News & Notes: Sporting KC

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution returns home to host the defending MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City, at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, April 26. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Comcast SportsNet will televise the game, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will broadcast the game on the radio.

The match is Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Night, and the club will also recognize Autism Awareness Month with an Autism Awareness Match, featuring Autism Speaks.

Saturday’s match will be the first of three meetings this season between the Revolution and Sporting KC. The teams last met in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals from which Kansas City advanced, 4-3, on aggregate and went on to win the league championship.

The Revolution (2-3-2, 8 pts.) played to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park last Saturday. Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made a stoppage-time save on a Chicago penalty kick to preserve the road point after Lee Nguyen leveled the score in the first half with a successful penalty kick of his own. The Revs are 2-1-1 in their last four matches and are currently tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Kansas City (3-1-2, 11 pts.) enters Saturday’s match against New England atop the Eastern Conference standings and are unbeaten in their last five games (3-0-2) after losing to Seattle Sounders FC in their season-opening match.


Defending champs headed East
On Saturday, the Revolution will host the defending MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City, in a 7:30 p.m. match at Gillette Stadium … the Revs and Sporting KC last met in the two-game Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Revs pushing SKC to the brink before Kansas City needed extra time to eliminate them, 4-3 on aggregate at Sporting Park … last year, SKC won the two-game, regular-season season series, 1-0-1, with the teams playing to a 0-0 draw in a cold, blustery afternoon match at Gillette Stadium on March 23, before Kansas City defeated the Revs, 3-0, at Sporting Park on Aug. 10.

Home streak on the line
The Revs enter Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City riding a five-game undefeated streak at home, dating back to September 2013 … since earning a 2-1 win against D.C. United on Sept. 21, 2013, the Revs have gone 3-0-2 in their last five matches at Gillette Stadium … the last team to defeat New England at Gillette Stadium was the Montreal Impact, who captured a 4-2 win in Foxborough on Sept. 8, 2013, playing up a man for 85 minutes.

“State Of The Revs” debuts this Thursday
Comcast SportsNet’s on-going special about the Revolution -- “State of the Revs” -- is coming to televisions regularly as a new bi-weekly 30-minute TV show premiering this Thursday, April 24, at 9 p.m. … hosted by CSN’s Dalen Cuff, “State of the Revs” will take a regular look at the Revolution, both on and off the field … with player interviews, inside access to the team, telestrator analysis, and behind-the-scenes features, “State of the Revs” will be the go-to television destination for Revolution news, information and unique story lines … in addition to Revolution coverage, “State of the Revs” will also have regular contributions from NBC’s soccer broadcast team, covering soccer topics from around the world, including Major League Soccer … new episodes of “State of the Revs” will air every other Thursday throughout the Revs season, beginning this Thursday.

Looking for a win against SKC …
The Revs are 0-3-3 in their last six meetings against Sporting Kansas City … however, because of the league’s unbalanced schedule, four of those meetings came at Sporting Park with only two at Gillette Stadium … of this year’s three meetings, two will be played at Gillette Stadium (April 26 and Sept. 3) and one at Sporting Park (Sept. 26) … the Revs’ last win in the series came on April 23, 2011 – a 3-2 win at Gillette Stadium in Benny Feilhaber’s New England debut.

… But it starts with goals
On Saturday, the Revolution will enter the match trying to snap a 501-minute, regular-season goal-less streak against Sporting Kansas City … the last regular-season goal the Revs scored against SKC came on July 30, 3011 – Rakjo Lekic’s 38th minute goal in a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park … the Revs went the entire 2012 and 2013 regular seasons without scoring against SKC, and the streak spans six games overall … while Andy Dorman, Kelyn Rowe and Dimitry Imbongo each scored goals against Sporting KC last year in the MLS Cup Playoffs, they were postseason goals and do not count against the team’s regular-season scoreless streak.

Alston forced out this Saturday
Kevin Alston, who has been one of the team’s most active and visible players the last two games, will be forced to sit out Saturday’s match against Kansas City while serving a one-game red card suspension … the defender was shown a straight red card in the 90th minute of last Saturday’s match in Chicago after he was adjudged to have handled the ball on the goal line while blocking a shot … it was the first red card of his career.

Back-and-forth schedule
After opening up the season with five of its first seven games on the road, the Revs are now settling into a pattern of home and away games until early June … after Saturday’s match against Sporting KC, the Revs will alternate road and home matches until the MLS World Cup break … next weekend, the team will travel to Toronto (May 3), then host Seattle (May 11), then travel to Philadelphia (May 17), then host D.C. United (May 24), then travel to Montreal (May 31) before hosting New York (June 8) ahead of the two-week break … the Revs still have 15 home games remaining, but only 12 road contests.

“Nguyenning” penalty kicks
Lee Nguyen converted his fourth penalty kick as a member of the Revolution last Saturday, leveling the team’s match at Chicago at 1-1 in the 31st minute … after Kevin Alston drew the penalty, Nguyen stepped up and converted against Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson … Nguyen is now four-for-five in penalty-kick attempts in his MLS career and is tied for fourth on the club’s career penalty kick chart.

Stopping PKs helps, too
While the Revolution converted a penalty kick last Saturday, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth also stopped one of his own – the first PK save in his MLS career … Chicago was awarded a penalty kick at the start of stoppage time, and a successful conversion would’ve all but handed the game to the Fire … however, Shuttleworth read Juan Luis Anangono’s attempt and made the save, and then immediately made a save on Jeff Larentowicz’s follow-up shot from close range … the double-save is one of this week’s nominations for MLS Save of the Week.

He’s baaack!!!
Club legend Shalrie Joseph was picked up by the Revolution in the Waiver Draft late Tuesday … the Revs’ former club captain was waived by Seattle earlier this season and selected by the Revs in the Waiver Draft, leading to his return to his original MLS club … Joseph has made 283 career appearances in MLS – including a Revolution-club record 261 appearances – and has scored 40 career goals and added 35 career assists in the regular season … his 37 goals in New England rank fourth in the club’s records, while his 34 assists with the Revs rank third in New England … Joseph was a finalist for the 2009 MLS Most Valuable Player award, and was a four-time MLS Best XI selection and an eight-time MLS All-Star selection.

Portugal and Mexico set to meet at Gillette
Before the Mexican and Portuguese national teams make their way to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they’ll face off in an international friendly at Gillette Stadium … on June 6, Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal against Javier Hernandez and Mexico in a final tune up before the World Cup … kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m., and tickets are on sale and start at $40.

July 12: New England’s Fitness Event of the Year
International fitness star Shaun T – the creator of best-selling fitness programs INSANITY, Focus T25 and Hip Hop Abs – will make a special appearance at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, July 12, when he leads a live workout on the field before the New England Revolution hosts the Chicago Fire later in the evening … special ticket packages start at $85 and are on sale now here … packages include a spot in the live workout, a Q&A session with Shaun T after the workout, a meet & greet and group photo session with Shaun T, access to a reserved tailgate area between the workout and the Revs match, and a midfield seat for the Revolution match … special package options are available for fitness fans who want to be closer to Shaun T and work out in the first 10 rows.