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Recap: Sporting KC moves into first place with 1-0 win at New England Revolution

Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.
Attendance: 17,592
Weather: Clear and 86 degrees
Video: Match Highlights





Sporting Kansas City (12-7-4, 40 pts)




New England Revolution (6-11-5, 23 pts)




Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Michael Harrington, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Julio Cesar (Michael Thomas 74), Paulo Nagamura (Peterson Joseph 86), Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury, Bobby Convey (Soony Saad 7)

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Korede Aiyegbusi, Kevin Ellis, Neven Markovic

New England Revolution: Matt Reis; Florian Lechner (Fernando Cardenas 46), Darrius Barnes, Stephen McCarthy, Chris Tierney; Ryan Guy, Benny Feilhaber (Kelyn Rowe 78),Clyde Simms©; Lee Nguyen, Dimitry Imbongo (Diego Fagundez 73), Saer Sene

Subs not used: Tim Murray, Kevin Alston, Blake Brettschneider, Saney Nyassi







Shots on Goal   












Corner Kicks    



Misconduct Summary:

NE – Ryan Guy (caution; reckless tackle) 54
KC – Lawrence Olum (caution; tactical foul) 56
NE – Benny Feilhaber (caution; tactical foul) 77
KC – Matt Besler (caution; reckless foul) 88

Scoring Summary:
KC – Teal Bunbury 4 (unassisted) 20


Sporting Kansas City moved into first place in the Eastern Conference on Saturday with a 1-0 road win over the New England Revolution at GilletteStadium. Teal Bunbury’s breakaway goal in the 20th minute proved to be the difference as Jimmy Nielsen recorded his MLS-leading 10th shutout of the season.

It was Sporting Kansas City with the first chance of the match, coming at the three-minute mark when Bunbury sent in a volley from the right edge of the penalty area that was tipped over the crossbar by Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis.

New England responded six minutes later when Florian Lechner crossed into the penalty area. Michael Harrington intervened, forcing Saer Sene to direct his header wide at the near post.

Sporting Kansas City notched the game’s only goal in the 20th minute when Bunbury pounced on a soft header from Clyde Simms and broke free on goal by poking the ball over Stephen McCarthy. Going one-on-one with an outrushing Reis, he placed the ball inside the far post for his fourth goal of the season and 20th of his career in MLS competition, including playoffs.

Benny Feilhaber won the ball in the 36th minute, muscling his way into the box and sending an a ball back to Dimitry Imbongo, but the summer signing hit his shot well over the crossbar from 15 yards out.

The final chance of the first half came from a curling effort from Soony Saad that was saved by Reis in the lone minute of added time.

New England started the second half strong, with a dangerous opportunity in the 49th minute when Fernando Cardenas dribbled down midfield, crossing out wide the Chris Tierney. He played the ball back to the center for Imbogo, left all alone at the six-yard box and unable to snap his header beneath the bar.

The home side came close in the 55th minute when Cardenas, a halftime substitution for the Revolution, charged down midfield on a 50-yard run and sent in a blazing shot that was wide of the far left post.

Sporting Kansas City looked to build upon their lead in the 69th minute when Bunburyreceived a cross from Kamara inside the area and turned to face goal, shooting low with his left foot only to be denied by Reis.

The game’s final 20 minutes saw Sporting Kansas City preserve the clean sheet, only needing a save from Nielsen in the 86th minute when Tierney sent in a low, driving shot from the left.

Sporting KC’s record improves to 12-7-4 with the win, giving the club the most victories amongst Eastern Conference teams entering the final third of the season. The team is also 6-4-2 on the road in 2012, boasting the best away record in MLS this season and matching the team’s record for most regular season away wins in regulation all-time.

Sporting Kansas City will return home for the team’s marquee match against the Seattle Sounders FC in the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday at LIVESTRONG SportingPark. Tickets for the match are available in limited supply online or at LSP Box Offices.

The match will be broadcast live on GolTV, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM.


  • With the win, Sporting Kansas City’s record moves to 12-7-4 in 2012 and 6-4-2 on the road this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City moves back into first place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points, tied with the Houston Dynamo.
  • Sporting Kansas City has the most wins in the Eastern Conference with 12.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 69-131-59 on the road all-time in regular season.
  • Sporting Kansas City’s six road victories this season are tied for the most inregulation in club history, along with the 1997 season.
  • Sporting Kansas City have won four of their last five games on the road in all competition.
  • Sporting Kansas City are the only team in the Eastern Conference with a winning record on the road and the only team with a positive goal differential away from home (+2).
  • Of the six games thus far in MLS this weekend, Sporting Kansas City was the only team to earn a point on the road.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 206-206-104 all-time in MLS regular season play.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now 21-13-10 all-time against the New England Revolution in the regular season and 11-7-5 on the road in the match-up.
  • New England has only one win in the last 12 meetings between the two clubs.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 6-5-2 against the Eastern Conference in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza scored for Honduras on Saturday at the 2012 London Olympic Games in the nation's 3-2 loss to Brazil in the quarterfinals. It was his third appearance for Honduras at the Olympic Games and he's scheduled to return to Kansas City on Sunday.
  • Espinoza was one of four MLS players at the Olympics and one of two MLS players to score a goal, along with New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengtson.
  • Prior to Saturday, Sporting Kansas City was winless in the team's last five games(0-2-3) without Espinoza in the lineup.
  • Sporting Kansas City was also without defenders Chance Myers (groin strain) and Aurelien Collin (facial fracture), as well as forwards Jacob Peterson (shoulder sprain) and C.J. Sapong (hip flexor strain) on Saturday.
  • Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has played every minute for the team during the 2012 regular season. Nielsen is the only Sporting KC player to appear in all 23 regular season matches.
  • Sporting Kansas City midfielder Julio Cesar started his first match since June 29th on Saturday.
  • Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic surpassed 5,000 MLS minutes played in theregular season on Saturday. He becomes the 11th player on Sporting Kansas City's active roster to do so.
  • Sporting Kansas City defender Michael Harrington started the 126th regular season game of his KC and MLS career on Saturday, tying Matt McKeon for 10th most in club history.
  • With tonight’s victory, Jimmy Nielsen broke a tie with Bo Oshoniyi and Mike Ammann for the second most wins by a goalkeeper in club history. He currently has 34 wins in 83 regular season games played.
  • Teal Bunbury scored the lone goal in Saturday’s match. The game-winning goal was Bunbury’s first game-winning goal of 2012 and sixth game-winner of his career in MLS competition, including playoffs.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 12-1-4 all-time in MLS competition (including playoffs) whenTeal Bunbury scores.
  • Bunbury's goal was the 18th regular season goal of his career, breaking a tie with Jimmy Conrad and Eddie Johnson for sole possession of 10th place on the club's all-time goal-scoring chart.
  • Bobby Convey exited the match in the 7th minute on Saturday due to a right hamstring strain.
  • Soony Saad replaced Convey for Sporting KC, becoming the earliest substitution inclub history. Prior to Saturday, John Diffley's substitution in the 10th minute of a 3-2 loss on April 27, 1997 was the earliest regular season sub in the team's 17-year history.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 10-2-2 when scoring first and 7-1-1 when leading at halftime in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City has now scored 10 goals in the first thirty minutes of matches this season.
  • Kamara leads all MLS players with 89 shots in 2012 and 36 shots on goal.
  • Sporting KC is yet to score from beyond the 18-yard box through 23 MLS matches in 2012.
  • Saturday’s match marked the third and final meeting between Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution during the 2012 regular season.
  • Sporting Kansas City collected seven points with a 2-0-1 record in the series, winning the first match-up 3-0 and concluding the second meeting with a scoreless draw.
  • Jimmy Nielsen recorded three shutouts against New England this season and now leads the League with 10 clean sheets on the year. He has 27 shutouts in his three-year MLS career, second most among all MLS goalkeepers since 2010.
  • Saturday’s temperature was 86 degrees and Sporting KC is 5-5-2 when the conditions areabove 75 degrees in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 10-6-4 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 2-1-1 when playing on turf this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 4-1-0 when playing in the Eastern time zone this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 1-0-1 in August in all competition and moves to 32-39-12 all-time in MLS action during the month of August.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 7-5-0 in games decided by one goal in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 10-5-2 when outshooting an opponent in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City's 369 shots this season are the most in MLS.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads Major League Soccer with the fewest shots against (238).
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS all-time in shots taken with 7,018.
  • Sporting KC was held to one corner kick on Saturday, a season low, but leads MLS in corner kicks this season with 139.
  • Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi leads MLS with 92 corner kicks this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City was whistled for 21 fouls on Saturday, a season high.
  • Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler was called for five fouls, two more than his previous single-game career high.
  • Seth Sinovic committed three fouls, matching his single-game career high.
  • Graham Zusi suffered four fouls on Saturday, matching his single-game career high.
  • Peter Vermes managed the 102nd MLS match (including playoffs) in his KC coaching career on Saturday, passing Curt Onalfo for the third most MLS matches managed by a KC head coach.
  • Saturday was Sporting Kansas City’s 15th game in a 50-day stretch for the team dating back to June 16.
  • New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares missed his first match of 2012 on Saturday due to injury.
  • The Revolution played their first game since trading eight-time MLS All-Star Shalrie Joseph. Clyde Simms wore the captain’s armband.


Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

All the games in conference are obviously big points. We’ve been pretty good on the road this year. I thought our game plan was good. This game wasdifferent than the last one we played them and they just dropped everyone behind the ball and it was a bunker-type situation. I thought the game was a little bit more back and forth. I was just happy with the way that we executed the way we wanted to play and more importantly, we found a way to grind thethree points out at the end.

It would be great to win the Eastern Conference. It’s great to do that, but we’ve still got a lot of games until that point happens. We’ve just got to keep ticking away. We’ve got a lot of games still ahead of us and it’s about us just trying to getting better as we go along. And right now, I think we’ve done a really good job of playing on the road, which I think will help come playoff time. And more importantly, we’ve got to get some guys back off injuries. That’s a big thing for us right now.

I think what happened was when we scored they really had to press a little bit. And I thought we did a good job, I thought we were going to get one through the run of play because they were pressing high pretty much, but I thought we still maintained our composure. That was a good part of it, but being able to sit in that position now with having scored, and them really having to come at us, and then changed the game for them as well, because they had to do some things maybe they didn’t want to do maybe early on, especially because we scored.

The great thing is that we get Roger Espinoza back (for Open Cup). I’m hoping we get a couple more guys back off of injury - we’ll be making those assessments. We’ve got to make sure the guys that are here all recover quickly, and were working on that as we speak right now. It’s really going to be about whose able to play and actually healthy at that point and then well make our decisions.

Especially being that the stadium was built just last year and our opening game was last year in June, (the Open Cup final is) a big event for us finally, in that stadium. Kansas City has been deserving something like that for a long time and I think now with the advent of the new stadium and our fan base and everything else has just increasingly become just a great place toplay. I think it’s going to be awesome for that venue.

Even from that last time we played (New England), they bunkered in. Every time it was 40 yards and in there were 11 guys behind the ball. And even though we got a lot of chances and (Matt) Reis was good that night, he made a lot of good saves. When the games open like this, it’s more to our liking, it’s what we want to do. We want to play, we want to have a game. Teal (Bunbury) did a great job – opportunistic. His second touch was awesome. The finish was - I always say it’s kind of his patent finish – he  loves to go to the left and curl that ball back post.

I think (the win) helps no doubt. It’s a positive play, but I really don’t think anything will deter from the excitement on Wednesday night. It’s a totally different world: it’s a cup final. And I think the guys, they sense it now, and I think our venue is going to be a pretty interesting environment, so were excited about it.

I thought that our team managed very well throughout the Open Cup, and now were in this position to be able to play it from home. I thought that was a good thing. And the crazy thing is along the way we lost some bids, we lost one against Philadelphia. I really think this an exciting thing for Kansas City, I really do.

This game tonight was a good lead in to (the Open Cup), but I think also being on the road and getting three points in conference was huge for us.

I think the big thing is that we need to keep the focus on us, we can’t control those other results. Sometimes you start to worry about what everyone else is doing, we’ve just got to keep playing our game. The good thing is we’ve found a way to grind these three points out tonight, too.

I thought one of the things where we were good, is that we were anticipating a lot of situations today instead of sitting back and letting them dictate play. So sometimes that can be risky, but I thought our pressure and cover was excellent. We really didn’t give much away in the game, but I thought we did give a few too many set pieces away. But sometimes that happens, and you need to know, at the end of the game, how to defend those and we did a good job of that as well.

It’s changed a bit with the heat, cause we can’t go 100 miles per hour, especially in these hot summer months. So what I like is we’ve also figured out a way. It’s not dropping off and bunkering in. It’s more we’ve picked a line of confrontation and we still stay compact in that area, our back four is in agood line and we’re not all over the place so we’re keeping guys onside. We’ve really figured out a way to play different areas on the field defensively and I think that part is good. And finally getting chances is a big thing for us.We’ve created a ton of chances this year, we maybe haven’t finished them all, but when you’re creating those chances your eventually going to score. At home maybe not as much, but on the road it’s a little bit different, for sure.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen

Last time we played New England at home, they came with a very defending mindset ... we know they'd be coming out with it a little more here at home, so we put more account on them a little bit and I think we did a very good job of that. I don't think they created a lot of chances."

I think the first 25 minutes we were a little impatient with the ball. We don't want to play that final ball too early. The last piece of the first half I think we were very patient with the ball. We were keeping the ball, and they were chasing us all the time. In this kind of weather, it's not fun to be the team who's chasing. It's damn hot.

It's important (getting the first goal on the road). It was very quick there, Teal Bunbury, very smart finishing, and I think we stayed extremely organized after that, very compact and very patient, and we kept the game plan all the way.

You can't stress out in those situations (when it gets chippy). You've got to stay calm and I think we did a pretty good job of that.  We have some very big guys, I think they wonmost of the big balls in the air. Anything can happen in the last five minutes when they send everybody forward and hitting those long balls. But it endedlike we wanted.

Big game on Wednesday, a cup final. We’re all looking forward to that. It's going to be a lot of fun. We have an opportunity to win a trophy, everybody is very excited. Kansas City is becoming an extremely big soccer city, so it's a big deal for the city, and I really, really hope things will go our way on Wednesday.

Sporting Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury

It was huge that we could get a goal pretty early on and we were putting the pressure on them. I felt like it was only a matter of time that we were going to put one in the back of the net. I did my job and that’s to score goals. We were able to get the win, which is the biggest thing.

I think this game was huge for us, having played the way we wanted to play and get the results we wanted to. Coming out here with New England being a good team we wanted to go up a goal, withstand that and grind out the win. I think it’s huge now being on top of the Eastern Conference with Houston. We’ve got a big Open Cup game on Wednesday that is going to really help our moral.

I feel like it’s huge (to play the Open Cup at home). The fans in Kansas City are amazing and we all feel like they are the best in the league – obviously, all teams are going to be biased towards that - but we really believe in that. They have helped us out at every game. The atmosphere at Sporting Park has been electric. Every game, they are selling out so it’s a pleasure playing in front of them and having the Open Cup there is going to be huge.

Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic

(The win) was huge from a league standpoint. (We’re) tied with Houston. New York’s up there and D.C. isn’t far behind. I think it was good from a league point of view to get some points, but obviously going into the Open Cup, we want to get some confidence going into that game.

That was one of our goals in the beginning of the year to get into the CONCAF Championships League and obviously one of the ways to do that is Open Cup. We are looking to get a win in that game and hopefully get in the league.

I think a lot of it has to do with we have kept a good core group of guys together for a couple of years now. Maybe that familiarity and we have got talented players. We know how each other play, we are dangerous up top and tactically we know what we are doing and bring a style of play. I think more than anything it is that familiarity with everybody.

There has been a lot turnover (here in New England), with coaches and players included. It’s fun to come back to Boston, come back to Gillette (Stadium) and see a few old fans that I was kind of close with. That was nice. But no there’s not really any personal satisfaction there.

(Being waived) came as a bit of shock, but that is how it goes. And I couldn’t be happier to back in Kansas City where I am from.

New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps

(Flo Lechner came off at halftime) to get Fernando (Cardenas) on the field. We just felt like we needed a change and you can only make so many changes at halftime without going forth. If we could’ve subbed more we would’ve. We just needed to get Fernando on the field.

(Fernando Cardenas) came in, had a boost, got the rhythm going. We had a couple of breaks, here and there, a couple of opportunities in the secondhalf that I thought we shouldn’t be capitalized on: (Dimitry) Imbogno’s header. Fernando, maybe they started to mark him after that, but he came out flying and had some good stuff. But in the end, it was not enough good performances on the field.

I thought [Dimitry Imbongo] did alright. Had a couple of chances.

It was a poor throw-in to a poor touch to a poor pass to a poor defensive player to nothing Matt Reis could do. It was just one of those plays where it was a bad decision to where the throw-in was made, to where it went, and unfortunately we’ve been punished all year for our mistakes and that’s exactly what happened tonight.

New England Revolution defender Chris Tierney

We’re all disappointed. There’s nothing really to say at this point. It was a sub-par performance all around. We didn’t create too many chances and the few that we did we couldn’t put away. So it’s disappointing. At home we expect three points and we didn’t get it.

… Their game plan, for sure, was to disrupt the play. I think if you look at fouls, there was a lot. They were clearly trying to slow our play through the midfield and break things up and they did a good job of that. And that’s a road tactic and a tactic that teams have used against us all year. We’ve got to be better at breaking pressure and playing through it.

Just keep working; just keep practicing the things Jay (Heaps) is telling us to do. There’s been enough good play this year where I think we should probably have more points than we do. But at the end of the day, it’s these soft goals that we are giving up that are costing us results and it’s disappointing. We’ve been creating chances; we had some good play last week, a few good chances today that we just couldn’t take.

They’re a big, strong team with two guys up top with (Teal) Bunbury and (Kei) Kamara that they try to play to a lot and some good players that run off. So you just try to match them physically but our tactic is to try to get the ball down and pass it around. You try to play through it tonight and I don’t know if it was the surface or whatever it was, but it just seemed like our touch was off a little bit.

No, I don’t think (it as an emotional week). We’re over that, we’re moving on. We all had jobs to do, we knew what it was and like you said it has been an emotional week but no we all know what we have to do and we move ongame to game.

New England Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms

That was definitely my fault. On a normal grass field, I feel like the ball doesn't bounce that high … I tried to head it back to (Stephen McCarthy) and couldn't get enough on it. (Teal Bunbury) did a good job of reading it and getting there first and they definitely capitalized.

They're a big physical team and that's the way they play every single game. They commit a lot of numbers forward and that's part of their philosophy. They have to foul in certain spots because they have so many guys forward and they're susceptible to the counter. That’s the way they plath: they recruit big guys - big physical guys - and that’s the way they play.

I think the way we try to play is to keep the ball on the ground and keep it moving. We don’t have a huge team, especially in the midfield, so that’s the way we try to play, and we think we’re good at that. Unfortunately, we weren’t as good with the ball tonight.

We have to keep working and we can’t get down on ourselves. We have a couple days to get over it and then get back to work. We have a full week of training and we just have to keep working.

We’ll spend this week watching video and we’ll break it down and learn from it. I think all of us need to take a second look at the game and look at it from afar and take notes and get better.

I try to play the same way every game. In my position, I’m in the middle of the field and I’m closer to basically everyone on the field and can communicate. I try to do that as much as possible whether I have the captain’s arm band or not.

I think the way we get better is having our way of playing soccer and sticking with it. I think that’s the way we get better as a team - we gain chemistry that way. I think we just need to stick with our guns and keep working on it to get better. We want to make teams come in here and worry about us for a change.