FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution didn't have time to allow frustration to distract them in Saturday night's 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City.
Kei Kamara dispatched his second goal of the match from the penalty spot to give Sporting a 2-1 lead after 69 minutes, and the Revs were still furious about the decision to award the penalty kick for Kevin Alston's tackle on Teal Bunbury along the end line.
The anger may not have dissipated straight away, but the Revs compartmentalized their frustration and focused on the increasingly difficult task at hand.
“Once they scored, we realized that we couldn't do anything about it,” Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We just needed to pick our level up, keep going and try to get that equalizer. Fortunately for us, we got that equalizer and the winner tonight.”
Watch: Full Match Highlights
Joseph assumed the responsibility for dragging his team back to level terms by rising highest and heading home Kenny Mansally's free kick after 72 minutes.
“Mansally served a great ball into a dangerous place,” Joseph said. “All I had to do was get a little contact on it. I saw the 'keeper leaning a little bit and I was just trying to hit it to the far corner. Luckily enough for me, I got enough on it and it went in.”
Aurélien Collin's red card four minutes later – the result of a scrum in which the French defender may have received the punishment for another player's offense of pushing Benny Feilhaber to the ground – handed the Revolution a one-man advantage and spurred the home side to go in search of all three points.
“We went in with the mind set that we needed to get three, especially at home,” Joseph said. “Once they went a man down, we definitely tried to put the pedal to the gas and start to take it a bit more to them. We definitely started to encourage and push each other to try and make sure that we got that three points and that winner.”
The decisive tally arrived in the 83rd minute as Zak Boggs found himself in acres of space on the right flank and drove a tempting cross toward the near post. Rajko Lekic ran across his defender and directed his header back inside the far post to seal the victory.
“His header was fantastic,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol said of the recently signed Danish striker. “It's just a pure striker’s finish. That's what we need more of from him.”
The promising signs offered by Feilhaber and Lekic in their first home appearances gave New England goalkeeper Matt Reis enough evidence to suggest that better performances lie ahead as the Revs develop their chemistry in the coming weeks.
“It's great that we fought back,” Reis said. “You can see that the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together and you see what we can do. It's just a matter of everybody getting on the same page.”