Revolution-Sporting Kansas City Preview
After ending a lengthy scoring drought to Sporting Kansas City over the weekend, the New England Revolution are in prime position to extend their first playoff appearance in four years.
The visiting Revolution need only a draw in Wednesday night's final leg of their two-match aggregate series with Kansas City to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2007.
Mired in a five-match scoring drought against Sporting Kansas City, third-seeded New England got second-half goals from Andy Dorman and Kelyn Rowe for a 2-1 home victory in the first leg of this semifinal series Saturday.
Having won four in a row and five of seven, the Revolution can advance to the East finals against Houston or New York with a win or draw.
For second-seeded Kansas City to move on, it would need to win by two or more goals. If it wins by a goal, the teams will play a 30-minute extra-time session. If the aggregate score remains tied after that, penalty kicks will determine the winner.
"In this series, it's like we're at halftime," said New England goalkeeper Matt Reis, who has allowed three goals during the winning streak. "So we are up 2-1 at halftime and the more goals we have, the more pressure we can put on them.
"It's great for us. It's going to be a tough task going in there and getting a result, but I like our chances."
Though the Revolution have been outscored 15-3 and shut out three straight times while going winless in seven matches at Kansas City, they've played to a draw in two of the last four there. Kansas City beat the Revolution 3-0 at home Aug. 10, but it's managed more than a goal once in its last six contests.
All of Sporting's last four victories have come by one goal.
Aurelien Collin scored in the 69th minute for Kansas City on Saturday, but coach Peter Vermes believes his team can generate even more quality offensive opportunities in the second leg.
"We had some great chances the other night," Vermes told the team's official website. "I think we'll have some chances, and when the time comes, I think we'll put them away. I feel confident from that point of view.
"It's never easy to play here. I feel confident with the guys we have, and we'll find ways to break them down. We have to make sure that we're ready to go."
Kansas City, which finished one point behind the Red Bulls for the league's best regular-season record, lost to Houston in the conference semifinals last year after falling to the Dynamo in the East finals in 2011.
New England reached the conference finals six straight seasons from 2002-07. It played for the MLS Cup four times during that run but never won.