FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Rajko Lekic scored his first MLS goal in the 83rd minute to hand New England a 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Gillette Stadium. The goal capped a second-half Revs comeback after Kei Kamara had given the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Marko Perovic opened the scoring for the home side by curling home Benny Feilhaber's feed after 12 minutes, but Kamara equalized two minutes later by beating Matt Reis inside the near post.
Kamara picked up his second on the other side of halftime, and handed his Sporting its first lead by thumping home a disputed penalty with 20 minutes left after Kevin Alston appeared to clip Teal Bunbury in the area.
The Revs comeback began almost immediately. Shalrie Joseph headed New England level in the 72nd minute off a Kenny Mansally free kick, and four minutes later Sporting were reduced to 10 men. A controversial red card to KC’s new defender, Aurélien Collin, in the 76th minute opened up the game and set up Lekic’s heroics.
The Danish striker, playing in just his second MLS game, got his head to a Zak Boggs' cross from the right flank, looping it over Sporting keeper Jimmy Nielsen. The goal gave the Revs their second win of 2011.
New England coach Steve Nicol handed Feilhaber his full debut after making three changes to the side that lost 1-0 in Houston last Sunday. Joseph returned as a forward in a 4-4-2 formation designed to divert some of the holdup burden from Lekic, while Feilhaber assumed a deeper role alongside Stephen McCarthy. Didier Domi returned from a left hamstring injury to displace Darrius Barnes at left back.
Collin made his Sporting KC debut by partnering Matt Besler in central defense, and was the only switch from Sporting’s 1-0 defeat to Columbus last Saturday.
Feilhaber marked his MLS debut with an assist on Perovic’s opener after 12 minutes, and later was responsible for drawing the red card on Collin. Collin and Feilhaber tangled after the former had clashed with Reis on a cross into the box. When confronted by Feilhaber, the Frenchman appeared to elbow the Revolution midfielder and saw straight red.
New England move to 2-2-3 on the year, while Sporting fall to 1-3-1. Both teams are in action next Saturday as the Revs travel to Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA, while Sporting face Eastern Conference rivals New York Red Bulls at New York.
NE -- Marko Perovic 1 (Benny Feilhaber 1) 12
KC -- Kei Kamara 2 (Teal Bunbury 1) 14
KC -- Kei Kamara 3 (unassisted) 69
NE -- Shalrie Joseph 3 (Kenny Mansally 1) 72
NE -- Rajko Lekic 1 (Zak Boggs 1) 83
Sporting KC -- Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Matt Besler, Aurelian Collin, Roger Espinoza, Kei Kamara (Ryan Smith 87), Birahim Diop, C.J. Sapong, Milos Stojcev (Graham Zusi 58), Davy Arnaud, Teal Bunbury (Shavar Thomas 78).
Substitutes Not Used: Korede Aiyegbusi, Stephane Auvray, Craig Rocastle, Eric Kronberg.
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Didier Domi, Franco Coria, A.J. Soares, Kevin Alston, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy (Zack Schilawski 64), Rajko Lekic, Marko Perovic (Kenny Mansally 60), Zak Boggs.
Substitutes Not Used: Darrius Barnes, Ryan Cochrane, Ousmane Dabo, Chris Tierney, Bobby Shuttleworth.
NE -- Stephen McCarthy (caution; Reckless Tackle) 19
KC -- Aurelian Collin (caution; Reckless Foul) 23
NE -- Marko Perovic (caution; Dissent) 42
KC -- Matt Besler (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48
KC -- Michael Harrington (caution; Tactical Foul) 54
KC -- Aurelian Collin (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 75
NE -- Kenny Mansally (caution; Reckless Foul) 79
NE -- Rajko Lekic (caution; Shirt Removal) 84
NE -- Shalrie Joseph (caution; Reckless Foul) 93+
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee's Assistants: -Rob Fereday; James Conlee
4th Official: Mark Kadlecik
Time of Game: 1:55