New England Soccer Today

Revolution defeat SKC

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Benny Feilhaber and Rajko Lekic both impressed on their Gillette Stadium debuts as the Revolution rallied for a 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City in front of a crowd of 11,414 on Saturday night.

Rajko Lekic scored his first career MLS goal on Saturday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

Feilhaber set up the opening score, laying off a ball to Marko Perovic who pounded a first time shot into the back of the net.  Kei Kamara equalized for Kansas City two minutes later and then gave his side the lead midway through the second half by converting a 69th minute penalty kick.  Shalrie Joseph leveled the match again before Lekic scored the game winner in the 83rd minute off a Zak Boggs cross.

The Revolution (2-2-3, 9 points) entered the game without having won since March 26 and without having scored since April 6.  Kansas City (1-3-1, 4 points) were also looking for their second win of the season and for a forward to step in for Mexican international Omar Bravo, who did not make the trip to New England due to a sports hernia.

“We made chances,” said Steve Nicol.  “We haven’t made chances and we haven’t scored goals.  We should be happy we got three.  So if we make more chances, we’ll score more goals.”

Kamara filled in forcefully for Bravo, scoring both of Kansas City’s goals.  But Kansas City greatly benefited from the Revolution’s inconsistent play in midfield.  With Feilhaber starting in his first game and Lekic only his second, communication was an issue with the Revolution for parts of the match.

“I hung in there for 90 minutes,” said Feilhaber, who flew to Boston from Copenhagen on Thursday.  “I’m satisfied with my performance and the team’s.  For me, it will only get better.  I’ll get fitter and start playing better.”

Steve Nicol employed a 4-4-2 formation and put Feilhaber alongside Stephen McCarthy.  Joseph pushed up and joined Lekic as a forward while Zak Boggs and Perovic worked the wings.  Feilhaber was dangerous throughout the match, serving dangerous passes behind the Kansas City defense though Sporting’s midfield looked more dangerous in the first half.

The Revs opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Feilhaber collected a deflected pass from Lekic and sent it back to Perovic. The Serbian midfielder powered a shot past goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen that landed just inside the near post.

“I had the opportunity to get close to the box,” said Feilhaber of his assist on Perovic’s goal.  “It came right to me.  I was ready to shoot but I had to take a step.  The defender ran toward me and I saw [Perovic] sitting at the top of the box and I just slipped it to him and he banged it in.”

Kansas City immediately responded by stealing possession in midfield and sending players into the attack.  Teal Bunbury played Kamara who cut past Didier Domi and fired a low drive past Matt Reis for the equalizer less than two minutes after the Revs had taken the lead..

“To get a goal so quickly was huge for them,” said Nicol.  “It took the wind out of our sails and the crowd.”

Then referee Edvin Jurisevic’s involvement in the second half began to shape the game.  Lekic was dragged down in the penalty area in the 52nd minute but Jurisevic waved away the Revolution’s protests for a penalty kick.

But in the 68th minute, Kevin Alston was whistled for a foul against Bunbury in the box and Jurisevic awarded the penalty kick.  Kamara converted the penalty, firing hard to the left, beating Reis for the second time.

The Revolution were able to respond quickly, Shalrie Joseph heading in a Kenny Mansally freekick in the 72nd minute for his third score of the season.

“We didn’t put our heads down,” said Joseph.  “We took the game to them.  Mansally served a great ball in and put it in such a dangerous place.  All I had to do was get to it.  I got enough on it to get it in.”

“[Joseph] does it and that’s why he’s captain,” said Reis.  “[Nicol] talks about getting good balls in the box and we did.  We got a great ball in there and he put it away.

Jurisevic then ejected Kansas City defender Aurelian Collin in the 75th minute for pushing Feilhaber in New England’s penalty area.  The booking forced Kansas City, who had been tightly marking Revolution midfielders and forwards, to be more stretched defensively.

Boggs found himself wide open on the wing and served a ball into the box in the 83rd minute.  Lekic’s head connected on the service, sending the ball past an outstretched Jimmy Nielsen for the game winning goal and Lekic’s first career MLS strike.

“I felt like I was in heaven,” said Lekic.  “It was like a dream.  When I saw the goal I was very happy.  It was my second game so still it takes two or three games to get to know each other.”

“His header was fantastic,” said Nicol.  “That was just a pure striker’s finish.  Let’s hope there’s many more.”

The win marks the first time this season the Revs have scored three goals in a match.

“It’s great that we fought back,” said Reis.  “The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together and you can see what we can do.  It’s just a matter of getting on the same page.  You can see that everything is falling into place.

“At home we have to get three points,” Reis added. “Whether it’s the way we did it tonight or some other way.  So job well done.”

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