KANSAS CITY, Kan. – For the second time in four days an early ejection made it mission impossible for the New England Revolution on Saturday night, as the Revs suffered a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park.
But unlike on Wednesday night in Atlanta, where the Revs had already conceded inside two minutes before their first ejection 14 minutes later, it was the visitors who started brightly in Kansas City, taking an early lead through Teal Bunbury’s seventh goal of the season.
The promising start unraveled in the 11th minute, however, when Krisztián Németh – making his return to Kansas City in his first start with the Revolution – was sent off for an incident away from the ball, following a Video Review.
All three of the Revolution’s red cards in the past two games were issued following Video Reviews.
“It’s difficult, really, to put into words,” said Bunbury, one of three former SKC forwards who started for New England on Saturday night. “Mistakes happen, but some things, you just know better.”
The early ejection (for an errant elbow to Graham Zusi) was particularly frustrating for head coach Jay Heaps, who had preached the importance of discipline in Kansas City after playing the majority of Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta with only nine men.
“We talked about being really smart and managing the first 15 minutes,” Heaps said. “Getting a red card just absolutely – it hurt us, and it hurt us in a double way because we had just had [two of them] on Wednesday night.
“We never even gave ourselves a real shot, because being down for 70, 80 minutes is near impossible.”
Although the Revs led when Németh was sent off, eventually Sporting KC made the most of their numerical advantage, scoring twice before halftime and adding a third after the break.
It was another taxing night on a challenging road trip for the Revs, who must now find a way to recover both physically and mentally ahead of next weekend’s visit from league-leading Toronto FC.
“There can’t be any excuses anymore,” said Bunbury. “We need three points at home, and probably from here on out we need to win every game. Starting with TFC, we have to have a mindset of winning, no matter what it takes.”