FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – An alert piece of play by Teal Bunbury handed Sporting Kansas City a first victory in four matches with a 1-0 win over New England at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
Bunbury took advantage of a loose sequence by the Revolution in midfield to create his own breakaway opportunity and polish off his fourth goal of the season in the 20th minute.
That goal proved more than enough to decide the match on a night where neither side quite found its footing, but the manner of the victory won't trouble a Sporting side (12-7-4) that joined Houston atop the Eastern Conference standings with the three points. New England (6-11-5), however, will have to plenty to ponder as it marked the first match of the post-Shalrie Joseph era with a fourth defeat in five games.
Neither side quite found its stride during a stagnant first half, but Sporting Kansas City still managed to pounce on a series of Revolution errors to grasp the lead after 20 minutes.
A series of loose touches in midfield ultimately ended with Clyde Simms trying to nod a bouncing ball back to Stephen McCarthy. Bunbury nipped in before McCarthy could avert the danger and streaked into the penalty area. The US international striker kept his cool at the crucial moment and slotted home his fourth goal of the season.
New England attempted to reply with a series of free kick chances prompted by Dimitry Imbongo's toil up front, but the Revs went into the locker room searching for a spark in the second half.
Imbongo should have provided it five minutes into the second half. Halftime substitute Fernando Cárdenas meandered through midfield and played Chris Tierney down the left side. Tierney clipped his cross into the penalty area. Imbongo found plenty of space between the center backs, but he somehow managed to direct his header over the bar from six yards.
Sporting managed to persevere for the remainder of the choppy half to snatch a first win in four attempts and claim the perfect result ahead of Wednesday's Open Cup final with Seattle. New England return to action on Aug. 12 against Montreal.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Teal Bunbury||Pesky and physical all night up top for Sporting, with a cool and classy finish.|
|2||Seth Sinovic||Despite a huge size disadvantage, Sporting's left back marginalized the Revs' Saer Sene.|
|3||Chris Tierney||Energetic through the match and provided good service on several occasions, one of the few bright spots in a disjointed Revs attack.|