Sporting Kansas City-Revolution Preview

The New England Revolution and Sporting Kansas City were each

shut out last weekend.

There’s reason to believe both clubs will have better success as

they square off Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution (1-2-3) will have midfielders Shalrie Joseph and

Pat Phelan back after each served a one-match suspension in last

Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Houston for receiving red cards the previous

week.

The two are big parts of New England’s offense. Joseph leads the

Revolution with two goals, while Phelan had played a team-high 445

minutes prior to sitting out last week.

Joseph also had the lone score in New England’s 1-0 win over

Kansas City on Oct. 16, the last meeting between these teams. The

clubs split last season’s two-game series, with each team winning

at home.

In addition to getting two of their top offensive players back,

the Revolution will also be going up against a Sporting Kansas City

team that has allowed a league-worst 2.25 goals per game.

Sporting KC’s defense got a little break last Saturday facing a

Columbus team mired in an offensive funk.

Although the Crew have had some trouble scoring, they’ve had no

problems shutting down opponents. Sporting KC suffered a 1-0 loss

last week as Columbus set a team record with a fourth straight

shutout.

Sporting KC (1-2-1), which had scored eight goals in its first

three games, managed just two shots on goal against the Crew’s

stout defense.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half. I felt like

we created the chances we usually create and in the back we were

pretty solid and didn’t give anything away,” defender Matt Besler

said. “We wanted to come out in the second half and raise the level

and keep playing the way we were, but we may have dropped just a

little bit.”

Sporting KC likely should have better luck versus the

Revolution, although Matt Reis has been solid in goal.

Reis, who has stopped 20 of 24 shots on goal in four games this

season, returned to action Sunday after sitting out New England’s

previous two matches because of a right adductor strain. The

14-year veteran made a season-high six saves, and the Dynamo’s lone

goal came on a fluky play in the 86th minute.

After Houston’s Cam Weaver’s header deflected off the crossbar

and straight up, Hunter Freeman managed to beat Reis for position

and tap the ball in. New England was convinced the ball hit

Freeman’s hand during the process.

“There were a lot of chances on both sides, and unfortunately

it’s just a questionable decision that’s the result of the game,”

Revolution defender Ryan Cochrane said. “The ball just didn’t

bounce our way. I think we were a bit unlucky to not come out with

a tie in the game.”

Newly acquired Danish forward Rajko Lekic made his MLS debut

last week for New England and played all 90 minutes. The Revolution

also could have midfielder Benny Feilhaber available for this

match.

Feilhaber, a member of last year’s U.S. World Cup team, was

added Tuesday through Major League Soccer’s Allocation Process.