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Watch: Revolution-Sporting KC recap

Posted by Staff  March 23, 2013 04:16 PM

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Final, 0-0: The Revolution might have gotten the better of the play, but their scoring chances were few and far between in their home-opener on Saturday afternoon. With their top two forwards missing from the lineup and an atmosphere at Gillette Stadium that provided unpredictable winds, getting a clean impression of this new Revolution team might have been difficult. But grinding out a physical game against a tough opponent, and earning a point in the process, is always a positive.

The takeaway... Hold your breath. The Revolution do have goal-scorers on this team. Jerry Bengtson (with the Honduras national team) and Saer Sene (recovering from knee surgery) can each cause defenders fits. The creativity in the midfield is fun to watch. This team is capable of playing European-style soccer, with fast-moving passes on the ground and a focus on possession. It should get better.

The big picture... The Revolution (1-1-1) moved into a tie with D.C. United for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They host F.C. Dallas next Saturday at 4 p.m.

Across the field... The offense: Chad Barrett was solid in his Revolution debut, with his high-energy style of play appreciated in a windy game that saw the ball spend a lot of time in the air. Coach Jay Heaps said Barrett played good, but he was subbed out for Ryan Guy in the 64th minute because Barrett is not yet in the best shape. He was a late arrival to training camp. With the windy conditions, the game was generally a tough one for forwards.

The midfield: The defensive midfield, with Clyde Simms and Scott Caldwell, played solid. They pushed possession up the field and were quick to clear out the chances Sporting KC presented. They were beat occasionally by Benny Felihaber, but overall won the battle. The offensive midfield, with Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe and Juan Toja, generated consistent possession. They were often a bit sloppy, creative in their play production but without the finishing effort. That's to be expected this early in the season. The signs were positive. This is also where Diego Fagundez and Andy Dorman can add value in a different type of game. Heaps said he considered bringing each of them on the field in the 65th minute, but decided against it. Heaps said the risk of losing something defensively didn't out-weight the possible reward. The rhythm of the game wasn't heading in a direction that favored the crafty Fagundez, in particular.

The defense: This was where the Revolution were at their best on Saturday. Across the back four, Kevin Alston, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares and Andrew Farrell were impressive, not only at preventing chances, but often creating them with productive passing. At one point, Farrell, the top overall pick in last year's draft, was caught too far up the field and KC's Claudio Bieler earned a breakaway seconds later. But the aggression that Farrell has shown, and the fact that Heaps is OK with his outside backs getting forward, shows that this Revolution team should be more offensive than those of the past.

Take the explanation from goalkeeper Matt Reis: "We want to encourage our outside guys to go and thatís why we have Clyde and Scotty there to help us. And we balance out with those three guys (in the attacking midfield) to help us ... Itís always a cat and mouse game and itís always a situation where we have to be turned on for 90 minutes, because you saw the one chance they got was just a direct ball played over the top."

The goalkeeping: The 37-year-old Reis played a good game, stopping Bieler on a breakaway and earning his second shutout in as many games this season. Young Bobby Shuttleworth should challenge Reis for playing time, but the veteran appears to have the job for now.

Quote of the day... Coach Jay Heaps: "For me, Kansas City is one of the best teams at grinding out a game like that. And I think it showed a lot of our guys, coming out and fighting them and making it a difficult battle."

77th minute, 0-0: Toja bent a free kick from about 22 yards out, but it sailed just over the crossbar. The Revs have officially recorded their first shot. One more needed to tie the franchise-low.

73rd minute, 0-0: Bieler found himself all alone at the top of the box after an over-the-top pass, but Reis made an outstanding play, rushing out and swatting Bieler's shot away.

71st minute, 0-0: It might have been overdue, but Felihaber just took a yellow card for diving. The theatrical midfielder went down in the box and the official whistled immediately. Simms was livid, thinking he had given up a penalty, but a pleading Felihaber was instead given the Ronaldo treatment.

64th minute, 0-0: The Revs made their first sub, sending midfielder Ryan Guy into the game for Barrett, whose playing style just didn't seem to match the flow of this game. Guy pushed Toja to the lone striker role. KC's Peterson Joseph entered the game for Saad.

60th minute, 0-0: Rookie right back Andrew Farrell is caught too high on the field, trying to join the attack, and KC almost makes him pay. Saad again got loose down that wing and swung a pass to Claudio Bieler, but Bieler's one-time shot sailed over the net. You appreciate Farrell's willingness to get forward, but the Revs have to compensate when he does.

57th minute, 0-0: The Revs, who made no changes at halftime, have continued the pressure in the second half, but still have yet to record a shot. They're flirting with the franchise record for least amount of shots in a game, which is two.

Halftime, 0-0. Three lines:
Revs' 18... KC hasn't had too many chances aside from a throw-in that bounced around and landed at Sapong's foot, but his shot deflected off the crossbar. Look for them to start playing shorter balls to feet as opposed to banging over-the-top passes that have resulted in nothing.

Midfield... Aside from Felihaber running around like he's playing against his former team or something, the Revs have dominated possession in the middle third. Scott Caldwell and Clyde Simms have done an excellent job pushing the ball forward, where Lee Nguyen and Juan Toja have been able to string together a few passes.

KC's 18... This is where the Revs have struggled. Barrett has been an energizer, stretching the defense with his constant movement, but his touches haven't been clean when playing with his back to the goal. The Revs, who ended the half with zero shots for just the 10th time in franchise history, may need to make an adjustment that plays to Barrett's strengths, or get someone with more creativity up there who can handle the ball and redistribute.

The Revs are controlling possession. They need a goal to show for it.

30th minute, 0-0: Kevin Alston out-hustled KC's Mechack Jerome to a loose ball and earned himself a free kick. Jerome was two days too late on the tackle and was issued a yellow card. Nothing came from the free kick for the Revs, who have the better of possession thus far.

22nd minute, 0-0: The Revs get two corner kicks, but the wind is making it tricky to find friendly noggins off set pieces.

19th minute, 0-0: A long throw in from KC landed at the feet of Sapong, who banged a shot that deflected off Clyde Simms and bounced off the crossbar and out.

16th minute, 0-0: The game's first scoring chance is started off the foot of former Revolution midfielder Benny Felihaber. Felihaber hit Soony Saad on a through pass down the left side and Saad quickly found C.J. Sapong running through the box, but Sapong's one-time shot sailed wide.

12th minute, 0-0: A scare for the Revs on a back-pass to keeper Matt Reis that bounced around due to the high winds. Reis chased it down and was able to find an outlet to prevent the scoring chance.

6th minute, 0-0:
Chad Barrett (42 goals in 194 MLS games) is already impressing in his first start as the lone forward. Even without the ball, Barrett's high-energy game has kept the KC defense on its toes and forced pressure when the defenders have the ball.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Corner Kicks: Julian Cardillo offers insight and analysis about the New England Revolution as well as European and international soccer.

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