KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Left shorthanded for the majority of the game by a 14th-minute red card to central defender Stephen McCarthy, the New England Revolution suffered a 3-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Graham Zusi (28th minute) and Kei Kamara (39th minute) put the home side in control before the halftime break, while C.J. Sapong added a killer third just two minutes into the second half. Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made six saves to record his second straight shutout.
The win pushed Sporting KC (2-0-0, 6 pts.) to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, while the Revs (0-2-0, 0 pts.) suffered their second consecutive road loss to the open the 2012 campaign. New England returns to Gillette Stadium for its home opener next weekend against the Portland Timbers.
French striker Saer Sène made his MLS debut after missing the Revolution’s season opener because of swelling in his left knee, while Lee Nguyen made his first MLS start on the left wing after appearing as a substitute last weekend against San Jose. A.J. Soares moved back to his natural center back position to replace the injured John Lozano (R hip flexor strain), while Chris Tierney returned from suspension to take over at left back.
Tierney got involved in the attack in the fifth minute, surging down the left wing and delivering a curling cross into the middle intended for Sene. The pass was half-cleared to the top of the box, where Benny Feilhaber collected the loose ball before rolling a shot wide of the left post while under pressure.
Sporting Kansas City returned the pressure and the hosts were denied only by the woodwork in the ninth minute. Midfielder Roger Espinoza attempted an audacious chip from distance after Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis came well out of his box for a 50-50 challenge, but the effort struck the right post and bounced clear.
The pivotal moment occurred in the 14th minute when McCarthy was issued a straight red card for holding Sapong as the SKC forward attempted to race onto Kamara’s flick on. Shalrie Joseph dropped from midfield into a central defensive role to plug the gap.
It took Sporting 14 minutes to capitalize on its man advantage, grabbing the lead through Zusi in the 28th minute. Former Revolution defender Seth Sinovic began the move when his left-wing cross found Kamara at the back post and the Sierra Leonean forward blasted a low pass across the face of goal. The ball settled for Zusi, who held off the challenge of Joseph and finished from close range while on his backside.
Kamara doubled Sporting KC’s lead to 2-0 in the 39th minute. Sinovic was again the originator when his cross from the end line was pushed away by Reis, but Kamara latched onto the loose ball and scored at the second attempt, finishing into the upper right corner after his first shot was stopped by Reis.
Sapong put his name on the score sheet in the 47th minute to extend Sporting KC’s lead to 3-0 and for the third time Sinovic was involved in the buildup. Zusi’s clever short pass sent Sinovic into the box and the left back smartly cut the ball back for Sapong, who finished easily from six yards out.
Second-half substitute Ryan Guy was the Revolution’s biggest offensive threat, forcing a pair of saves out of Nielsen with headers in the 56th and 76th minutes.
Sporting KC had two late chances to add a fourth but Sapong was denied by Reis on a breakaway and right back Chance Myers saw his long-range effort rebound off the crossbar.
After opening the season with back-to-back road games, the Revs return to Gillette Stadium for their home opener next weekend against the Portland Timbers. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 24.
New England Revolution at Sporting Kansas City
March 17, 2012 – LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (Kansas City, Kan.)
Sporting Kansas City 3, New England Revolution 0
SKC – Graham Zusi (Kei Kamara) 28
SKC – Kei Kamara (unassisted) 39
SKC – C.J. Sapong (Seth Sinovic, Graham Zusi) 47
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Lee Nguyen, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber (Jeremiah White 61), Clyde Simms, Kelyn Rowe (Ryan Guy 46), Saer Sène (Diego Fagundez 57)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Tyler Polak, Blake Brettschneider, Fernando Cardenas
STATS: Shots 11, Shots on Target 6, Corner Kicks 1, Saves 4, Fouls 10, Offsides 2, Passes Completed (percentage) 328 (73.8%), Possession 34.4%
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen, Seth Sinovic, Aurelien Collin (Lawrence Olum 59), Matt Besler, Chance Myers, Bobby Convey, Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi (Paolo Nagamura 57), Julio Cesar (Luke Sassano 77), Roger Espinoza, C.J. Sapong
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Kempin, Matt Harrington, Soony Saad, Jacob Peterson
STATS: Shots 27, Shots on Target 7, Corner Kicks 4, Saves 6, Fouls 12, Offsides 4, Passes Completed (percentage) 647 (85.9%), Possession 65.6%
NE – Stephen McCarthy (ejection) 14
SKC – Graham Zusi (caution) 28
SKC – Chance Myers (caution) 45
Sporting Kansas City – 2-0-0, 6 pts.
New England Revolution – 0-2-0, 0 pts.
Referee: Silviu Petruscu
Assistant Referees: Philippe Briere, Corey Parker
Fourth Official: David Gantar
Weather: Cloudy and 75 degrees
- The loss extended the team’s road winless streak to nine games (0-5-4) … the streak began on July 23, 2011, with a 2-2 draw at Colorado … the Revs’ last road win was a 1-0 victory at D.C. United on July 20, 2011
- The loss pushed the Revs’ all-time, regular-season record against Kansas City to 13-22-10 and 6-11-4 on the road
- The loss snapped the team’s unbeaten streak against Kansas City at three matches (2-0-1) … the modest streak began on October 16, 2010, with a 1-0 victory at Gillette Stadium
- The loss was the team’s first in two games at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park … the Revs earned a 1-1 draw last year in the team’s premiere game at the venue on July 30
- Saer Sène made his Revolution – and MLS debut – when he drew the starting assignment and played 57 minutes before coming off … he missed last week’s season opener at San Jose with swelling in his left knee
- Lee Nguyen made his first start for the Revolution when he lined up on the left wing tonight … last week he made his club and league debut when he came on as a second-half substitute
- Chris Tierney made his 2012 debut after missing the season opener last weekend in San Jose while serving a one-game red-card suspension stemming from the 2011 season finale
- After starting at left back for the first time ever in his career last weekend in San Jose, A.J. Soares returned to the center of the back line to make his 2012 debut at his customary position
- One season removed from setting the club record for red cards with 10, the Revs opened their red-card account for 2012 in the 14th minute of tonight’s game when Stephen McCarthy was shown red … it was his first career ejection
- Diego Fagundez made his season debut when he came on as a substitute in the 57th minute
- Sporting’s three-goal win marked just the second time in series history one of the teams won by a three-goal margin or more … the last time it happened was August 21, 2010, when Sporting took a 4-1 win at CommunityAmerica Ballpark
- Jeremiah White made his Revolution and MLS debut when he checked into the game in the 61st minute for Benny Feilhaber
- In the last two games, a total of nine players have made their Revolution debuts: Blake Brettschneider, Fernando Cardenas, John Lozano, Lee Nguyen, Tyler Polak, Kelyn Rowe, Saer Sène, Clyde Simms and Jeremiah White
- Tonight’s loss was the team’s worst road loss since a 3-0 loss at Portland on Sept. 16, 2011
- The Revs have yet to score a goal in 2012 after being held goalless at both San Jose last weekend and Kansas City this weekend
- Tonight’s loss marked the first time in the last three years the team did not follow up the opening-night result with a win in the second match of the season … in 2010, the Revs earned a 2-0 win at D.C., and had a 2-1 win against United in 2011
- Matt Reis finished the game with four saves to push his career total to 997 … with three more saves, he will become the sixth goalkeeper in league history to record 1,000 saves