Sporting KC rolling right along into New England Revolution matchup
After lackluster efforts in the last two weeks, the New England Revolution hope to turn things around against one of the best teams in MLS and led by a player who’s quickly made an impact in his first year in the league.
Looking to avoid extending a winless streak, New England also is in search of its fourth straight win over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The Revolution closed March and started April with back-to-back shutout wins. Since then, the club dropped a 1-0 decision at home to FC Dallas on April 14 and played to a 2-2 draw last Saturday against the Columbus Crew.
Midfielder Scott Caldwell said it’s time for New England (3-2-2) to get back to its winning ways.
“Whenever you have a team coming into your house, it’s definitely a time to step up and be ready to win,” he said. “Coming off of our last two performances, we know we need to step up and improve, and we’re looking forward to doing that against KC.”
New England has won three straight at home and four of the last six matches overall with Kansas City (5-1-2). Sporting has the same record as New York City FC but has the most goals (20) and the best goal differential at (plus-9) in the league.
“They can be dangerous up front. They get their fullbacks really high and they create a lot of chances. They’ve scored a lot of goals this year, so we’re looking to stay strong defensively and we’re at home, so we expect to win,” said Revs goalkeeper Matt Turner, who has surrendered eight goals in seven matches with two clean sheets.
After a season-opening loss, Kansas City is unbeaten in seven straight matches (5-0-2) after a 6-0 thrashing of the nine-man Vancouver Whitecaps on April 20.
Johnny Russell scored in the 10th and 18th minutes before wrapping up his first MLS hat trick in the 48th minute. He was named the league’s player of the week Tuesday.
“It’s always great, from a personal point of view, to score a goal. But to get three points was really important for me, and I’m glad I could contribute to a great team performance, and a great win,” the Scottish forward told the league’s official website.
Russell is among seven players with five goals this season — one behind Atlanta’s Josef Martinez.
“He’s starting to like this place and that’s a good thing. He’s getting his rhythm so it’s good,” Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said of Russell on the league’s official website.
New England may have an answer for Russell in Teal Bunbury, who has collected three goals in the last four matches to tie Diego Fagundez for the team lead. Bunbury scored 19 goals in 89 games with Sporting KC and the Kansas City Wizards between 2010 and 2013.
He also has scored three goals in his last five matches versus Sporting.