New England Soccer Today

Revs Fall To Kansas City

Dimitry Imbongo made his first start for the Revs in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to KC and spurned the club’s best opportunity to equalize in the 49th minute. (Photo: Walter Silva)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Teal Bunbury gave Sporting Kansas City an early lead and the New England Revolution rarely threatened to equalize as they fell 1-0 at Gillette Stadium in front of 17,592 on Saturday night. The MLS match was the second in a doubleheader that also featured a friendly between Italian club AC Milan and Honduran club CD Olimpia.

Just 20 minutes into the match Bunbury picked off an errant header by Revs midfielder Clyde Simms and ran in on goal before slotting past Matt Reis to open the scoring. The Revs were never able to recover.

“It was a poor throw-in to a poor touch to a poor pass to a poor defensive play to nothing Matt Reis could do,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “It was just one of those plays where it was a bad decision to where the throw-in was made, to where it went, and unfortunately we’ve been punished all year for our mistakes and that’s exactly what happened tonight.”

The loss leaves the Revs (6-11-5, 23 points) winless in their last five and stuck in ninth place in the Eastern Conference  – 12 points out of the fifth and final playoff spot. Kansas City (12-7-4, 40 points), meanwhile, ended a three game winless run of their own with the win and is now tied with Houston Dynamo (11-5-7, 40 points) for first place in the East.

The Revs made three changes to the lineup – two forced – for the team’s first match since captain Shalrie Joseph was traded to Chivas USA. Out of the starting eleven that lost 2-1 to the Philadelphia Union on Sunday were defenders Kevin Alston (left hamstring soreness) and AJ Soares (right hamstring strain) and midfielder Kelyn Rowe, replaced by Flo Lechner, Darrius Barnes and Dimitry Imbongo, respectively. Imbongo started up top with fellow Frenchman Saer Sene, while Ryan Guy moved back to right midfield in Rowe’s place.

A lackluster start – perhaps caused in part by an emotional lead-up to the match with the transfer of longtime captain Joseph – saw the Revs on the back foot early. Just three minutes into the match Teal Bunbury forced Reis to tip a powerful shot out for a corner.

Still, the Revs had a chance to get the first goal in the ninth minute as Sene looked to add to his nine goals on the season. Lechner once again showed his ability to put in a dangerous cross from the right flank, finding the 6-foot-3 striker, but his header went wide under pressure.

Bunbury then opened the scoring for the visitors in 20th minute after intercepting a headed back pass from Simms. The 22 year old forward dribbled into the left side of the box and beat Reis inside the far post to put the visitors up 1-0.

“That was definitely my fault,” said Simms. “On a normal grass field, I feel like the ball doesn’t bounce that high … I tried to head it back to (Stephen McCarthy) and couldn’t get enough on it. (Bunbury) did a good job of reading it and getting there first and they definitely capitalized.”

The teams went into the half with Sporting up 1-0 and the Revs looking unlikely to find their way back. Kansas City was able to effectively disrupt the Revs offense by clogging the midfield and committing timely fouls. Sporting out-fouled the Revs nine to three in the first half and 21 to 12 overall.

“I felt like every time we got around the ball there was a foul,” said Heaps. “Just a disruptive game all the way around.”

“They’re a big physical team and that’s the way they play every single game,” said Simms. “They commit a lot of numbers forward and that’s part of their philosophy. They have to foul in certain spots because they have so many guys forward and they’re susceptible to the counter.”

Imbongo, making his first start since signing for the team last month, had the Revs best chance to equalize in the 49th minute after Chris Tierney’s cross found him wide open about eight yards from the box.  With no defensive pressure, Imbongo sent his header just high of the net.

Kansas City then had a chance to add to the lead in the 69th minute after Kei Kamara broke down the left flank. Kamara found Bunbury in the box, who turned on his defender, but couldn’t get enough power on the shot to beat Reis.

Tierney had one last chance to equalize for the Revs in the 86th minute after a long cross from Guy found the Wellesley, Mass. native at the top of the box. Tierney hit a low shot on frame, but Sporting ‘keeper Jimmy Nielsen was equal to the task.

From there the Revs were unable to take advantage of four minutes of stoppage time to create any dangerous chances.

“We’re all disappointed, said Tierney. “There’s nothing really to say at this point. It was a sub-par performance all around. We didn’t create too many chances and the few that we did we couldn’t put away. So it’s disappointing. At home we expect three points and we didn’t get it.”

New England returns to action on Sunday, August 12, against the Montreal Impact at 7 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.


  1. weefuse

    August 5, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Listless, impotent, emotionless, disorganized, and soft are just a few words to describe tonight’s “effort.” No leadership from “captain” Clyde Simms, Benny Feilhaber too busy being “Benny Feilhaber,” New Guy Imbongo needs to stay on his feet and keep playing rather than trying to draw fouls for incidental contact, Lechner looked lost and was lucky he wasn’t subbed out BEFORE halftime, Sene putting the little service he got high and wide, and I left the stadium still wondering why Cardenas was ever signed by the club- great ball skills leading to…nothing…ever. I’d have nothing bad to say if they’d played like they cared, but they didn’t.

  2. Jim

    August 5, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Another abysmal performance. Total lack of chance creation. Although I’m sure that if they had created more chances Sene and Imbongo would have blown them all. Couple that with KC’s playing style and you have yourself one boring game.

    What is Simms talking about blaming his back pass on the turf? ‘on a grass field’?? Bro, you have played on this field like 11 times this year. Figure out the surface conditions!

    A 1-0 loss to a top team isn’t the worst thing that can happen. But I’m amazed at how much the Revs have fallen off. We are going to be almost exactly where we were last year at this rate unless Bengston saves this club… Oh well, better draft pick next year, I suppose!

  3. rick sewall

    August 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Weefus and Jim have hit the nail on the head. I can only add that Guy is not a right midfielder-winger. With this personnel Sene should be at right wing, Imbongo at center forward, Benny behind them playing like Ronald DeBoer, Guy playing a running area to area midfielder. Although one can blame the turf in part, the Rev possession game sure was bad. Boy did Imbongo blow a shot in the first half . Has he a clue? Heaps has got to lay off the ref and concentrate on coaching his team. Toward the end of the game he didn’t look too good.Yelling at the ref is contagious and is often used as an excuse at least in part,for a loss . It can become a team habit.

    • Brian

      August 5, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Based upon what has been seen this year, is there any reason to believe Heaps belongs in the coaching role? Despite an increase in the overall talent are we much better than last year? Certainly more entertaining… I do not know if he should be back.

      On a related note, when is it time for him to build for the future, with percentage chance of qualifying for playoffs approaching tenth of perecentage points? Burns acknowledged it with the Shalrie trade, shouldn’t we be now maximizing playing time for the future, Diego, Rowe, maybe another homegrown signing and playing for the rest of the year? Releasing others that are not in this line…

      Any thoughts?

      • Sean Donahue

        August 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

        Nicol didn’t do that last year even when they were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. To me, once the games truly become meaningless — and it’s getting close now — the only positive you can take is getting some of the younger guys needed experience. I’m interested to see if Heaps approaches things differently.

  4. rick sewall

    August 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    If I was the Rev coach I would do as you suggest- go with the young and talented players. Also, the staff should slow practices down so they, the players, can learn something. I know the current staff tries to create a game like intensity in practices, which is fine, but, in my opinion, the downside of this type of practice is that it inhibits learning. Who knows, I’m probably wrong. The placement of players on the field to maximize effectiveness is very much an art. I think Heaps has and will make mistakes,or moves I disagree with {ha ha]. Anyway, he is a bright guy who very well may grow into the job. I hope he knows that the morale or attitude of a given team can go sour in a heartbeat. Just ask Thomas Rongen when he was Rev coach in the late 90’s. Heaps has, also, got to lay off the referees. I wish someone on the staff knew how to teach shooting and would take the time to do it.

  5. rick sewall

    August 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    It’s a shame some teams have to play meaningless games at season’s end. The institution of promotion-relegation would do a lot to solve this pretty serious problem.

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