The first half was a rather sad state of affairs for the Revs, with passing lacking and a finishing touch very absent in the final third. Although the possession stat was almost even between the two sides, it certainly didn't look it, as Sporting Kansas City dominated the run of play and put together six shots on goal.
Coming out in a fairly traditional 4-4-2, New England had to tweak their back-line due to injuries, starting Florian Lechner at right back and Darrius Barnes at center-back, and also opted to start newcomer Dimitry Imbongo up top along side Saer Sene.
Playing physical seemed to be Kansas City's game plan, as they also racked up 9 first half fouls. The Revs had no real answer and eventually succumbed to Sporting's pressure in the 20th minute when a series of back-passes from Clyde Simms and Stephen McCarthy was intercepted by Teal Bunbury and slotted home after beating Matt Reis one-on-one.
The Revs had their share of chances in the first half themselves. Perhaps their best came in the 36th minute Feilhaber found his way past the Kansas City defense and into the box, crossing it across net to an approaching Imbongo whose open shot sailed well over the goal.
The second half was a lot of the same, unfortunately. Jay Heaps replaced Flo Lechner with the speedy Fernando Cardenas, moving Guy to right-back, but his boost was not enough to create a goal and eventually fizzled out in the later moments of the game. The Revolution made themselves another good chance in the 49th minute when Chris Tierney sent in a cross to Dimitry Imbongo inside the box, but the French forward headed the ball just over the net.
Jay Heaps and his squad pointed to Kansas City's physical style of play as the main reason for tonight's loss, something that the Revs have struggled with all season. "They are a big physical team, that's the way they play," said Clyde Simms after the match. "I think the way we try to play is keep the ball on the ground and keep it moving... that is the way we try to play. And we think we are good at that. We weren't as good with the ball tonight."
Statistically, Sporting Kansas City racked up 21 fouls tonight, compared to New England's 12. Both teams were also issued two cautions. "We're one of the most fouled teams in the league, and we playd against the team that fouls the most, and the referee allowed it. It's as simple as that," said Heaps. "It's a little bizarre."
In the end, Bunbury's goal was the difference among the two sides, making New England's playoffs hopes even further away. They will look to re-group and learn from this loss, but there's no doubt that there are still some lingering questions for the Revs as their 2012 campaign plays out.
"Unfortunately we've been punished all year for our mistakes," said Heaps, "and that's exactly what happened tonight."
New England will host the Montreal Impact on Sunday August 12th and close out yet another series against an Eastern Conference opponent. And with 5 games now without a win, the Revolution may just be hungry enough to secure one.