Sporting KC records ninth shutout of season in 0-0 draw against New England Revolution

Jimmy Nielsen records 26th career regular season clean sheet

Zusi New England Revolution - DL

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 19,080 (sold out)
Weather: Sunny and 99 degrees
Video: Match Highlights
Quotes

Score                                                              1          2          F

Sporting Kansas City (11-6-4, 37 pts)           0          0          0

New England Revolution (6-9-5, 23 pts)       0          0          0

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Michael Harrington (Lawrence Olum 98+), Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Graham Zusi, Jacob Peterson; Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong (Soony Saad 87), Bobby Convey (Michael Thomas 70)

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Neven Markovic, Julio Cesar, Teal Bunbury

New England Revolution: Matt Reis; Darrius Barnes (Fernando Cardenas 58), A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy (Blake Brettschneider 78), Kevin Alston; Chris Tierney, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph©, Kelyn Rowe (Saer Sene 58); Ryan Guy, Lee Nguyen

Subs not used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Flo Lechner, Sainey Nyassi, Diego Fagundez

Stats:                                      KC     NE

Shots                           16        9

Shots on Goal             6          3

Saves                           3          6

Fouls                           12        7

Offside                        3          1

Corner Kicks               4          1

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Darrius Barnes (caution; reckless foul) 47
KC – Michael Harrington (caution; reckless tackle) 50
KC – Matt Besler (caution; reckless foul) 66

Scoring Summary:

None

Sporting Kansas City drew 0-0 with the New England Revolution in front of a sold out crowd on Saturday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Sporting KC are now in second place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the New York Red Bulls. 

Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded his ninth shutout of the season, most in MLS in 2012, and 26th clean sheet of his career, the second most in MLS since 2010. Nielsen, along with Sporting KC teammates Aurelien Collin and Graham Zusi, will depart on Sunday for the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game against European champions Chelsea FC on Wednesday in Philadelphia.

It was New England with the first chance of the match in the fifth minute when Ryan Guy struck from 18 yards out, forcing Nielsen to punch the ball out of harm’s way. The Revolution nearly netted a goal 10 minutes later when Guy received a corner kick from Lee Nguyen and struck the ball expertly with a diving header only to be denied by a spectacular save from Nielsen.



Sporting KC’s first chance didn’t come until the 21st minute when a cross serviced in by Bobby Convey, making his first start since May 19, was pinballed around the box until Jacob Peterson settled it and took a right-footed volley from 35 yards, nearly grazing the far right post. Sporting Kansas City took another shot from distance seven minutes later, this time from Zusi, who took a controlled shot outside of the box only to find goalkeeper Matt Reis’ gloves. 



The home side had claims for a penalty kick in the 45th minute after Peterson received a pass from Seth Sinovic on the left side of the penalty area.  Kevin Alston's challenge left both players on the ground, but no foul was given and the teams entered halftime deadlocked in a scoreless draw.



The second half began with a flurry of chances for Sporting Kansas City. Peterson put Reis to the test in the 52nd minute when he received a pass from Michael Harrington, playing his 150th MLS match, and made a diving goal-bound header, but Reis was there for the save. 



The Revolution responded eight minutes later when Tierney made a low cross from the left flank in to second-half substitute Saer Sene, who settled it with one touch and took a shot, but was wide of the left post. 


The 60th minute began a string of chances for Sporting KC, instigated by Harrington on the right. His cross was met by Kamara inside the penalty area but his header bounced into the ground and then the arms of Reis. Only 30 seconds later, Harrington made a run down the right flank and crossed into the box, searching for Peterson, but he couldn’t get clear of New England’s defense.  



In the 64th minute, Kamara and Peterson played a quick give-and-go in New England’s end, with Kamara gaining enough space to shoot from 15 yards out, sending the attempt just wide of the right post. 


Four minutes later, Convey looked to notch his second goal of the season when he took a bold shot from 40 yards out, drawing Reis off his line to chase out the shot that curled wide. 



The visitors began to push back in the 80th minute, beginning with a cross from Sene on the left into Fernando Cardenas. The Colombian settled the ball and shot, but was too slow for Nielsen, who caught the ball expectantly. Three minutes later, Tierney made a well-placed cross to Sene at the backpost, only to see the first time volley go wide of the goal. 



In what would be the first of more than 11 minutes of second half stoppage time, Zusi’s corner found the head of Soony Saad, but the looping attempted floated over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Sporting Kansas City drew the crowd to their feet when Zusi blazed down the right flank and crossed to Kamara, His header was struck with pace and on frame but was denied by Reis for his sixth save of the match.  



New England nearly stole three points late when Blake Brettschneider muscled his way past Seth Sinovic and shot from close range, but was blocked by Matt Besler.

Saturday’s match-up was the second of the season between the two Eastern Conference opponents, who will meet again next month at Gillette Stadium for the regular season series finale.

Sporting Kansas City will host French Ligue 1 champions Montpellier Herault SC at 7:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Tickets for the international friendly are available at Ticketmaster.com or at the LSP Box Offices.

FAST FACTS:

  • With the draw, Sporting Kansas City’s record moves to 11-6-4 in 2012 and 6-2-2 at home this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City sits in second place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 136-74-45 at home all-time in regular season and 15-4-8 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in the regular season.
  • Sporting Kansas City has allowed only five goals in 10 regular season home matches this season, the fewest goals conceded at home by an MLS team in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City has conceded 19 goals in 2012, the fewest of all MLS teams. Sporting Kansas City’s 0.90 goals against average is also a League low.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 205-205-104 all-time in MLS regular season play. The team’s 104 draws are most among all MLS clubs in League history.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now 20-13-10 all-time against the New England Revolution in the regular season and 11-6-5 at home in the match-up.
  • Sporting KC is unbeaten in their last seven meetings with the Revolution at home in all competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 5-5-2 against the Eastern Conference in 2012.
  • Saturday’s match marked the second of three meetings between Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution in 2012. The first match between the two sides this season was Sporting Kansas City’s home opener on March 17th, a 3-0 victory for the home side. The final regular season meeting will come on August 4th at Gillette Stadium.
  • Saturday’s temperature was 99 degrees – the second highest temperature for a Sporting KC game this season -- and Sporting KC is 4-4-2 when the conditions are above 75 degrees in 2012.
  • Sporting KC is 11-3-4 when leading or tied at halftime in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 9-5-4 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 0-4-2 in 2012 when being held scoreless.
  • Saturday’s match marked Sporting Kansas City’s second scoreless draw in 2012. It was also the Revolution’s second scoreless draw of the year.
  • Saturday was the first scoreless draw in the series since July 11, 2009.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 10-5-3 on natural grass playing surfaces this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 6-4-2 in the Central Time zone this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 3-1-2 in July in all competition and moves to 37-30-22 all-time in MLS action during the month of July.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 9-4-2 when outshooting an opponent in 2012.
  • Jimmy Nielsen made three saves on Saturday and recorded his ninth shutout of the season on Saturday, the most in MLS this year. The shutout is his 26th career clean sheet in the regular season and is second most in MLS since 2010, behind Nick Rimando.
  • Nielsen now has a 1.09 career goals against average in MLS regular season action, second best in MLS history among goalkeepers with 4,000 minutes played.
  • Kei Kamara attempted four shots on Saturday, giving him 276 in his Sporting KC career and moving him into fourth most on the team’s all-time chart.
  • Kamara leads all MLS players with 82 shots in 2012 and 35 shots on goal.
  • Sporting Kansas City's 331 shots this season are most in MLS.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in all-time shots taken with 6,980.
  • New England Revolution defender Darrius Barnes started his second game of 2012. He also started on Wednesday in the team’s 2-1 loss at Montreal.
  • Sporting Kansas City forward Bobby Convey made his first start since May 19 against the Colorado Rapids, returning from a calf strain.
  • Convey made his 13th Sporting KC appearance & Jacob Peterson made his 16th Sporting KC appearance on Saturday. Theyplayed on the field at the same time for the first time in Sporting KC uniforms and for the first time time since 8/27/11 while both players were with San Jose.
  • Sporting KC leads MLS in corner kicks this season with 128.
  • Sporting Kansas City made three changes to their starting lineup from their 2-1 loss at Houston on Wednesday. Graham Zusi, Bobby Convey and C.J. Sapong replaced Michael Thomas, Peterson Joseph and Teal Bunbury.
  • Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza and New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengston are both with the Honduras Olympic team and missed Saturday’s match.
  • Peterson Joseph missed Saturday’s match after receiving a red card in Sporting Kansas City’s last match against the Houston Dynamo.
  • Michael Harrington started in Wednesday’s match marking his 145th appearance in the regular season for Sporting Kansas City, moving him into sole possession of ninth place on the club’s all-time chart. When including playoff appearances, Saturday’s start also marked Harrington’s 150th all-time appearance in MLS competition. 
  • Saturday’s match marked Peter Vermes 100th MLS match, including playoffs.
  • Matt Besler surpassed 8,000 minutes played in his KC and MLS career, including playoffs. He becomes the second Sporting KC player to pass the 8,000 minutes played barrier in a KC uniform, along with Michael Harrington.
  • Graham Zusi surpassed 5,000 minutes played in the MLS regular season.
  • Aurelien Collin surpassed 4,000 minutes played in his MLS career, including playoffs.
  • Bobby Convey surpassed 15,000 minutes played in his MLS career (including playoffs), most among all active Sporting KC players.
  • Jacob Peterson surpassed 8,000 minutes played in his MLS career, including playoffs.
  • The New England Revolution made just two changes to their starting lineup from their last match, replacing Clyde Simms and Saer Sene with Stephen McCarthy and Sharlie Joseph.
  • Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi leads MLS with 85 corner kicks this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City held New England to nine shots. Sporting Kansas City leads Major League Soccer with the fewest shots against (216).
  • Sporting Kansas City is yet to score a goal from outside the 18-yard box during the 2012 season after 21 games played. They are one of two teams, along with Chivas USA, to have scored all their goals from inside the penalty area.
  • Aurelien Collin and Nielsen are the only two Sporting KC players to appear in all 21 MLS regular season matches thus far in 2012.
  • Nielsen has played every MLS minute in net for Sporting Kansas City in 2012.
  • Defender Chance Myers missed his first MLS match of 2012 due to a groin strain.
  • Jacob Peterson recorded a single-game career high five shots in Saturday’s match.
  • Attendance at Saturday’s match was 19,080, marking the eighth straight sell out in 2012 and ninth of ten MLS home games this year.
  • Sporting Kansas City is averaging 19,214 fans at MLS home matches in 2012.
  • Saturday’s match marked the first of four straight home games for Sporting Kansas City with two in MLS play and two international friendlies.
  • Sporting Kansas City are back home on Tuesday against Montpellier in an international friendly.
  • Sporting Kansas City recognized Ryan Malaschak as the winner of the team’s 2012 Make It Appen’ contest. Malaschak receives 2013 season tickets and Sporting Innovations will work with Malaschak to develop the Sporting Bingo app idea. The two runners-up were also in attendance, viewing the match from the Victory Suite.
  • Kansas City Chiefs safety Kyle McCarthy was in attendance at Saturday’s match, as was former KC defender Matt McKeon.
  • Saturday’s match was sponsored by Kia.
  • Sporting Kansas City held a moment of silence prior to the match for the victims of the mass shooting in Colorado and for the death of Claudio Reyna's 13-year-old son.

QUOTES:

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen

On Sporting KC’s 0-0 draw with the New England Revolution…

The first half definitely wasn’t our best half. We played too slow and gave them too much space. New England was having it too easy. Luckily we came out with a better attitude in the second half. We completely dominated the second half and created a couple good chances—Matt Reis made an amazing save on a header. We had a lot of possession, but it was just not our night. It was a great second half effort, but overall I’m unsatisfied.

On Sporting KC failing to score a goal in three straight MLS matches at home…

I don’t see that being much of a problem. We scored some great goals during our road trip. We didn’t have problems scoring any goals then. So I don’t think we should worry about not scoring at home.

On Sporting KC’s defensive performance…

We’ve been pretty strong in that area for some time now. In the second half we were completely dominating the game. We were well organized and pretty much did all the right things as the game went on.

On Sporting KC’s first half performance…

In the first half, things were not nearly good enough from our side—we gave up a few chances and didn’t create a lot ourselves. Our approach was slow and we didn’t really challenge them in the first 45 minutes. And that’s unacceptable. We step into this amazing stadium full of 20,000 people. That should give you energy. At least in the second half we got energy and played with some tempo.

On his save off the goal line from Ryan Guy’s header in the first half…

It was a corner that came to the back post and (Guy) came from nowhere with a diving header. Luckily I got to it before the ball crossed the line.

On playing in the MLS All-Star Game Wednesday night in Philadelphia…

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve tried not to put too much focus on the All-Star game because we’ve played so many matches recently ourselves.  Starting tomorrow, I can start looking forward to that game. Playing the European champions (Chelsea FC) is going to be a lot of fun for me, Zusi and Collin.

Sporting KC defender Matt Besler

On Sporting KC’s 0-0 draw with the New England Revolution…

It was a pretty competitive match. New England did a good job coming out and competing. We didn’t get off to the best start, but credit to them for not allowing us to score once we finally got going in the second half.

On Sporting KC failing to score a goal in three straight MLS matches at home…

I don’t think there’s too much concern about not scoring. But we are upset that we aren’t winning home games. I think it took too long for us to get into the game tonight. Coming off a three-game road trip, we came out tonight like a team that was on the road, instead of being back at home. But we talked about it at halftime and improved as the game went on. Overall, it was a frustrating game.

On making a last-ditch sliding block deep into stoppage time…

The ball popped out to one of their guys at the far post, and as a defender you try to just do everything you can to get your body in front of the ball. Luckily it worked out for me.

On Sporting KC’s frustrations after the draw…

We expect to win all home games, and we haven’t been doing that recently. So that’s the only real frustration we have. We’ll have to look at the tape from this game and get back out onto our training ground next week. We haven’t had a normal training session for a long time because we’ve been on the road. This week will be nice for us to work a little harder in practice on the finishing and crossing.

On playing in intense heat after returning from a three-game road trip…

We don’t think traveling or the heat should affect us. We’re a really fit team—one of the fitter teams in the league—so we can’t use traveling or the heat as an excuse for us not playing well.

Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes

General thoughts on the match…

I thought the first half was not a very exciting on both teams parts. I think New England sat back and we really didn’t push the game well enough. Coming into the second half I thought our energy was completely different. Our ball circulation was better and our movement off the ball was much better. I think it changed the game in the second half we were all over them. They couldn’t come out and physically I think they were hanging on. We had a lot of chances around the goal but at the end it winded up being a 0-0 draw. If we had come out with maybe the same energy in the first half it would have been a different game.

On Jacob Peterson’s emergence as dominant player…

It has to do with the fact that he moves off the ball so well. He just makes runs and when you make runs you make people make decisions and a lot of times they’ll make bad decisions. He got on the end of a lot of stuff and I think a lot of players on our team need to take note of his movement. If they were to follow his lead, it would be hard for teams to stop us. His work ethic and his movement off the ball are fantastic.”

On playing new players in new positions…

I think Michael Thomas has done an excellent job in regards to his work ethic. His number one quality is work ethic. I’m not taking away from the other guys but the difference is that Jacob [Peterson] has an unbelievable movement off the ball and like I said it puts teams under pressure because they have to make decisions. They have to decide “do I follow him do I drop what do I do, do I stay?” When that happens, he may not get the ball but there’s space for someone else.

On the team playing off the ball…

When the ball is being played it doesn’t mean that it has to be from one guy to you. You can be the third or fourth man getting the ball but you have to make a run. Again as those guys made runs in the second half it opened up a lot of things up and we got a lot more chances but we should have had more in the first half based on the way that we were actually playing in the first half. Again no movement off the ball results in disconnecting dots. You’re not getting superior numbers and getting in the channels and getting through one-on-ones. When we’re going past them and they’re chasing us, they don’t have the energy to go the other way, and that’s how we kept them on their end as much as we did.”

On Bobby Convey’s performance and first start since May 19…

I’ve said this a million times that he’s a very good player. What he brings to the game is a real intelligence and great service. He had some very good service in the game, maybe a little off on one or two- but he’s a dangerous player for us. I have to be careful with him because I really wanted him to go more because he was dangerous but I had to take him out at 55-60 minutes because I don’t want to overdo it with him because he hasn’t played in two months.

On  second straight scoreless draw at home…

I think we had 29 crosses during the game, but we have to connect on the end of those. There were too many balls that went in front of the goal and also past the goal and almost out the other side for a throw in and that means that we’re not getting enough guys in the box. It’s something that we have to take responsibility for and do a lot better with because we’re right around it we just need the final touch.”

Conference standings…

“It’s tight at the moment with a couple teams but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I’d like to think we’re in a pretty good position at the moment. We’re right there at the top of the table and we’re playing for the Open Cup final in a couple weeks. We have not had any real training in probably a month now. We’re looking forward to getting a week in of training because we’ll have a different team on the field come Tuesday night. Then we’ll do the same thing next week and I think it will be a big help to us.

On all of the chances on goal…

We had the numbers at times but we just didn’t have them allocated properly in the box. It’s one thing if you’re not creating chances but it’s another if you’re not finishing it. We need to get better with the finishing.”

On New England’s performace…

I think they did a good job. They got out of here with what they wanted. Almost every team we play it’s the same thing- they try to pack it in. I think Chelsea showed Barcelona it’s not the easiest thing to break down when the team is packed in. It’s a tough thing to break down in the game. Obviously it’s something that we need to get better at. I think we’re going to see it more and more because teams don’t want to open themselves up.

New England Revolution manager Jay Heaps

General thoughts on the match…

First of all, what a great place to play. We had a little bit of make up to do from the last time we were here. At least we didn’t get a red card within the first 20 minutes this time. Our first step was the make sure we made it through with 11 guys. When you’re playing, in my opinion, the most high powered offensive team in the league, it’s important to go out and defend well.

On Matt Reis’ head injury…

He’s getting looked at right now. We have two guys with stitches so the doctor doesn’t know who to look at first. But Matt [Reis] was gallant tonight. He came out big and we asked him to be big on crosses, and I think that he had a really great game.

On Kei Kamara’s performance…

He is, quite frankly, one of the best plays in the league right now. I think he makes a team go and he is a good guy all the way around.

On being the importance of being the aggressive team…

It’s huge. They have a great momentum here. I think they scored on us in the 24th or 25th minute [in the last game] and when you get scored on here, you can feel it. You definitely know that you got scored on, so it was important for us to have a counterpunch ready to go. That is why we put Nguyen where he was and we had Feilhaber more on the attacking side. We staggered our midfield to try to break on Sporting. We had to defend first and foremost, but also look for those quick opportunities.”

On how the temperature and packed schedule affected performance…

Both teams played on the previous Wednesday, but it was a little more than sheer soccer out there. The guys really had to play mentally, physically, and with heart. I think both teams showed it tonight. We are happy with the result because guys seemed to be going down left and right. It’s difficult, but both teams had to deal with the heat out there. It’s hot.

On shifting players to different positions…

Because we were so leg-weary, we had to make some tactical moves to put guys in. For instance, Ryan Guy started out up top, went to left midfield, and then even did a spell in the back. He was huge for us. If Matt Reis wasn’t able to get up, then Ryan Guy was going in goal. I think he would have set the record for number of different positions in one game.

New England Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber

General thoughts on the match…

I’m pleased with the effort the guys put it. It was a tough game, Kansas City is obviously one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and we had a tough loss in the midweek. It was good for everybody to stand up for themselves and put the responsibilities on each others’ shoulders. Unfortunately we couldn’t capitalize on one of our counter attacks. But, we will take a 0-0 draw.

On the team’s third game in the week…

Three games in a week is never easy. Two of them were on the road, so we have been on the road since Tuesday. It is good to get this point after the two losses in the beginning of the week but we need to obviously get more points at home and away to make the playoffs.  It is a good steppingstone but we have to make something out of it.

On goal-scoring opportunities…

We didn’t have too many but we created some good counterattack opportunities. I remember one I had in the first half where I didn’t hit the target. Ryan Guy had one where he hit it on top of the goalie. We had a couple in the second half. I think Ryan had one in the second half.  So we created a couple of chances on the breaks, obviously they had more in the game, but playing away from home, that is what we were trying to do, play hard defense and counter. So, we were able to do that, we just weren’t able to sneak a goal in.

On how the heat affected the game…

It slows it down a little bit. But, both teams are tired because of the heat. I think they also had a midweek game, so we all played three games in seven days or eight days. So, it catches up with you. I think we were pretty tired at the end of the game but we were able to hold the shutout, which was important for us. All in all, it is a good result for us.

New England Revolution defender Shalrie Joseph:

On their determination to grind out a result of the road…

We tried to put on a defensive performance and stick together as a team. We were desperate to get a result on the road. For parts of the game, we were the more aggressive team. I think Ryan Guy’s header went over the line; I’d have to look at that again though. We just have to keep playing well and pushing ourselves and try to pick up points here or there. We have the ability every time we go out there.

On the second half…

They were pushing a lot of numbers forward and we were just sitting back and defending and making sure we didn’t give up any chances. They are a good team going forward and we did well to get a 0-0 result. We will take it and try to get better next week.

On returning to the starting lineup…

I feel great. My luck hasn’t been going this way for the last two weeks; I’ve had back injuries. I feel good tonight, coming in and playing 90 minutes with the team and I look forward to being out there next week practicing and helping this team get three points every time we step out there.

On the result…

We needed that. We’ve been giving up too many goals weather it be Montreal last week or Toronto the week before. Tonight to get the 0-0 result against a team like Kansas City with so many offensive weapons feels good. It is going to be huge for our confidence to take that point and try to do better next week against Philly.

New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis

On the draw…

I thought it was good for us. We didn’t play our best game but we got a valuable point. It was a solid team effort. We really put a lot of work out there, top to bottom, everybody.

On the shutout…

It was something that we talked about before the game. We knew that we had to defend first, and that’s what we did.

On playing Sporting KC in their next home game…

They are a good team. We have to rest up from this game and get all the stiches out of everybody and hopefully we can be a little more offensive but keep the strong defensive effort.