It certainly felt like déjà vu.
For the second straight week, the New England Revolution had an extended period where they were playing up a man. Unlike their match against the Chicago Fire, the Revs made the most of the advantage, scoring two stoppage time goals to down Sporting KC 2-0.
Aurelien Collin was shown his first MLS red card since 2011 in the 74th minute when he went studs up on Diego Fagundez. The card didn't seem to affect the visitors much as they continued to attack and even had a decent chance on goal when Benny Feilhaber shot wide in the 77th minute.
The Revs found a way to break the deadlock in the 92nd minute when Teal Bunbury punished his former club. Bunbury, who was operating as a winger, touched the ball over the goal line after goalkeeper Eric Kronberg misplayed Fagundez's cross. The goal was the first of Bunbury's tenure with the Revs.
"Definitely a lot of emotions, but most importantly I'm just excited that we were able to get a win," Bunbury commented. "Our performance from the first minute to the last minute I thought was world class. Everybody was fighting, everybody was putting pressure on them. And it feels good to beat the former champs. It feels to get my first goal."
The Revs added an insurance goal minutes later from the penalty spot. Fagundez was once again the instigator as he forced a handball from Oriol Rosell. The teenager looked anxious to step up to the spot, but the head coach Jay Heaps selected designated penalty kick taker Lee Nguyen. Nguyen left Kronberg motionless as he put his shot to the right of the goalkeeper.
"They looked over to me and I always give them the signal as to who is taking it," Heaps stated. "Lee Nguyen's been taking them all year really well. I think in a different score line maybe we give it to a different kicker but tonight, 1-0 match in the 90th minute we're giving it to our natural PK taker."
While the stoppage time antics will surely occupy the headlines, both teams had opportunities throughout the game.
The Revs had their first chance of the game in the 6th minute after Diego Fagundez stole the ball at midfield. The teenager offered a leading pass to Daigo Kobayashi, who had his shot blocked by Collin.
The Revolution was once again on the attack in the 13th minute as Nguyen's chip put Jerry Bengtson alone with Kronberg. Bengtson, who was making his first start of the season, was unable to put his shot on frame and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Bunbury had chances in the 21st and 32nd minutes to score against his former team. The first chance was presented when Chris Tierney offered a cross from the left flank. The ball fell to Bunbury on the opposite side, but the ensuing shot was blocked by Matt Besler.
Bunbury's second opportunity came after Kronberg swatted away Tierney's cross. The ball reached Bunbury, whose left-footed effort was denied by the goalkeeper.
The first half ended with a yellow card and a substitution. Sporting KC debutant Toni was carded in the 41st minute for stepping on AJ Soares. Toni would soon exit the field with a stomach issue as Alex Martinez was introduced in the 44th minute.
The hard fouls continued on the other side of the break as Soares and Sal Zizzo collided soon after the opening kick. Nguyen earned a yellow card in the 47th minute for a late tackle.
Both teams used their bench during the early stages of the second half. In the 55th minute, Jacob Peterson replaced Zizzo, who apparently sustained a groin injury. Two minutes later, Jay Heaps inserted Charlie Davies for Bengtson. The move was meant to be a tactical switch for the home side.
"[Bengtson] always finds one chance a game, no matter if he plays for 30 minutes or 90 minutes," Heaps stated. "That was something we were hoping for, to get on that first goal right away. I think he worked pretty hard. I want a little bit more from him tactically in shielding. Bringing in Charlie, he did."
Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made his first save of the game in the 59th minute. After a series of passes near the Revolution box, Martinez fired a low shot that was denied by Shuttleworth. The resulting corner kick offered Martinez with a chance at redemption, but the Uruguayan put his shot wide.
The save would be Shuttleworth's only one of the night as the Revs improved their home record to 2-0-1 which includes a home shutout streak of 270 minutes. The shutout and late goals were signs of an improved performance after last week's 1-1 draw against the Fire.
"Coming off a red card last week, we felt we didn't leave it all on the table to get the three points," Heaps said. "I think tonight-it's funny how we have another chance at it-and looked like we were more aggressive in getting the goal."
With the win, the Revs improve to 3-3-2 (11 points), while Sporting maintain a record of 3-2-2 (11 points). The Revolution will travel to Toronto next week for a 1 pm showdown with their northern neighbors.