Sporting Kansas City slipped to a 3-1 loss against the New England Revolution on Saturday night at rainy Gillette Stadium. Dom Dwyer leveled proceedings in the 49th minute after Kei Kamara scored an early opener, but a 75th-minute own goal from Kevin Ellis and a late strike from Juan Agudelo gave New England all three points and handed Sporting Kansas City a costly defeat in its push for the MLS Cup Playoffs.


Despite the result, Sporting Kansas City (12-13-7, 43 points) remains fifth in the provisional Western Conference standings thanks to Colorado Rapids' 1-0 win over the seventh-place Portland Timbers (41 points). Meanwhile, New England (10-13-9, 39 points) moves within two points of the Montreal Impact for the sixth and final playoff spot in the East.


With midfielder Roger Espinoza serving a one-game suspension for caution accumulation, Manager Peter Vermes made just one change to the Sporting Kansas City lineup from last weekend's 2-1 win at San Jose. Center back Ike Opara returned to the fold for his 50th regular season appearance in Sporting KC colors, pushing Nuno Coelho into the holding midfield role. Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber and Jacob Peterson comprised the three-man attack for a second straight game, while Paulo Nagamura captained the side in the 250th regular season appearance of his MLS career.


New England raced out to a dream start in the fourth minute, giving Sporting Kansas City it’s earliest deficit of the season. Lee Nguyen and Juan Agudelo navigated through a crowded left side of the field before the latter spread the ball wide to Kamara, who was afforded yards of space down the right flank. The former Kansas City striker took full advantage, slotting low past goalkeeper Tim Melia from 15 yards for his sixth goal in a New England jersey and his 11th of the 2016 season.


If not for a crucial intervention from Melia, the hosts would have doubled their advantage on 19 minutes. Kamara led another break downfield, squaring to Kelyn Rowe from the left side, but Melia sprung off his line to smother the shot attempt and force a corner kick.


Vermes’ men began to find their footing as the half wore on, with Jimmy Medranda’s delectable cross from the left edge of the box almost finding Saad Abdul-Salaam at the far post in the 24th minute.


Dwyer was on the receiving end of a golden opportunity just before halftime. Nagamura won possession with a splendid slide tackle and kickstarted a three-on-three break, sliding the ball forward to Peterson. Nagamura settled a return pass on the overlap and slid an excellent cross to Dwyer 10 yards from goal, but the Englishman failed to pull the trigger with London Woodbury and Darrius Barnes defending desperately.


In need of a spark, Vermes introduced Graham Zusi at halftime to mark the U.S. international’s first MLS appearance since Aug. 27. Zusi had missed the previous four games with a calf strain but nearly made an instant impact, seeing his low drive deflect off Barnes’ heel near the penalty spot.


Sporting Kansas City would restore parity on the ensuing corner kick. Benny Feilhaber’s service was flicked across the goalmouth by Kevin Ellis and prodded home by Dwyer, who scored for the fourth straight match and brought his 2016 total to 16 goals, tied for third most in MLS. Feilhaber tallied his eighth assist in nine games and his 12th of the year, also tied for third on the league charts.


The contest remained in the balance until the final quarter-hour, when Jay Heaps’ men regained the lead on an unfortunate own goal. Kamara clipped a cross from the right byline to Nguyen, whose low blast from the opposite side of the goal caromed off the near post. Ellis was left helpless as the ball pinged back off his own boot and across the goal line, giving the Revolution their game-winner.


Agudelo effectively sealed the result in the 83rd minute, latching onto Kamara’s cross and hammering high into the roof of the net.


The October international window will give Sporting Kansas City a week off before the club finishes the 2016 regular season at Real Salt Lake on Oct. 16 and home to the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 23. The club is seeking its franchise-record sixth straight postseason appearance.


2016 MLS Regular Season
Game 32 of 34
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Massachusetts
Attendance: 25,280
Weather: 55 degrees and rainy

<strong>Score</strong>
<strong>1</strong>
<strong>2</strong>
<strong>F</strong>
Sporting Kansas City&nbsp;(12-13-7, 43 pts)
0
1
1
New England Revolution&nbsp;(10-13-9, 36 pts)
1
2
3

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Kevin Ellis, Ike Opara, Jimmy Medranda; Soni Mustivar, Nuno Coelho (Graham Zusi 46), Paulo Nagamura (C); Benny Feilhaber (Diego Rubio 82), Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson
Subs Not Used: Alec Kann, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Benji Joya, Brad Davis

New England Revolution: Brad Knighton; Andrew Farrell, London Woodberry, Darrius Barnes, Chris Tierney; Kelyn Rowe (Steve Neumann 89), Scott Caldwell, Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez (Daigo Kobayashi 77); Juan Agudelo (Femi Hollinger-Janzen 85), Kei Kamara
Subs Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Je-Vaughn Watson, Donald Smith, Teal Bunbury

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<strong>Stats</strong>
<strong>SKC</strong>
<strong>NE</strong>
Shots
8
15
Shots on Goal
1
5
Saves
3
0
Fouls
5
5
Offside
0
2
Corner Kicks
7
8

Misconduct Summary:
SKC -- Ike Opara (caution; hand ball) 17

Scoring Summary:
NE -- Kei Kamara 11 (Juan Agudelo 5, Lee Nguyen 9) 4
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 16 (Kevin Ellis 1, Benny Feilhaber 12) 49
NE -- Kevin Ellis (own goal) 75
NE -- Juan Agudelo 6 (Kei Kamara 2) 83

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