New England Soccer Today

Gone With the Wind

Both sides struggled to get anything going offensively in Benny Feilhaber's return to Foxboro. (Photo: Chris Aduama/

Both sides struggled to get anything going offensively in Benny Feilhaber’s return to Foxboro. (Photo: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The only winner at Gillette Stadium on Saturday afternoon was the wind as the New England Revolution and Sporting Kansas City played to disjointed scoreless draw in front of 12,215 in the Revolution’s home opener.

The Revolution failed to register a shot on goal and couldn’t even muster a shot until a 77th minute, while Sporting, despite an anemic offensive performance of their own, managed five shots on frame. Both teams struggled mightily to connect on passes with the heavy wind gusts up to 28 miles per hour playing a key role – New England connected on just 58.5% of their passes, while Kansas City connected on only 56.6%.

“It was a tough game all the way around,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “It certainly wasn’t going to go down as the prettiest soccer game ever played. There was a good fight from our guys – I was real excited with the way we approached the match – but in the end we didn’t get enough chances, we weren’t good enough on our set pieces… but in terms of defending and fighting and making sure we made it a battle, we did that.”

Veteran ‘keeper Matt Reis would prove the hero of the night for the Revolution, preserving the shutout with a key save after Claudio Bieler got behind the defense in the 73rd minute off a long ball. Reis would make four saves in the math.

The draw leaves New England (1-1-1, 4 points) temporarily tied for fifth place in the East, with Kansas City (1-1-2, 5 points) one place ahead of them. The scoreless draw left the Revolution without a goal in their last 412 minutes of action against Kansas City, dating back to a 1-1 draw on July 30, 2011.

“The way that [Kansas City] plays, they do a very good job of disrupting their opponents, so it’s tough to play against them,” said Revolution rookie Scott Caldwell, a Braintree native who made his home debut in the match. “I thought we did a good enough job. We created a few chances and did alright.”

New England also extended their current 2013 season scoreless run to 208 minutes.

Heaps made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 at Philadelphia last week. Reis returned from injury to start in goal and Chad Barrett replaced Jerry Bengtson – who was with Honduras for World Cup qualifying – at forward.

After a quiet opening 15 minutes, Kansas City had the game’s first shot when Soony Saad found some space down the left flank. Saad sent a low pass to C.J. Sapong in the box, but the 24 year-old hammered his shot wide of the net.

The visitors came close to taking the lead in the 19th minute after a Seth Sinovic long throw fell to Sapong in the box. Sapong blasted a shot towards goal, but Cylde Simms slid in to deflect it off the crossbar. The Revolution failed to properly clear the shot and it fell to former Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber who put a shot on frame from inside the box, but it was saved by well-positioned Reis.

Those three chances were all the first half had for legitimate goal scoring opportunities as neither team could find a way to adjust to the wind. The second half wasn’t much better, as neither team had a truly dangerous chance until halfway through the final 45.

“[The conditions] were difficult,” said Caldwell. “Some of the more difficult conditions I’ve played in, maybe not as bad as the U.S. game last night, but they were tough.”

Kansas City came closest to scoring in the 73rd minute when Bieler got behind the defense to get on the end of a long ball. Bieler ran in on goal and tried to chip the ball over an onrushing Reis, but the Revolution ‘keeper managed to block the shot.

“It was kind of a bouncing ball so I knew [Bieler] was probably going to try and go over me,” said Reis. “I just tried to time it, so that I could have a play on it once he kicked it. Once [the rebound] came back out, I just tried to put a little more pressure on him to go backwards and everyone else filled in.”

Juan Toja finally had the Revolution’s first shot on 77th minute after the team earned a dangerous free kick just outside the box. Toja curled a shot towards goal, but his effort was just high of the net.

Sporting had another opportunity in the 84th minute when Feilhaber found Ike Opara in the box on a corner kick. Opara powered a header towards goal, but saw his effort curl just wide of the post.

Neither team could get anything going offensively from then on as the wind had its way and the match ended in a scoreless draw.

“We knew it was going to be a dogfight, especially with the wind,” said forwardChad Barrett, who made his first start for the Revolution. “There was like 25 mile per hour winds. It’s just very tough to play in that. We had some chances, had some handball shouts, had some things go unnoticed. That’s just the way it was today.”

The Revolution remain at home next weekend, facing off against FC Dallas on Saturday, March 30, at Gillette Stadium at 4 p.m. ET.


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