July 21, 2012
By Adam Burrows
Revs play Sporting KC to scoreless draw
New England Soccer News contributor
KANSAS CITY, Kan.--The New England Revolution and Sporting Kansas City played to a scoreless draw Saturday before 19,080 supporters in sky blue at sold-out and steamy Livestrong Sporting Park.
|Ryan Guy forced Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to make a pair of early saves.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The result dropped Sporting (11-6-4, 37 points)to second place in the MLS East behind the New York Red Bulls, who defeated Philadelphia 2-0 earlier in the day.
The Revolution (6-9-5, 23 points) started off energetically despite a midsummer heat wave in the parched Midwest that produced temperatures at kickoff of 99 degrees in the shade and caused Jay Heaps to abandon his suit in favor of a short-sleeved team-issue polo.
At the four-minute mark Benny Feilhaber found Ryan Guy making a diagonal run behind the Kansas City back line and Guy’s one-timer forced an early save from MLS All-Star Jimmy Nielsen.
In the fifteenth minute, the Revolution thought they had broken the deadlock when Guy put a diving header off a Lee Nguyen corner kick on goal, but referee Jason Anno ruled that Nielsen successfully batted the shot away with his right arm before it crossed the line.
Sporting KC responded to the early New England pressure and after a scramble in the 21st minute, Jacob Peterson sliced a long-range sizzler just wide as Matt Reis dove at full stretch.
In the 26th minute, Chris Tierney drilled a low cross to Feilhaber making a run into the box, but the midfielder couldn’t get his feet square to put the shot on frame.
Revs defender Kevin Alston was active pushing forward in the first half, and in the 42nd minute took a crack from distance that flew wide and drew querulous gestures from the Revolution’s advanced force.
The Revolution had trouble getting back on track after the scoreless first half, and it was left to Reis to keep the game even in the 52nd minute, the veteran ‘keeper diving right to paw away a Peterson header destined for the corner of the net off Michael Harrington’s free kick.
Pressure built from the home side as the second half progressed, but the Revolution generated the best opportunity as Fernando Cardenas earned a foul, then sent a dangerous delivery to the far post that Saer Sene knocked harmlessly through the six-yard box with eight minutes left on the clock.
In the closing minutes of regulation, Cardenas produced another chance, weaving through the box with the ball, but the elusive Columbian was unable to put his final effort on goal.
Reis again kept the sheet clean in stoppage time, tapping down a tightly-snapped Kei Kamara header, before taking an elbow to his eyebrow from Kamara moments later while contesting an air ball in traffic.
As stoppage time wound down, the Revolution intensified the attack and earned a couple of half-chances in the box but couldn’t convert.
After the Revolution’s disappointing 2-1 defeat in Montreal midweek, Heaps made wholesale changes to the starting eleven, benching Sene, who was singularly ineffective against the Impact, pushing Tierney up to the left side of the midfield and moving Nguyen to forward alongside Guy.
Stephen McCarthy returned to central defense on his 24th birthday after missing the Montreal game with concussion-like symptoms after a first-minute collision against Toronto, and Darrius Barnes got his second consecutive start after minimal playing time to that point, this time at left back.
Shalrie Joseph also returned to the lineup after missing the Montreal game with back problems, while Clyde Simms took the night off.
A few minutes before the hour mark, Heaps sent on Sene and Cardenas for Barnes and Kelyn Rowe in an offensive-minded tactical substitution.
When McCarthy had to leave with leg cramps in the 76th minute, Joseph dropped back to center back and Blake Brettschneider entered in the attacking end.
The Revolution, who still have only one win (1-7-2) away from Gillette Stadium, will conclude their three-game road trip against the Philadelphia Union next Sunday.