KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Second-half substitute Teal Bunbury scored a dramatic equalizer in the 89th minute to lift Sporting Kansas City to a 1-1 draw with the visiting New England Revolution on Saturday night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Rajko Lekic scored his fourth goal of the season in the 38th minute to put the Revolution ahead, but the Revs were reduced to 10 men in the 82nd minute when rookie defender A.J. Soares was ejected and Sporting KC took advantage by grabbing the game-tying goal just as the match was poised to enter stoppage time.
The Revs (4-9-9, 21 pts.) extended their modest unbeaten run to three games – all on the road – while Sporting KC (6-6-9, 27 pts.) stretched its club record undefeated streak to 13 games.
There was just one change to the Revolution lineup which earned a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids last weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Darrius Barnes shifted from his natural center back position to cover for the suspended Chris Tierney at left back, while Franco Coria filled the vacant spot in the middle.
Shalrie Joseph linked up with Lekic for a clever give-and-go which sent Joseph into space in the ninth minute, but the Revolution captain’s low effort was drilled wide of the right post. Two minutes later Sporting KC threatened at the other end when C.J. Sapong tested Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis with a long-range drive.
The Revs were forced into an early change when Stephen McCarthy went down with left shoulder injury and was replaced by Kenny Mansally in the 34th minute. Mansally moved into a position wide left, pushing Benny Feilhaber into a more central role.
Four minutes later Lekic put the Revolution ahead with a lethal strike from the top of the box. Reis delivered a long clearance which sailed over a group of players in midfield and bounced through the Sporting KC backline to Lekic, who ran onto the loose ball. The Danish striker held off a defender before lashing a shot inside the right post from 18 yards out.
Sporting had a glorious chance to level the score shortly after the halftime break when Reis misjudged Kei Kamara’s right-wing cross in the 49th minute. Former Revolution defender Seth Sinovic corralled the ball at the far post with Reis out of position, but the left back couldn’t direct his effort on target from a tight angle.
Sapong was more accurate with his shot from inside the box in the 66th minute, but Reis was up to the task with a fantastic reactionary kick save. Second-half substitute Omar Bravo went close in the 73rd minute, sending a glancing header just wide of the left post.
New England’s task of defending its lead took a hit in the 82nd minute when Soares was issued a straight red card after apparently fouling Sapong as he broke in alone on goal. The ejection reduced the Revs to 10 men for the second straight game.
The home side ultimately cashed in on its man advantage in the 89th minute. Bunbury combined well with Bravo on a one-two into the left side of the box and after a few deflections, Bunbury pounced on the loose ball and slotted inside the far post to hand Sporting KC a share of the points.
After playing three consecutive road games to close the month of July, the Revs will now open the month of August by playing three of their next four games at Gillette Stadium. The stretch begins on Saturday, Aug. 6, when the Revolution will host Chivas USA at 7:30 p.m.
New England Revolution at Sporting Kansas City
July 30, 2011 – LIVESTRONG Sporting Park
New England Revolution 1, Sporting Kansas City 1
NE – Rajko Lekic (Matt Reis) 38
SKC – Teal Bunbury (unassisted) 89
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Franco Coria, Kevin Alston (Ryan Guy 78), Stephen McCarthy (Kenny Mansally 34), Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Benny Feilhaber, Rajko Lekic, Zack Schilawski (Sainey Nyassi 72)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Diego Fagundez, Zak Boggs, Ryan Cochrane
STATS*: Shots: 8; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 11
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen, Seth Sinovic (Birahim Diop 88), Matt Besler, Daneil Cyrus (Teal Bunbury 80), Chance Myers, Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Jeferson, Julio Cesar (Omar Bravo 56), Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Soony Saad, Milos Stojcev
STATS*: Shots: 21; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 6; Offside: 0; Fouls Committed: 11
* Note that all statistics are unofficial
NE – Kenny Mansally (caution) 50
SKC – Daneil Cyrus (caution) 67
NE – Franco Coria (caution) 75
NE – A.J. Soares (ejection) 82
New England Revolution – 4-9-9, 21 pts.
Sporting Kansas City – 6-6-9, 27 pts
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Assistant Referees: Fabio Tovar, Ian Anderson
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman Weather: Sunny and 90 degrees
- With the draw, the Revs moved to 13-20-9 all-time against Kansas City, including a 6-10-4 mark on the road
- The draw now gives the team a modest three-game undefeated streak against Sporting
- With the draw, the Revs won the season series against Kansas City for the first time since 2007, when they went 2-1-0 in the three-game series
- The match was the Revs’ first-ever at the newly-opened LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, which came online in June
- With an official temperature of 90 degrees at kickoff, tonight marked the third straight game in which the temperature was 90 degrees or more at kickoff … the three-straight games of 90+ degree kickoff temperatures is a club record
- Stephen McCarthy left the game in the 34th minute with a left shoulder injury … he has had several injuries to the shoulder this season
- Rajko Lekic scored his fourth goal of the season with his first-half strike … it was his first since July 4 at Real Salt Lake when he successfully converted a penalty kick
- Rajko Lekic’s goal was his second of the year against Sporting Kansas City … he scored the game-winning goal against Kansas City in a 3-2 win on April 23 at Gillette Stadium
- Matt Reis’ assist on Rajko Lekic’s goal was his first since Aug. 25, 2007 when he assisted on Taylor Twellman’s goal in the 46th minute in the 2-1 win at Gillette Stadium
- Tonight’s 1-0 lead at the half marked the second game in a row in which the Revs went into halftime with the lead … tonight was just the third time this season the Revs have led at the half … overall, the team is now 1-0-3 when leading at the half …
- A.J. Soares’ red card was his second of the season and the team’s seventh of the year … the Revs now lead MLS in ejections … the team’s seven red cards in one season – through 22 games – sets a new team record, surpassing the 1998 mark of six in 32 games
- Teal Bunbury’s 89th minute goal was the second opponent’s game-tying goal after the 75th minute this season … on July 4, Fabian Espindola of Real Salt Lake knotted the game at 3-3 in the 83rd minute