FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Pitted against the strongest opponent they’ve faced so far in the early season, the Revolution knew that Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City wouldn’t be the proverbial walk in the park.
Not only did the defending champions step onto the Gillette Stadium pitch unbeaten in their last five (3-0-2), but they also boasted a potent offense that had just pasted the Montreal Impact 4-0 a week before.
And defense? Well, the Revolution hadn’t scored a goal against Kansas City in regular-season action since the immortal Rajko Lekic struck in the 38th minute of a game that took place nearly three years ago (July 30, 2011).
Though the Revs had plenty of reasons to second-guess themselves on Saturday, they ultimately put the past behind them with an impressive 2-0 win.
“It was pretty wide open early on,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “For us, I thought we were pretty good at the end of the first half and created chances. We had a chance to at least get a goal. I think they did, as well. Overall, I liked our mentality, and I liked how we finished the game.”
While the finish certainly left plenty of players in the Revolution locker room smiling, the trio of points they collected didn’t come easily.
After Kansas City dominated possession in the opening minutes -- especially between the 5th and 10th minutes, where the guests posted a 78 percent possession stat -- the Revolution finally started to settle in as the game rolled along to the 20th minute.
By employing patience and control against Kansas City’s trademark high-pressure approach, the Revolution were able to carve out dangerous chances in the 16th and 25th minutes from Jerry Bengtson and Lee Nguyen, respectively. And though neither was able to convert early on, the opportunities alone were proof positive that the Revolution had done their homework.
“We had a great week of training and preparation, and a great mindset coming into the game,” Revolution striker Teal Bunbury said. “So I feel for us to keep our cool and to not panic and start pumping balls in the box, but keep possession of the ball, keep it moving and finally we were able to open them up.”
While they did their part to keep Kansas City off the board, the Revolution were undoubtedly aided by Aurelien Collin’s ejection in the 74th minute. But unlike last week’s 1-1 draw in Chicago, the Revolution capitalized with the man advantage this time around.
Shortly after the match stretched into stoppage time, Bunbury pushed a redirected Diego Fagundez cross into the back of the net, while Fagundez himself would’ve scored moments later had Uri Rosell not smacked it away with his right hand inside the area. It was all the same, though, as Nguyen slotted it through from the spot to send the Revolution to its second-straight win at home.
“Coming off an (opponent’s) red card last week, we felt we didn’t leave it all on the table to get the three points,” Heaps said. “I think tonight, it’s funny how you have another chance at it. It looked like we were a little bit more aggressive, and we were more aggressive in trying to get the goal.”