The New England Revolution earned a hard-fought point tonight against Eastern Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City as they were able to deny the sky blues too many chances and ultimately and keep a clean sheet. Dominating possession, but failing to put anything significant on frame, the Revs settled for the draw and will now try to learn from their shortcomings as they look onward to their 2013 campaign.
It was a lackluster game for the most part, with little excitement outside of some pushing and shoving on behalf of both teams. Sporting Kansas City had the better of the chances through the two halves, but the Revolution backline as well as keeper Matt Reis were able to hold them off in the end.
The first half played out with little more than a yellow card to Mechack Jerome for a late tackle on Kevin Alston, who got tossed around on the left-side for most of the match. Sporting had a great chance in the 19th minute when a corner kick could not be cleared from the Revolution penalty area. CJ Sapong connected well on the loose ball but it was deflected off the line by Clyde Simms, sending the ball off the crossbar and then eventually into the hands of Matt Reis after Benny Feilhaber's poor shot off the final rebound.
Although they had 54% of possession in the first half, the Revs could not manage to get a single shot off. Matt Reis, on the other hand, had 3 saves to keep the score at 0-0 going into the halftime break.
The second half played out in a similar fashion, with New England still finding it nearly impossible to get near the Kansas City goal. Although it wasn't blizzard-like conditions such as many saw last night in Colorado for the United States' match against Costa Rica, the Revs had their own elements to deal with, namely the wind.
"I don't want to make excuses," said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps, "but I will say that the wind was definitely difficult to play in... For me, Kansas City is one of the best teams at grinding out a game like that and I think we showed a lot of our guys coming out and fighting them and making it a difficult battle."
Both squads opted for substitutions around the 63rd minute when Peterson Joseph was introduced in place of Soony Saad and Ryan Guy replaced Chad Barrett to take over in the target striker role. Guy never quite found a rhythm after battling with a head injury for most of his time on the pitch which he sustained shortly after coming on.
New England's best chance of the game came in the 77th minute when they were awarded a free kick at the top of the Kansas City 18-yard box. Juan Toja assumed the dead ball chance and curled his shot over and past the Kansas City wall, but unfortunately over the crossbar as well.
Curiously, neither team decided to use their other two subs, suggesting that both coaches were perhaps satisfied with a point.
"For me," Jay Heaps said post-game, "the way that their back four were playing and... how physical they were, what Ike Opara was doing and the way the game was being played, it just wasn't a game where I thought we would get much forward... and we were going to lose a little bit defensively."
In the end, as became apparent very early on in the second half, the match ended without a goal for either sides and little to really discuss by the final whistle.
"It was a tough game all the way around," Heaps said. "It ws a good foight from our guys, I was very excited with the way we approached the match, but in the end we didn't get enough chances, we weren't good enough on our set pieces... but in terms of defending and making sure we made it a battle, we did that."
Despite the lackluster draw, the Revs improve their record to 1-1-1 after this match, amounting to 4 points. They will host FC Dallas next weekend at Gillette Stadium and try to get back to winning ways.