KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Saturday night’s grind-it-out scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City was about grit and determination for the New England Revolution, and they’ve got the scars to prove it.
Both Darrius Barnes and Matt Reis received stitches above their right eyes after the match – Barnes required six following a first-half collision and Reis needed 12 after taking an elbow from Kei Kamara in stoppage time – while there were countless other bumps and bruises picked up during the course of the rough-and-tumble contest.
In the end it was the Revolution’s commitment to the cause which helped the club snap a brief two-game losing skid and pick up its third road result of the season. After a pair of frustrating losses to Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact, the Revs put the emphasis back on defending and sticking together as a team.
“I think we showed a lot of heart,” said center back Stephen McCarthy, who returned to the lineup after missing the midweek loss to Montreal with concussive-like symptoms. “Guys were putting their bodies out there. It shows with two guys with stitches. I think we had a really good game defensively. We got close offensively, but we came in with a game plan and we did what we wanted to do, so I think we’re happy.”
Featuring a revamped lineup which included Chris Tierney at left midfield and Ryan Guy at forward, the Revs actually took the initiative in the opening 15 minutes. Twice Guy was denied by Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, including a diving header which many Revolution players thought had crossed the line.
But playing their third game in eight days at one of the most difficult road venues in the league, the Revs unsurprisingly absorbed more pressure as the game wore on. Sporting KC was limited to a handful of quality chances and the ones which got through were promptly turned away by Reis.
“Matt was gallant tonight,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “He came out big and we asked him to be big on crosses, and I think that he had a really great game.”
“We didn’t play our best game but we got a valuable point,” said Reis. “It was a solid team effort. We really put a lot of work out there, top to bottom, everybody.”
Having secured their fifth point of the season away from home – becoming just the fourth visiting team to earn any points at Livestrong Sporting Park this year in the process – the Revs can take confidence in their road abilities moving forward as they prepare for next weekend’s trip to PPL Park and a visit to the Philadelphia Union.
“It gives us a little bit of confidence just knowing that we can lock teams down and keep them out at their stadium,” said Tierney. “So we’ll look to get on the offensive and try to nick a goal or two against Philly, but we’ll take the positives from this one, we’ll be happy with the clean sheet and we’ll look to take three next weekend.”