KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The New England Revolution saw its 2013 season come to an end on Wednesday night after falling 3-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park and losing the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series, 4-3, on aggregate (total) goals after extra time.
The Revs entered tonight’s match ahead on goals, 2-1, following Saturday’s win in game one at Gillette Stadium, but Sporting KC tied the series 3-3 with two goals to the Revs’ one tonight, sending the game to 30 minutes of extra time. In the extra session, SKC’s Claudio Bieler scored in the 113th minute to send Kansas City through to the Eastern Conference Championship where they’ll face the fourth-seeded Houston Dynamo, who bounced Supporters Shield winners, New York Red Bulls, out of the playoffs in a series that also required extra time earlier tonight.
The loss was the Revolution’s first loss since Sept. 14, as New England entered tonight’s game on a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2), winning its last four matches. The late-season surge propelled the Revs up the East standings on the final day of the season, setting up the two-three match-up against Sporting KC.
While the Revs suffered the loss tonight, they also saw long-time goalkeeper Matt Reis forced out of the game near the death with a left quadriceps injury that occurred in a non-contact situation. Rookie defender Andrew Farrell was forced into goal for the final few minutes as the Revs chased the elusive series-tying goal down a man.
This was the team’s first postseason appearance since 2009, and the first-ever playoff meeting against Kansas City.
A pair of former Revs players played big parts in the match tonight, helping SKC advance to the conference final. SKC left back Seth Sinovic, who was a member of the Revs in 2010 and early in 2011, scored the series-tying goal in the 79th minute, forcing the extra session, while Benny Feilhaber, who the Revs traded to SKC in December, set up Bieler’s series-clinching strike.
In a game that Sporting KC dominated in the first half – posting a 72 percent to 28 percent advantage in possession and an 11 to 2 edge in shots – Revs forward Juan Agudelo had the Revs’ first chance in the seventh minute when his left-footed shot caromed off Matt Besler and narrowly over SKC keeper Jimmy Nielsen’s crossbar.
Sporting had an equally dangerous chance in the 11th minute when Dom Dwyer got a backwards pass off from the end line, and the ball fell right to Feilhaber. Feilhaber’s unmarked shot from the edge of the area sailed wide of Reis’ goal, however.
SKC had another golden chance in the 17th minute when Dwyer connected on Sinovic’s cross from the left flank. Reis made the reaction save and then dove to cover the rebound and prevent Sporting from leveling on aggregate.
Sporting KC capitalized on their almost constant first-half pressure in the 41st minute, drawing the series level on aggregate for the first of two times on the evening. Chance Myers played the ball into the box and Dwyer had the first header, which deflected off Farrell’s leg, right into the path of SKC defender Aurelien Collin. The Frenchman side-volleyed it past Reis to put SKC ahead 1-0 in the game and bring the series level at 2-2.
After the teams came out of the intermission, Reis made a fantastic double-reaction save in the 55th minute to prevent Sporting from taking the series lead. Myers sent a lofted cross into the box from the right wing that found Dwyer on the doorstep, but his headed shot was stopped by Reis. Feilhaber ran in on angle for the rebound, but Reis came up again with the point-blank stop two yards from the goalmouth.
The Reis saves seemed to invigorate the Revs who began to hold possession more and string together more passes, including creating chances in the Sporting third. The pressure came through when Agudelo won a free kick along the right touch line in the 70th minute. Kelyn Rowe stepped up and lofted his service into the area and Imbongo found space to connect a side volley past Nielsen for a 1-1 score line in the game and a 3-2 lead on aggregate.
Sporting struck in the 79th minute and leveled the series for the second time in the game, the goal coming through Sinovic. Coming down the left flank, he ran on to Graham Zusi’s flicked on header and first-timed a left-footed shot past Reis inside the far post to once again bring Sporting KC level on aggregate in the series at 3-3.
Rowe sprang Diego Fagundez, who had been quiet all night, in the 85th minute and almost put the Revs back ahead. Rowe redirected a Jose Goncalves pass on his first touch out to Fagundez, who was unmarked on the left wing. The 18-year-old cut inside and had a clear path to goal and tried to curl his shot around Nielsen – who appeared to have no line on the ball – but the ball kissed off the crossbar and over the end line.
Sporting KC had a prime chance to claim the series in stoppage time when Paulo Nagamura was left unmarked at the top of the 18 and received Zusi’s cross that skipped across the line, but he sent his shot wide left of Reis’ far post in the second minute of stoppage time and the teams headed to the 30-minute extra time session with the series knotted at 3-3.
In the 102nd minute, Sapong had the first extra session’s only real chance when he rose to meet Zusi’s cross at the back post, but his header popped high and wide of goal as Reis looked on.
The Revs had the second extra time session’s first prime chance when Nguyen played Agudelo in at the edge of the penalty area in the 109th minute. Agudelo worked between two SKC defenders to create a one-on-one with Nielsen, but the 20-year-old’s shot was saved as the goalkeeper came out to stop it and preserve the series.
However, it was Bieler who came through for SKC, calmly slotting home Feilhaber’s pass through the penalty area in the 113th minute.
While New England pushed, Reis came out to help push the ball up the field, but suddenly went down without contact. Immediately calling for assistance, he was helped off the field and Farrell stepped in to goal for the waning minutes.
The Revolution ends its 2013 season and will now look ahead to the 2014 campaign. After returning to the playoffs for the first time in four years, the Revs will now look to build on their young core and band of experienced veterans and improve upon their third-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
For up-to-the-minute information on the Revolution, visit the team’s official web site at revolutionsoccer.net, or join the conversation and interact with fans on any of the team’s social platforms: Twitter (@NERevolution, #NERevs), Facebook (NERevolution), Google+ (+NERevolution), Instagram (NERevolution), Pinterest (NERevolution), Vine (NERevolution), YouTube (NERevolutionSoccer) and Flickr (NERevolution).
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New England Revolution at Sporting Kansas City
November 6, 2013 – Sporting Park (Kansas City, Kan.)
Sporting Kansas City 3, New England Revolution 1 (AET)
* Sporting Kansas City wins the series, 4-3 on aggregate and advances to the Eastern Conference Championship
SKC – Aurelien Collin (unassisted) 41
NE - Dimtry Imbongo (Kelyn Rowe) 70
SKC – Seth Sinovic (Graham Zusi, Aurelien Collin) 79
SKC – Claudio Bieler (Benny Feilhaber) 113
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes (Jerry Bengtson 116), Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Diego Fagundez, Andy Dorman (Scott Caldwell 46), Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe Juan Agudelo, Dimitry Imbongo (Chad Barrett 78)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Stephen McCarthy, Clyde Simms, Donnie Smith
STATS: Shots 5, Shots on Target 2, Corner Kicks 1, Saves 7, Fouls 27, Offsides 1, Passes 363 (68.3%), Possession 35.7%
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen, Seth Sinovic, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Chance Myers, Graham Zusi, Paulo Nagamura (Soony Saad 97), Oriol Rosell, Benny Feilhaber,(Ike Opara 116), Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 84), C.J. Sapong
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Mechack Jerome, Jacob Peterson, Teal Bunbury
STATS: Shots 32, Shots on Target 10, Corner Kicks 10, Saves 1, Fouls 17, Offsides 3, Passes 670 (84.2%), Possession 64.3%
* Note that all statistics are unofficial as supplied by Opta
NE – Darrius Barnes (caution) 19
SKC – Chance Myers (caution) 19
NE – Scott Caldwell (caution) 88
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Sean Hurd, Joe Fletcher
Fourth Official: Sorin Stoica
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 41 degrees
New England Revolution: 1-1-0 (14-11-9, 51 pts.)
Sporting Kansas City: 1-1-0 (17-10-7, 58 pts.)
- This was the Revolution’s first extra-time series in the MLS Cup Playoffs since 2006, when the Revs played Chicago in a two-game series and needed extra time to advance to the Eastern Conference Championship