August 4, 2012
By Adam Burrows
In first game without Shalrie, Revs fall 1-0 to KC
New England Soccer News Contributor
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.---Behind a first-half goal from Teal Bunbury, Sporting Kansas City defeated the New England Revolution 1-0 at Gillette Stadium to end a three-game winless streak.
|Teal Bunbury did the damage as Sporting Kansas City knocked off the Revolution 1-0 Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The win moves Kansas City (12-7-4, 40 points) into a first-place tie with the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference.
In the first game of the post-Shalrie Joseph era, the Revolution (6-11-5, 23 points) struggled with organization and possession, with little productive movement off the ball and little link-up going forward.
Coming off a three-game road trip in which they claimed only a single point, that coming in scoreless draw with Sporting KC on July 21st, the loss was New England’s fourth defeat in their last five games and leaves the Revolution tied for eighth place with Philadelphia and nine points off the chase for a playoff spot.
After an uneventful start to the match, a missed 20th minute defensive connection between Clyde Simms and Stephen McCarthy near the center circle led to a one-on-one opportunity for Teal Bunbury, and the third-year striker beat Matt Reis with a cool finish to the far post for the ultimate game-winner and his fourth goal of the season.
The Revolution were able to generate few opportunities in a first half mostly void of imagination and focus. The best moment for New England came in the 36th minute, when Benny Feilhaber managed to pierce the Kansas City defense and send a cross back through the box, but the effort came to naught when Dimitry Imbongo booted the first-timer thirty rows deep into the mostly empty blue seats.
Fernando Cardenas came off the bench in the second half and provided an early spark, weaving through the Kansas City defense and crossing into the box in the 49th minute, but Imbongo’s header from just outside the six glanced over the bar.
In the 55th minute, Cardenas drove down the middle from the center circle, but his right-footed drive hooked well wide.
Reis was alert in the 69th minute, grabbing Bunbury’s left-footed curl after the striker’s quick turn at the edge of the box.
In the 86th minute, Chris Tierney sliced a dangerous attempt on goal, but All-Star goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was able to gather it in and the Revolution could not generate any further opportunities.
Jay Heaps made several adjustments to his starting eleven.
For the first time this season, AJ Soares was absent from the starting line-up, out with a hamstring strain suffered in Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia.
With Kevin Alston also hobbled by hamstring problems, Heaps improvised his back line, inserting Flo Lechner on the right and pairing Darrius Barnes with McCarthy in the center, with Tierney assuming his customary role on the left.
Clyde Simms wore the armband in his deep holding midfield spot, with Ryan Guy on the right, Lee Nguyen on the left, and Feilhaber at the point. Imbongo joined countryman Saer Sene up top in a conventional 4-4-2.
Fernando Cardenas replaced Lechner after the break, with Guy dropping into right back, and Diego Fagundez came on for Imbongo in the 73rd minute.
Sporting KC was missing its midfield bulldog Roger Espinoza, who had excelled earlier in the day for the Honduran Olympic side in its 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Brazil in Newcastle, as well as its French center back Aurelien Collin, out with facial fractures sustained in a collision with Chelsea’s Michael Essien at the MLS All-Star game.
The announced attendance was 17,592, though not everyone stuck around after AC Milan defeated Honduran side Olimpia 3-1 in the opening game of the Gillette Stadium doubleheader.