The New England Revolution fell to Sporting Kansas City tonight in their host's home opener, providing them with their second consecutive loss in the 2012 campaign. The 3-0 scoreline was a pretty accurate representation of the match which saw some questionable officiating early on that seemed to throw the Revs off their gameplan all together.
The Revs started out the game in a 4-5-1 formation, making room for Lee Nguyen to start in the midfield and playing Saer Sene as the lone striker in his MLS debut. Despite an optimistic approach to the match, a straight--and rather arguable--red card to Stephen McCarthy in the 14th minute was the catalyst to the Revs' ultimate defeat. The Revolution were forced to re-align and re-think their strategy, but were never able to get on the same page.
Sporting's first goal came in the 28th minute from Graham Zusi who made the most of his service from Kei Kamara, despite Matt Reis saving the first attempt. Kamara netted one of his own 11 minutes later from yet another ball that the Revs could not clear off the line--this one resulting from some excellent service from former Revolution left back Seth Sinovic.
Jay Heaps certainly had his hands full going into halftime with 10 men and a two-goal deficit. The second half started with Ryan Guy replacing Kelyn Rowe who made little noise or impact in his second MLS start.
Sporting Kansas City was not content with their lead, however, and found a third goal early into the second half by way of 2011 MLS rookie of the year C.J. Sapong. With still no answer to Kansas City's goals, Jay Heaps replaced Saer Sene with Diego Fagundez, hoping for the spark that the teen was able to bring to the Revs last season in similar situations. The spark might have been there, but the goals still were not.
In the 62nd minute, journeyman Jeremiah White made his Revolution debut 8 years after having been drafted by the club, replacing a visibly and audibly frustrated Benny Feilhaber. The Revs had their chances in the 2nd half, a couple good ones coming from Ryan Guy who found himself in good space in the box, but were never able to cash in.
The Revs will certainly feel as though they were dealt a crap hand in this one, even though the task was sizeable coming into Kansas City to begin with. The efforts of players like Lee Nguyen and Clyde Simms were noteworthy, but not enough to make any difference. Still winless and goalless in 2012, the Revolution now return home and look to their season home-opener against the Portland Timbers on March 24th.