The New England Revolution are surging to the MLS playoffs, boosted by Friday night’s 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park, in Kansas City, Kan. for a sold-out crowd of 19,522. Designated player Jermaine Jones scored the game winner and his first MLS goal in the 85th minute to deliver the win.
New England (14-13-3, 45 pts.) now stand second in the Eastern Conference and sixth overall. Sporting Kansas City: (13-11-6, 45 pts.) remain in playoff contention in the third spot in the East and seventh across MLS. This was New England’s first-ever win at Sporting Park and they swept the three-game series this season.
Revolution head coach Jay Heaps started Kevin Alston for injured A.J. Soares and paired Andrew Farrell at center back with Jose Goncalves. Heaps positioned returning Chris Tierney at left back for his first start since July 26, when he was injured. This was the first time that this quartet of defenders started together, making it the eighth different starting back four this season.
Teal Bunbury returned to the starting lineup after a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. Diego Fagundez was an unused substitute and this was the first regular-season game in which he didn’t play this year.
Kelyn Rowe, assisted by Alston and Bunbury, put the Revolution ahead 1-0 in the 21st minute. It was his fourth goal of the season and he scored all four in the last 10 games. Rowe is now tied with Bunbury and Patrick Mullins for third in goals, trailing only Lee Nguyen (13) and Fagundez (5).
In the 35th minute, Goncalves trotted straight down the middle of the field, unmarked by Sporting KC, and put it away to make it 2-0. New England held the advantage till the half, but Sporting KC came out of the break with a plan and found holes in the visitors’ defense. Paulo Nagamura scored in the 54th minute and two minutes later, Dom Dwyer scored his 20th goal of the season to equalize 2-2.
Jones scored the game-winner in the 85th minute, beating Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg from 30 yards out for his first-ever MLS goal. Nguyen recorded his fifth assist of the season on that goal and is now tied with Bunbury and Rowe for the team-lead.
“I’ve seen [Jones] shoot those before,” said Heaps. “If you give him a little bit of space, he’s going to rocket it. I was just happy he got his first goal here, a game winner, in a tight game with huge playoff implications. It’s huge.”
Daigo Kobayashi was shown his fourth yellow card of the season and is now one caution away from a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. Tierney was not booked by the ref, so that he has had one card expunged from his record and is no longer on yellow card warning.
The Revolution return home to face the Columbus Crew on Saturday, October 4 at Gillette Stadium. That game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet. Tickets start at $25 and are available through Ticketmaster outlets and the Revolution Box Office at (877) GET-REVS (438-7387)
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NE – Kelyn Rowe 4 (Kevin Alston 2, Teal Bunbury 5) 21’
NE – Jose Goncalves 1 (Unassisted) 35’
SKC – Paulo Nagamura 2 (Kevin Ellis 2) 54’
SKC – Dom Dwyer 20 (Paulo Nagamura 3, Antonio Dovale 3) 56’
NE – Jermaine Jones 1 (Lee Nguyen 5) 85’
NE – Daigo Kobayashi (Yellow Card) 8’
SKC – Jorge Claros (Yellow Card) 39’
SKC – Graham Zusi (Yellow Card) 61’
NE – Jose Goncalves (Yellow Card) 89’
SKC – Matt Besler (Yellow Card) 90’
NE – Charlie Davies (Yellow Card) 94+
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth; Kevin Alston, Jose Goncalves ©, Andrew Farrell, Chris Tierney; Daigo Kobayashi (Scott Caldwell 65’), Jermaine Jones; Teal Bunbury (Steve Neumann 80’), Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe (Darrius Barnes 92+); Charlie Davies
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Diego Fagundez, Tony Taylor, Patrick Mullins
STATS: Shots 11, Shots on target 5, Saves 4, Corner kicks 2, Offsides 2, Fouls 9, Possession 36.5%, Passes 268 (60.1%)
Sporting Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Igor Juliao, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler ©, Seth Sinovic; Jorge Claros, Paulo Nagamura (C.J. Sapong 91+), Benny Feilhaber; Antonio Dovale (Soony Saad 61’), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi.
Substitutes Not Used: Andy Gruenebaum, Erik Palmer-Brown, Mikey Lopez, Jimmy Medranda, Claudio Bieler
STATS: Shots 15, Shots on target 6, Saves 2, Corner kicks 7, Offsides 3, Fouls 12, Possession 63.5%, Passes 463 (75.8%)
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Sean Hurd (AR1) and Jonathan Johnson (AR2)
Fourth Official: Edvin Jurisevic