Recap: Sporting KC posts second straight shutout in scoreless draw at New England Revolution

Nielsen extends shutout streak to 249 minutes, longest in MLS

Gillette Stadium | Foxboro, Mass.
Attendance: 12,215
Weather: 42 degrees, windy
Video: Match Highlights

Score 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City (1-1-2) 0 0 0
New England Revolution (1-1-1) 0 0 0

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen (c); Seth Sinovic, Ike Opara, Aurelien Collin, Mechack J erome; Oriol Rosell, Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura; C.J. Sapong, Claudio Bieler, Soony Saad (Peterson Joseph 63)

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Mikey Lopez, Josh Gardner, Kyle Miller, Lawrence Olum, Michael Thomas

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Lee Nguyen, Clyde Simms, Juan Toja, Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe, Chad Barrett (Ryan Guy 64)

Subs not used : Bobby Shuttleworth, Kalifa Cisse, Chris Tierney, Andy Dorman, Diego Fagundez, Darrius Barnes

Team Stats

  KC NE
Shots 13 3
Shots on Goal 5 0
Saves 0 5
Fouls 20 10
Offsides 1 4
Corner Kicks 2 6

Misconduct Summary:
KC -- Mechack Jerome (caution; reckless tackle) 30
KC -- Benny Feilhaber (caution; simulation) 71

Scoring Summary:
None

Sporting Kansas City drew 0-0 against New England on Saturday afternoon in the Revolution's home opener at Gillette Stadium. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded his second consecutive clean sheet while centerback Ike Opara made his debut for the club in a strong defensive showing by the visitors.

Sporting Kansas City held New England to three shots in the match, with the first attempt coming in the 77th minute, and did not concede a shot on goal in an MLS match for just the seventh time in the team's 18-year history.

With the clean sheet, Nielsen extends his shutout streak to 249 minutes. The stretch is the longest in MLS this season and the Revolution have now gone 412 minutes without a goal against Sporting KC dating back to July 2011.

It was Sporting Kansas City with the first chance of the match in the 15th minute when former Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber, acquired by Sporting KC in an offseason trade, played the ball down the left flank to Soony Saad. Making his first start since last July, Saad crossed the ball to C.J. Sapong at the near post but the former Rookie of the Year sent his shot over the crossbar.

Four minutes later, Sporting Kansas City nearly took the lead off of a flurry of chances inside the penalty area following a long throw-in from Seth Sinovic. Sapong's shot beat Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis but Clyde Simms threw his body in front of the shot on the goalline to block the attempt into the crossbar. The rebound fell to the foot of Feilhaber, but Reis recovered to save the attempt from 12 yards out.

With 10 minutes left in the first half, Designated Player Claudio Bieler looked to notch his third goal since joining Sporting Kansas City when he took a hard-hit shot off a free kick from the left corner of the box that was held by Reis at the near post.

Sporting Kansas City entered the locker room at halftime having held New England without a shot in the first half, marking the ninth time in team history - and third time away from home all-time - that Sporting KC has held an opponent without a shot in a half.

The first noteworthy chance of the second half game in the 64th minute of play when Nguyen played a well-hit free kick to the far right post, aiming for Juan Toja. The Colombian midfielder couldn't get a touch on the ball and it went out for a free kick.

Ten minutes later and quick on the counterattack, Bieler was on the receiving end of a long ball and slipped behind the New England backline. With Reis rushing off his line, the Argentine attempted to chip the ball over the top, but Reis reacted well to make the save.

The Revolution registered their only real scoring opportunity of the match in the 77th minute when Toja sent in a free kick from the top of the area that sailed inches above the crossbar.

Seven minutes later, Opara nearly scored in his debut when his header went just wide of the fast post on a corner taken by Feilhaber. Opara and Bieler led all players with three shots on Saturday.

A minute later, second-half substitute Peterson Joseph and Feilhaber both took strikes from outside the box that were blocked by Reis on a day in which the veteran netminder made five saves for his 72nd career shutout.

Neither team could break through in the chilly conditions and New England settled for their first-ever draw in a home opener, snapping a streak of six straight home opener victories dating back to 2007.

Sporting Kansas City returns home after playing three of their first four matches this season on the road and will host the first place Montreal Impact at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 30 at Sporting Park. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and at the Sporting Park Box Offices.

FAST FACTS

  • With the draw, Sporting Kansas City is 1-1-2 is 2013 and 1-1-1 on the road.
  • Saturday's game was the New England Revolution's first home match of 2013. The result was the first-ever draw for New England in a home opener to snap a streak of six straight years of wins in the club's home opener. New England is now 12-5-1 all-time in home openers.
  • MLS clubs combined for a 7-6-6 record in 2013 home openers.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 22-13-11 against New England all-time and 11-7-6 on the road in the series. Sporting Kansas City is 7-3-5 at Gillette Stadium.
  • Sporting Kansas City made two changes to last week's starting lineup with Ike Opara and Soony Saad starting for Matt Besler and Graham Zusi respectively.
  • Ike Opara made his Sporting KC debut on Saturday, starting an MLS match for the first time since September 19, 2012 with the San Jose Earthquakes.
  • Besler and Zusi missed the match due to international duty. The U.S. Men's National Team defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in Colorado on Friday in FIFA World Cup Qualifying with Zusi starting and playing 75 minutes for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The U.S. will next face Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City at 9 p.m. CT on Tuesday.
  • Besler, the reigning MLS Defender of the Year, had started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the club's last 23 MLS matches (including postseason) prior to Saturday. Besler missed his first MLS match since a 4-0 loss at the Philadelphia Union on June 23, 2012, snapping a streak of 24 straight matches.
  • Kyle Miller earned a spot on the matchday 18 for the first time since joining Sporting Kansas City in 2012.
  • The New England Revolution made one switch to their starting lineup from the team's last match, starting Chad Barrett for Jerry Bengtson. The Honduran striker was away for international duty. Honduras tied Mexico 2-2 on Friday.
  • Barrett's start was his first of the 2013 season and first in a Revolution uniform.
  • Soony Saad - making his first start since a 2-0 victory at Columbus on July 14, 2012 -- became the youngest player to start for Sporting KC this season at 20 years, 7 months and 7 days.
  • With Oriol Rosell and Soony Saad in the starting lineup on Saturday, Sporting KC became the second MLS team this season to start two players age 20 or younger (along with Chivas USA).
  • Benny Feilhaber made his first appearance against his former club on Saturday since joining Sporting KC in an offseason trade. Feilhaber started his 50th regular season match on Saturday.
  • Saturday marked the first time in 2013 that Sporting KC did not control the majority of the possession or pass completion percentages. Entering MLS Week 4, Sporting KC led MLS with 64.3% of the possession in their games thus far.
  • Jimmy Nielsen has the longest active shutout streak in MLS at 249 minutes. Nielsen's shutout streak is also the longest in MLS this season (surpassing Bill Hamid at 196 minutes).
  • Sporting Kansas City has held New England scoreless in 412 straight minutes dating back to July 30, 2011.
  • Jimmy Nielsen has appeared in 65 straight MLS matches, including postseason, for Sporting Kansas City, dating back to June 12, 2011. The streak covers a span of 5,850 straight minutes of MLS action.
  • Nielsen recorded his 34th career shutout on Saturday and lowered his career goals against average to 1.01, best among MLS goalkeepers all-time with a minimum of 4,000 minutes played.
  • Nielsen now has four career shutouts against New England, breaking a tie with Bo Oshoniyi for the most by a KC goalkeeper all-time against the Revolution.
  • Nielsen also lowered his road goals against average to 1.08, which is also the best among MLS goalkeepers all-time with a minimum of 2,000 road minutes played.
  • Jimmy Nielsen has the best career winning percentage for a KC goalkeeper in club history (.562).
  • Sporting KC held New England without a shot in the first half on Saturday, marking the ninth time in team history -- and third time away from home all-time -- that Sporting KC has held an opponent without a shot in a half. Three of those instances have come against the Revolution.
  • Saturday marks the seventh time in club history not to concede a shot on goal in an MLS regular season match. Sporting Kansas City has allowed one shot on goal in the team's last two MLS matches.
  • On Saturday, Sporting KC allowed only three shots, second fewest by a team in an MLS match this season. New England's first shot did not come until the 77th minute.
  • Oriol Rosell led all players with 12 interceptions on Saturday.