FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution scored twice in stoppage time to defeat defending MLS Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City 2-0 in front of 14,806 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. After the Revolution gained a late man advantage, Teal Bunbury scored his first goal of the season in the 92nd minute and Lee Nguyen got his third of the year in the 95th minute from the penalty spot as the Revolution took control after gaining a man advantage to grab three points.
“It was big for all of us,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “It was a big moment. Coming off the red card last week we didn’t get the three points. It’s funny you get another chance at it and we were more aggressive to get the goal.”
Aurelien Collin’s 74th minute red carded handed the Revolution a man advantage and the home side made Kansas City pay in the 92nd minute when Bunbury finished off a Diego Fagundez cross after Darrius Barnes’ diving flicked the ball past goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, giving Bunbury an open net to shoot at.
New England then doubled the lead after earning a penalty kick when Oriol Rosell used his arms to deny Diego Fagundez’s attempt to score on a header with Kronberg out of position. Nguyen made no mistake, slotting it into the lower corner to give the Revolution a 2-0 lead.
“It was huge,” said Nguyen. “We had a little talk after the game last week: having to finish teams off [when you get a man advantage], Jay said it well. Today we had another chance to do that and we did it.”
The win sees the Revolution (3-3-2, 11 points) move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, tied on points with second place Sporting Kansas City (3-2-2, 11 points), third place D.C. United, and fifth place New York (2-2-5, 11 points). New England is behind Sporting and D.C. based on the goal differential tiebreaker, but ahead of New York on wins.
Heaps made two changes – both forced – to the line-up that tied 1-1 with the Chicago Fire last week. Chris Tierney replaced the suspended Kevin Alston, while Jerry Bengtson started at striker and Bunbury played on the right wing in place of Saer Sene, who was excused from the team this week due to personal reasons.
New England’s first chance came in the 6th minute when Fagundez broke forward down the left flank. Fagundez cut inside and broke into the box, before playing a pass to Nguyen to his left. Nguyen attempted a quick shot, but the play was too slow developing and Collin got back to block the shot.
Bengtson then had the best early chance in the 14th minute when Nguyen played a pass over the defense and the Honduran international beat the offside trap. One-on-one with Sporting Kronberg, Bengtson attempted to slot a shot inside the far post, but missed the target from close range.
Kansas City’s best opportunity of the first period came in the 26th minute after the Revolution was stretched defensively. Sporting worked the ball to Benny Feilhaber at the top of the box, who found a wide open Sal Zizzo on the right side of the box. Zizzo blasted his shot well over the bar.
Tierney then led a Revolution attack in the 32nd minute, charging forward down the left flank. Tierney sent in an early long cross that troubled Kronberg, who could only punch it back into the box. The ball fell to Bunbury who cut around his defender and then hit a shot on frame that Kronberg pushed high of the net.
The sides went into halftime at nil-nil and neither team created much early until Sporting threatened in the 59th minute. The visitors again found a stretched Revolution defense and Oriol Rosell found an open Alex Martinez in the right side of the box. Martinez hit a shot towards the near post, but Bobby Shuttleworth was able to tip it wide for a corner kick.
The Revolution gained a man advantage in the 74th minute when Collin slid in late on Fagundez and received a straight red card from referee Alan Kelly. New England completely botched the free kick opportunity, however, leading to a Kansas City counterattack where Sporting had a 4-on-3 break, despite the man disadvantage and worked a fantastic chance for Feilhaber. The former Revolution midfielder blasted his shot wide from close range.
“[Collin] got me pretty good,” said Fagundez. “I don’t know if it was a red or a yellow, I really don’t know because I didn’t see the replay. I was trying to avoid it and I got hit with it and referee thought it was a red card so they went down a man.”
The Revolution struggled to make the most of the advantage early, but eventually found the net in the 92nd minute when Fagundez’s cross from the right flank eluded Kronberg after a diving header from Barnes and found Bunbury who directed it into the empty goal. The goal was the first for Bunbury since joining the Revolution from Kansas City in a trade this preseason.
“Definitely a lot of emotions, but most importantly I’m just excited that we were able to get a win,” said Bunbury. “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 good to get my first goal, and that’s really what I’m happy about. Yeah it’s great, my old club and all that, but to be honest with you the performance of the whole squad was unbelievable.”
Nguyen then finished off the game after Fagundez earned the Revolution a penalty kick when Rossell denied his headed shot with his hands in the box. Nguyen coolly finished into the lower corner for his third goal of season.
“I saw an opening near post and then the ‘keeper closed up very good,” said Fagundez. “The only thing I had was a chip and when I chipped it, the ball lobbed up and I was trying to go for the goal and handball, what else can you say?”
“It was a statement that Jay and we all wanted to make, to make this our home fortress, to make it a hard place to come to,” said Nguyen. “I think so far we’ve done and now we’ve just got to keep it going. I think today helped us with our confidence going forward.”
The Revolution returns to action on Saturday, May 3, at 1 p.m. ET with a trip to face a much improved Toronto FC side featuring England International Jermain Defoe and U.S. International Michael Bradley.