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The New England Revolution equaled their club record unbeaten run last weekend with a 2-2 draw against D.C. United on the road, a seventh game without loss though they are still stuck in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They play host to a Kansas City Wizards club on the back half of a two-game road swing, their losing streak stretched to three games at midweek with a late loss to the Columbus Crew as they once again lost an opportunity to move atop the Western Conference.
REFEREE: Ricardo Valenzuela. SAR (bench): Jorge de la Bandera; JAR (opposite): Bahij Salman; 4th: Gus St. Silva
MLS Career: 56 games; FC/gm: 34.9; Y/gm: 4.7; R: 24; pens: 17
Games involving Revolution: P9 W2 L7 T0; FC/gm: 39.7; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 2; pens: 2
Games involving Wizards: P9 W6 L3 T0; FC/gm: 27.9; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 3; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: MD Clint Dempsey (broken jaw); DF Carlos Llamosa (L knee sprain); FW Joe-Max Moore (R knee sprain); GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); DF Joe Franchino (R hip strain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Adin Brown (concussion) ... KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: MD Chris Klein (L knee torn ACL); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jose Burciaga Jr. (L hamstring); FW Josh Wolff (L knee inflammation)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: NE: Avery John (20 CP)
ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Revolution 7 wins (1 shootout), 26 goals ... Wizards 11 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals ... 2 draws
AT GILLETTE STADIUM: Revolution 4 wins (1 shootout), 14 goals ... Wizards 5 wins, 19 goals ... 1 draw
The clubs face off for the third and final time this season, the second of two in Foxborough. Each team has won once this season, each at the other's ground.
In the last meeting on June 19 at Gillette Stadium, Kansas City came away with a 3-1 victory. The Wizards remained unbeaten through the first four games of their five-match road swing as rookie Matt Taylor came off the bench to score two goals.
Davy Arnaud drove home a rebound of a swerving Francisco Gomez shot that Revs 'keeper Adin Brown failed to hold (41) to give Kansas City a first-half lead, then seven minutes after coming on, Taylor finished off a fine counter when he tapped home from close range (70).
A diving header from Clint Dempsey, his third goal of the season, gave the Revolution life when he pulled a goal back four minutes later. But the Wizards sent the home side to a third consecutive defeat and kept them mired with the league's worst overall record when Taylor finished off another counter with a clinical strike from just inside the area three minutes into stoppage time.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Adin Brown - Jay Heaps, Avery John, Marshall Leonard - Felix Brillant, Andy Dorman, Brian Kamler (Richie Baker 30), Steve Ralston - Jose Cancela - Pat Noonan, Clint Dempsey.
Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Tony Meola - Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Alex Zotinca - Francisco Gomez, Diego Gutierrez, Jose Burciaga Jr., Diego Walsh (Matt Taylor 63/Khari Stephenson 94+) - Chris Klein, Davy Arnaud.
The Revolution won 3-2 on June 2 at Arrowhead Stadium, scoring two goals in the final five minutes.
Pat Noonan brought the injury-wracked Revolution back from the dead, scoring twice in the final five minutes to cap a hat trick in the victory. Noonan gave the Revs a 16th-minute lead when he headed home a Steve Ralston cross, but Josh Wolff's mis-hit shot from close range pulled the home side level (33) then Davy Arnaud was quickest to an ill-advised back pass, looping it over New England 'keeper Matt Reis (37).
But Noonan stunningly struck back in the 86th minute, finally pounding the ball home from a goalmouth scramble, then just on the stroke of 90 minutes, powerfully turned home a Shalrie Joseph cross.
A year ago, the teams played to a pair of draws 17 days apart in a home-and-home matchup. At Arrowhead Stadium on May 14, the Revolution came back to snatch a last-gasp 1-1 draw with the Wizards thanks to a Taylor Twellman goal (Simutenkov 69 - Twellman 90), but then on May 31, the Wizards scored two late goals to grab a 2-2 draw at Gillette Stadium (own goal 44; Kamler 63 - Preki 72, 83)
The first meeting this year was the Revolution's first win in eight meetings between the teams. Before last year's draws, the Wizards had won five consecutive encounters between the two clubs; the last New England victory came on July 19, 2000 in Kansas City - the final game in a three-match Revs winning streak.
Late goals have been a trend in the all-time series. More than half of the goals scored in the series (32 of 58) have come in the final half hour, and of those, more than one-third (20) have come in the final 15 minutes plus.
Preki is the Wizards all-time leader in games against New England, with 8 goals, 5 assists while in Kansas City (9 goals, 7 assists for his career v the Revolution). Chris Klein and Igor Simutenkov are next among current Wizards, each with 3 goals v New England (Klein with 3 assists). Only Josh Wolff (2 goals), Davy Arnaud, Shavar Thomas and Kerry Zavagnin (1 goal each) have also scored against New England
Pat Noonan became the Rev's all-time leading goalscorer v Kansas City in one game, now with 3. Just two other players - Joe-Max Moore and Taylor Twellman - have more than one goal for the Revolution against the Wizards, and they each have just two. Moore has 2 goals, 3 assists v Kansas City, while Twellman has 2 goals, 1 assist. Steve Ralston has 1 goal, 9 assists for his career against the Wizards, just 4 assists while with New England.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol vs. KC: P6 W1 L3 D2 ... Bob Gansler v NE: P11 W6 L3 T2
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution continued their recent unbeaten run, extended it to seven games with their fifth draw in that stretch, but it was a welcome point as they came back to grab a late 2-2 draw with D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday. The Revs pulled out of last place in the Eastern Conference and a point ahead of the Chicago Fire, now with 23 points from 21 matches, still nine adrift of the leading MetroStars but just three out of second place.
A late Andy Dorman goal gave United and the Revolution a share of the spoils - and blunted the impact of a wonderful Jaime Moreno display. Steve Ralston gave the visitors the lead in the 38th minute when he skipped through a couple of tackles in the area and hooked a curling shot inside the left-hand post.
But straight off the kickoff, United equalized when Moreno tapped home from close range after the Revs failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box, then after the break, Moreno gave the home side the lead on a wonderful goal, sprung by a terrific through ball from Dema Kovalenko before rounding 'keeper Matt Reis and a defender and sliding the ball home.
Yet the Revolution had one more answer, Dorman hitting home from a corner kick after a tackle landed right at his feet in the area (85) and extending their unbeaten run.
"Talk about the ups and downs of this sport,'' Ralston said. "We were on an emotional high for about 30 seconds. To concede a goal right after we score one is tough. But I think we were tired. We played Wednesday night. We had some chances to put it away, but so did they. It was a pretty wide-open game.''
Revolution coach Steve Nicol made one change but reorganized his team after the 3-0 victory away to the Dallas Burn the previous Wednesday. Joe Franchino was ruled out through injury, meaning Jay Heaps returned to the lineup at right back as Nicol was finally able to run out something approaching his first-choice team.
Here's Nicol's team (4-1-3-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Avery John, Rusty Pierce, Marshall Leonard (Richie Baker 67) - Shalrie Joseph - Steve Ralston, Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 85), Brian Kamler (Felix Brillant 67) - Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman
"Obviously, it builds confidence when you're not losing," said Nicol. "We've been on the road a long time [four of last five MLS games]. We're far from desperate. Nobody [in the conference] is way out ahead and nobody's safe."
For the rookie Dorman, the equalizer continued his rich vein of form, where he scored a goal and added an assist at midweek against Dallas, then the goal against United.
"One thing Andy does well is he just turns up in places, and not too many can do it," Nicol said. "He's done it twice in two games. He has a lot of qualities but that is his biggest one. He is a nice, clean-cut player, he makes runs into the [penalty area] undetected. It's not straightforward. He gets in the gap, where he's free. It's a real knack that certain people have. There are certain things you can coach and certain things you can't coach. Andy has a natural talent of getting in the box, and he's made two big finishes."
Nicol will be without captain Joe Franchino for up to the next three weeks after he suffered a hip injury against Dallas. "We had a fair idea that it would be serious," said Nicol. "We needed him to keep playing, and he did. He came off at halftime because he just couldn't go anymore. He'll be out three weeks resting up, and we'll go from there. We hope he won't need surgery. He has to sit on his backside and rest up. That's not an easy thing to do for him."
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards went down to defeat for the third consecutive match, their winless run extended to four games in league play after a 2-1 loss away to the Columbus Crew at midweek. The Wizards remain in second place in the Western Conference, once again squandering a chance to overtake the Los Angeles Galaxy, still two points behind with 32 points from 21 matches.
Preki made his return to action after missing the entire season to this point after a preseason injury, but it was Kyle Martino who at the heart of all the key moves in the Crew victory.
In the 43rd minute, Martino was taken down in the box by Wizards defender Shavar Thomas, and Ross Paule sent the Crew into the break with the lead when he converted from the penalty spot.
Just after Martino was stopped cold by Wizards 'keeper Tony Meola when he was through all alone, the Wizards raced to the other end and equalized through substitute Taylor Graham, who headed home a Diego Gutierrez cross (79) from the left.
But Martino grabbed the winner in stoppage time, ripping home a blast from just outside the area to send the Crew to victory.
"We all thought we had a tie, and from our performance, in our subjective opinion, felt that would have been a good result," Wizards head coach Bob Gansler said.
Gansler made five changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at home the previous weekend. With Jose Burciaga also out with injury, along Chris Klein, Gansler reconfigured his team with Preki in the heart of the midfield. Kerry Zavagnin was also away on international duty, meaning there were starts for Francisco Gomez and Jack Jewsbury in the center of midfield. Justin Detter also made his second start in three matches, as Igor Simutenkov returned to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Gansler's team (3-4-1-2): Tony Meola - Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Nick Garcia - Alex Zotinca, Francisco Gomez (Taylor Graham 71), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Gutierrez - Preki (Igor Simutenkov 46) - Justin Detter (Josh Wolff 63), Davy Arnaud.
"The loss had nothing to do with that (missing players). We are not into self pity. Injuries happen before the season and during the season and we need to carry on," Gansler said.
Still, Gansler was pleased to have both Simutenkov and Preki available again - especially with the loss of Klein. "Now we have to perform, but now the team has to get reacquainted," he said. "I got too cute in the first half trying to protect some folks, and it obviously opened things up for Columbus and made it easier for them."
Kerry Zavagnin was an unused substitute in the USA's 1-1 draw with Jamaica to open the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.