Revolution pick up key first-leg win vs. Sporting KC

KelynRoweNewEnglandRevolution1-SportingKC (USATodaySports)

By CARL SETTERLUND 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass – Sporting Kansas City finished the regular season one point behind the New York Red Bulls for the Supporter’s Shield trophy, and Peter Vermes’ side had plenty of reason for optimism Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, having held their opponent, the New England Revolution, scoreless since July 2011.

It was the red-hot Revs who gained the upper hand, though, in the home-and-home Eastern Conference semifinal series as goals by Andy Dorman and Kelyn Rowe 12 minutes apart in the second half sent the host Revolution to a 2-1 win.

“I really don’t think we were thinking about them being able to stop us,” said New England coach Jay Heaps. “We were just thinking about how we needed to play. We needed to step our game up and fortunately we got two tonight. It would have been nicer to have a two-goal advantage but credit them for a great goal.”

It was the fourth straight win for New England, who have now gone unbeaten over seven matches with their backs against the wall late in the regular season.

The series is far from decided though. Kansas City beat New England by a 3-0 result at home on Aug. 10, meaning there’s plenty of possibility for a turnaround.

“I thought we were really good playing away from home,” Vermes said. “We were in and around their box. We didn’t really give anything away to them.”

The 31-year-old Dorman had a tap-in 55 minutes in to end what had been a 557-minute scoreless drought against Sporting KC that stretched across seven matches. The wily Welshman was a recent insertion into the starting lineup, but finished into an open net on the goal line after the ball pin-balled around.

“Did you see the replay?” asked Vermes. “When the shot’s taken, all three guys are offside. They can’t get an unfair advantage on that situation. It’s an easy call.”

Revolution MVP Diego Fagundez had sent in the initial shot from the right side, blasting a laser off backstop Jimmy Nielsen’s right foot. The ball then bounced off Juan Agudelo’s stomach as he closed for a rebound, went back off Nielsen’s hand and over to Dorman for his first MLS goal since July 7, 2007.

Dorman left New England for the Scottish Premier League at the end of the 2007 season, which finished with the Revs’ third straight loss in the MLS Cup.

It’s been a downward spiral since then for the club, which missed the playoffs three years in a row from 2010 to ’12, as an aging roster was almost fully turned over, starting with the signing of a then 15-year-old Fagundez in November 2010.

The Revs and Sporting KC looked destined for their second scoreless draw of the season as both offenses struggled for creativity before Dorman’s opener.

A breakout player this season, Rowe added on in the 67th minute, as Agudelo carried the ball downfield and laid it off to Lee Nguyen in the middle, who subsequently moved it along into open space in the middle of the 18-yard-box.

Rowe hustled to the ball ahead of former Revolution player Seth Sinovic, sliding in to score with a right-footed sweep off the outside of his foot and inside the far left post from 12 yards out to send New England to a short-lived 2-0 advantage.

“I didn’t know if I could get there with my left foot,” said the 21-year-old. “I decided to slide down and hit it with the outside of my right [foot]. I was a little worried. I was looking the whole way. I thought it was going to hit the post and go out.”

“The second goal I thought was just excellent from Lee and Kelyn,” Heaps said. “Great run from Kelyn, he was strong and he found the back corner.”

Sporting KC nearly stole the momentum two minutes later as Aurelien Collin guided it in at the left post off a ball in from Chance Myers, who hit in a bouncer from 20 yards out that deflected off C.J. Sapong as it passed through a crowd.

Myers was denied off a Graham Zusi corner in the 18th minute as Nguyen made a controversial clear off the line, chesting it to the side and avoiding a handball. Collin still appealed to the referee, though, after his follow-up went wide right.

“Zusi plays great balls in on free kicks and corners,” Reis said. “[Myers] put one down into the turf and it skipped up, and that’s why we have guys on the post.”

Heaps said New England varies between one or two field players defending the goal line on corners and decided to play it safe on Saturday and go with two.

Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis was called to action once more in the third minute of second half stoppage time, parrying away a close-range blast by Dominic Dwyer.

“His reflexes are pretty amazing,” Heaps said of his former teammate. “I don’t think there’s been a better goalie in the league.”

The 38-year-old Reis has had a late-career Renaissance after starting the season as the backup to Bobby Shuttleworth. Reis became the first keeper with over 10 decisions to go undefeated, upping his season record to 8-0-4 with the victory on Saturday. He also finished with the best goals against average in MLS.

The two squads will meet again at Sporting Park for the second leg on Wednesday. The winner will face the New York Red Bulls or Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference finals.

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20 Responses to Revolution pick up key first-leg win vs. Sporting KC

  1. Dustin says:

    “Did you see the replay?” Vermes said. “When the shot’s taken, all three guys are offside. They can’t get an unfair advantage on that situation. It’s an easy call.”

    Vermes is wrong, not only does the replay not confirm offside or not because it is at a bad angle, but their is a defender right in the midst of play. If anything they all look on and not off, so if the AR is wrong on a bang bang play, it’s ridiculously close and well within the bounds of trifling. Vermes is a very very disingenuous or he’s just dumb.

    • Eric W says:

      Yeah, Vermes is a sociopath. Not the cut-you-up-into-little-pieces type, but the type that is willing to lie, cheat, deceive and brutalize anyone to get what he wants. Note how his team plays.

      Didn’t work so well tonight. ;)

      • over there says:

        lmao. They are the dirtiest team in the league.

        • MJ says:

          Not the dirtiest team in the league. Physical yes, but not dirty. Hence the large number of yellow cards, but only one red card (and that came from kicking the ball at a downed player, not from a dangerous play).

          You can hate them for the slower, defensive, physical style of play. But not for being dirty.

          • over there says:

            BS. SKC is a team filled with cheap shot artists, and they would be worse if Espinoza was still there.

            • MJ says:

              Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about and just some hatred by being a fan of a different team. Get over yourself troll

    • Phlub says:

      Maybe just Imbongo was off, but he didn’t factor in the play.

  2. Falsify says:

    Not much to be said. Lets just hope we can pull it together in KC.

  3. Bobb says:

    Attn Peter Vermes: You are delusional.

    And I say that as a neutral who would rather see KC and their awesome fans advance than watch a game with handegg lines in Foxboro.

    Go learn the rules, sir. Also maybe learn coaching beyond having your players commit fouls ever ten seconds.

  4. Scruff says:

    Vermes needs to stop his sideline antics as well. Its so much that the on field mic pics up a lot of his complaining. He complains about every single play. Forget fouls…this guy yells and screams bloody murder about throw ins at the 50 yard line.

  5. Brain Guy says:

    Peter Vermes would complain about the color of your jersey if your equipment manager were within earshot. He is the most annoying sideline presence in the sport. Aren’t there any limits on dissent from the technical area?

  6. Quit whining aboit soccer in the US says:

    Vermes wins the whiner award…not even close. On a weekend with two games played on turf with football lines…even I was whining. Onsides, goal.

  7. Josh says:

    Apparently the comment boards have been taken over by a bunch of whiny Vermes-haters.

    Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather have a coach care and get upset than sit around and look around aimlessly. People can be jealous because he does a good job and gets a team to care. Again, would rather have that then a lifeless guy like Sigi on the sideline letting the egos of his team coach for him.

  8. keith says:

    The rule is not ambiguous. The final two passes had all three NE players in offsides positions. There is no yardage qualifier in the rule, they were quick, short passes but offsides by the rules. I like the physical play MLS officials allow, but the non-judgement calls are missed way too often. No goal.

    • Dustin says:

      Keith firstly there is no camera angle which proves it. Secondly you are wrong, they are not offside at the MOMENT the ball is played. Sorry you don’t know Law 11 but you don’t.

      • CJinOC says:

        love that last sentence. lol.

        I think the only argument that someone might have is that Dorman may be in an offside position when the ball deflects off of Agudelo. But it’s hard to tell from the replay, and the AR is not in a position to make the call (not because of something he did wrong, but that’s just how fast the play happened).

        My stance is that the moment the ball is played is the moment it is shot. At that moment, both Agudelo and Dorman are on. The ball then takes two deflections (the save, and the bounce of Juan) and Dorman taps in the goal.

        If one can say that Juan played the ball toward the goal. It then becomes harder to tell whether Dorman is on at the moment Juan “plays” it toward goal. I think he’s even with the ball, and thus not in an offside position, but it’s close enough that even if he were in front of the ball, the play was so close that the call could go either way, and I could not fault the AR for not giving the offside.

  9. Ben says:

    How much potential does Rowe have? I’ve only seen him a few times this season, but I’ve been very impressed each time.

  10. Bates says:

    Enjoy the win NE, you stole one but KC will win fairly on Wednesday night. Cream rises to the top.