New England Soccer Today

A Sporting Chance

Chris Tierney's return from suspension should allow A.J. Soares (pictured) to move back to his natural center back position. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

A breakdown in midfield caused the Revolution to lose their season opener against San Jose last weekend. The midfield will need to be a lot more disciplined on Saturday night when the Revolution take on Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park at 8:30 P.M.

San Jose didn’t generate many scoring opportunities, skating out of the opener with just a 1-0 win over the Revolution. But the Revolution will have to expect Kansas City, who finished 2011 with the best offensive record in the Eastern Conference, to punish them for the kinds of possession and positioning errors made against San Jose.

Coach Peter Vermes was able to keep most of Kansas City’s attacking core intact over the offseason, while also bolstering the squad with a few key signings. Among such important role players is Bobby Convey, a 2006 World Cup veteran with a history of assisting and scoring from the flank and off set pieces. Then, there is Kansas City’s potent strike force.

Kansas City’s Kei Kamara and CJ Sapong is a young, yet lethal combination at forward. Kamara has a history of scoring goals against the Revolution, having scored twice against them last season. Meanwhile, Sapong, entering his sophomore season, spent the offseason training with the U.S. National Team and opened up his scoring account last weekend in a 1-0 victory over DC United. Not bad for a team that is missing 22-year-old striker Teal Bunbury to international duty with the U.S. Olympic Soccer Team.

The Revolution are still searching for their identity, a major weakness against Kansas City, who are arguably the most well-rounded team in the league. The fact that Kansas City also lost just twice at Livestrong Sporting Park last season shows that getting a positive result will be a difficult task for the Revolution to accomplish.

“It’s definitely a tough team to play,” AJ Soares told of Sporting KC. “They showed why they finished so high in the league last year.

The Revolution do have some pieces in place. Chris Tierney is expected to return at left flank after serving a one-game suspension, meaning that AJ Soares could be free to return to his natural spot in central defense. Saer Sene, who is listed as probable on the Revolution’s latest injury report, could also feature, adding a dynamic target-forward that was absent last week against San Jose.

Question will continue to arise over the Revolution’s forwards and defenders, especially since they’re the areas on the field that experienced the most turnover during the offseason. On paper, Revolution coach Jay Heaps has a solid group of midfielders. But against San Jose, the four-man midfield comprised of Shalrie Joseph, Clyde Simms, Benny Feilhaber, and Kelyn Rowe played like strangers.

The Revolution will need a more possession-oriented and attack-minded approach on Saturday night if they want to get a result.

“We have to hit them with our weapons,” Soares told “We have some really good players. They’re going to be worried about Benny [Feilhaber] just like we’re worried about some of their guys. They’re going to be worried about Kelyn [Rowe]. They have the same problem coming into the game that we do; you have to watch out for the good players.”


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