizza Hut Park).

The Roweing continues
Kelyn Rowe scored the Revs’ second goal on Saturday against Sporting KC, and once again celebrated with his now customary goal celebration: Roweing … Rowe, who has done the celebration twice before, was joined by several other teammates on the north field boards and “Rowed” to celebrate the goal … an animation of Rowe’s celebration is available here.

Rowe’s a sophomore sensation
Kelyn Rowe has been a huge factor for the Revs this year, and his goal on Saturday in the playoffs only improved his season … Jay Heaps’ first-ever draft pick (number three overall in the 2012 SuperDraft) has had a tremendous sophomore campaign, scoring 12 goals and adding nine assists in all competitions … that total includes a seven-goal, eight assist performance in the MLS regular-season, and a four-goal, one assist performance in three U.S. Open Cup matches.

Barnes steps back in
Darrius Barnes became the third different player to start at left back in the last three games when he lined up on Saturday against Sporting KC … Chris Tierney, the team’s everyday left back this season, was unavailable with a right foot issue that he suffered in his last start on Oct. 19 against Columbus … Kevin Alston – who started the season at left back before receiving his chronic myelogenous leukemia diagnosis in April – was unavailable after suffering a right hamstring injury in his last start at Columbus on Oct. 27 … Barnes, who is one of only eight Revs players on the roster with MLS Cup playoffs experience (with any team), last started in the postseason in his rookie year (2009) – the last time the Revolution qualified for the playoffs.

Scoreless streak vs. SKC snapped … sort of
The Revolution snapped a 501-minute scoreless streak against Kansas City on Saturday night, a stretch that dated back to 2011 … however, because that 501-minute streak was a regular-season mark, the Revolution will enter the 2014 season still seeking to officially snap that streak as postseason games do not count in regular-season streaks … Andy Dorman’s goal Saturday night in the 55th minute “snapped” the scoreless streak at 556 minutes, and was the Revs’ first goal against SKC since Rajko Lekic scored in the 38th  minute at Sporting Park on July 30, 2011.

Playoff mustaches, not playoff beards for the Revs
On Wednesday, fans may see an unusually high number of Revs sporting the beginnings of mustaches … the team is not eschewing playoff beards, but rather several members of the Revolution are participating in Movember, the annual November men’s cancer awareness campaign … Revs players who have committed to growing Mos (mustaches) to support Movember’s mission are Kevin Alston, Diego Fagundez and Chris Tierney as part of Gillette’s #TeamGillette, and Scott Caldwell, Ryan Guy, Andrew Farrell, Stephen McCarthy and Kelyn Rowe as part of the Revolution’s team … friends, family and fans are encouraged to show their support for men’s cancer awareness by donating to the Revolution’s Movember team, or to individual MOs’ (mustache growers’) campaigns. 

Revs return to postseason
The Revolution have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009 … this is the team’s 11th postseason appearance and the team’s first under second-year head coach Jay Heaps … in fact, the last time the Revs advanced to the playoffs, Heaps was in his final season playing for the Revs … the Revs previously qualified for the playoffs in 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 … the team’s three-year postseason drought (2010, 2011, 2012) was the longest in club history.

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT INFO

Revolution vs. Sporting Kansas City
Regular-season record: 13-23-11 (Home 7-11-6, Away 6-12-5)
Postseason record: 1-0-0 (Home 1-0-0, Away 0-0-0)

Team Notes

  • Kansas City leads the all-time, regular-season series between the two teams, 23-13-11
  • Last Saturday’s match was the first postseason meeting all-time between the two clubs
  • In the 2013 regular-season meetings, the teams played to a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium on March 23 in the Revs’ home opener before KC earned a 3-0 win at Sporting Park on Aug. 10
  • New England is 6-12-5 in regular-season road games at Kansas City, including a 0-2-2 mark at Sporting Park
  • Kansas City won the three-game series in 2012, going 2-0-1 against the Revs … the Revs were held scoreless last year in all three meetings, losing 3-0 on March 17, drawing 0-0 on July 21, before the 1-0 loss at home on Aug. 4
  • The Revs will enter the 2014 season with a 501-minute scoreless streak in regular-season games against Kansas City, but Andy Dorman’s goal on Saturday was the team’s first in any competition against Sporting since Rajko Lekic scored in the 38th minute on July 30, 2011
  • 31 regular-season matches between the clubs have been determined by one goal or fewer … 12 games have been decided by a two-goal spread, while just three matches – including the 3-0 KC victory in August – have been decided by three or more goals
  • The teams have also met three times outside MLS regular-season competition: once in SuperLiga (a 1-1 draw in 2009), once in the U.S. Open Cup (a 5-0 KC win on May 25, 2011) and once in the MLS Cup Playoffs (a 2-1 NE win on Nov. 2, 2013)

Player Notes (regular-season)

  • The Revs’ active leading scorer against Kansas City is Chad Barrett, who has four career goals against Sporting … all four of his goals came in 2006 and 2007, two each year while he was with Chicago
  • Juan Toja has also previously scored against KC, a 2007 goal while he was with FC Dallas
  • Clyde Simms has recorded two career assists in 21 appearances against KC … Simms recorded single assists in 2006 and 2007 while a member of D.C. United
  • Chris Tierney has one assist against Kansas City, helping set up Shalrie Joseph’s game-winning strike on Oct. 16, 2010
  • In 33 appearances (32 starts) against KC, Matt Reis is 11-11-10 with a 1.30 goals against average and eight shutouts
  • Matt Reis set his single-game high of 11 saves against KC in a 0-0 draw on July 11, 2009, at Gillette Stadium
  • Reis also recorded an assist – his first since 2007 – on the Revs’ only goal in a 1-1 draw on July 30, 2011, at Sporting Park
  • Bobby Shuttleworth is 1-1-0 in two career appearances against KC with one shutout and a 1.50 goals against average … on Oct. 16, 2010, Shuttleworth posted his first career shutout, a four-save effort against Sporting KC at Gillette Stadium
  • The Revs’ goalkeepers split the two games against KC this year with Matt Reis posting a shutout in the 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium on March 23, and Bobby Shuttleworth suffering the 3-0 loss at Sporting Park on Aug. 10