Jay Heaps trotted out a strong starting lineup that featured a few wrinkles to accommodate missing or unavailable players like Juan Agudelo, who returned to Boston after international duty, and Xavier Kouassi and Benjamin Angoua who have yet to see preseason game minutes while recovering from injuries.
#NERevs lineup vs. Sporting KC: Cropper; Tierney, J. Smith, Delamea, Farrell; Fagundez, Caldwell, Rowe, Kobayashi; Nguyen, Kamara— NewEnglandRevolution (@NERevolution) February 7, 2017
Lee Nguyen started up top as a striker next to Kei Kamara, 4th round rookie draft pick Joshua Smith started at centerback in place of Angoua and Daigo Kobayashi filled the extra role in the midfield. It was Smith however who had the biggest impact to start the game.
Playing with arguably the other three starters in defense for New England, it was Smith who found himself nearly unmarked in the penalty area to nod home the opening goal from a Chris Tierney free kick. The unsigned draft pick certainly took advantage of a big opportunity with the veteran Revs lineup with that goal.
Cody Cropper notched a few saves before giving way to Brad Knighton in the 36th minute. Kei Kamara hit the woodwork off another Tierney cross in the 28th but made no mistake right before halftime when he doubled the Revs lead with his third goal in as many preseason games. Nguyen and Kobayashi were credited with the buildup play leading to the second goal.
Joshua Smith subbed out for trialist centerback Jeremie Sabaly at halftime before mass subs late in the second half gave the Revs backline a very new look. Two additional unsigned players fullbacks Tyler Turner and Otis Earle along with Je-Vaughn Watson rounded out the backline with Sabaly and Bobby Shuttleworth in goal. This group allowed a consolation goal to SKC’s Nansel Selbol, a 19-year old SKC academy alumni who featured for SKC’s USL team Swope Park Rangers last year.
Another name that has been popping up constantly for the Revs is Tristan Bowen. The former Chivas USA striker is having a strong preseason. Bowen had a chance smothered in the 73rd minute before nearly assisting Diego Fagundez in the 83rd only to have another chance blocked away by the SKC defense. Zachary Herivaux has had several well placed passes to spring his teammates into the final third including one to Bowen in the buildup of the Fagundez chance.
The New England Revolution will return home for a week before returning to Arizona for the 2017 Desert Diamond Cup which begins Saturday, February 18th. The Revs are the defending champions of the preseason tournament and will play the Colorado Rapids in their opening match at 1pm MT/3pm ET.