Well, just like Murphy’s Law, what could go wrong did go wrong for Sporting Kansas City this past weekend in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Sporting KC has seemed to struggle in New England. Except for a 1-0 win in 2012, SKC hadn’t won in New England since 2008. So while the experts predicted a Sporting victory or at worse, a draw, history showed that it wasn’t going to be that easy and the game showed that.
The game began rather slowly but credit must be given to New England. Sporting typically likes to dominate possession and passing but the Revolution gave it right back to KC. Granted, New England had more possession in the 20 minutes after Aurelien Collin’s red card but at 48% possession, the Revolution definitely weren’t afraid of facing the former champions.
The turning point of the game happened in the 74th minute as Aurelien Collin got a straight red card for a studs up challenge on Diego Fagundez. The red call seemed more of a reputation call to me. Even though this is his only other red card in 2011 (ironically in New England against the Revolution), he has the reputation for getting a lot of cards which he does. Collin isn’t the kind of guy who shies away from getting a yellow card but seems to have the discipline to draw the line before getting to the point where he’s deserving of a red. This, along with it being the referee’s 2nd MLS game, led to Collin getting the straight red. On the surface, it looked like a soft red and should’ve been a yellow. Even the New England broadcast team questioned the red so that’s when you know it’s a rather bad call.
Anyway, bad call or not, the game continued with Sporting down a man for the last 20 minutes. In addition to looking at past history when it comes to Sporting rarely winning in Foxborough, it’s important to look at how Sporting seems to give up points very late in games. This has been going on a lot since 2011 and so many points have been leaked late in stoppage time. New England used both instances to get the go ahead goal in the 92nd minute to cement the victory. In what seemed like a fairytale ending, longtime Sporting KC player Teal Bunbury broke his scoreless streak and scored his first goal for the Revolution against his old team. Some Sporting fans said he was disrespectful by celebrating against his former team but I felt it was okay. Teal hadn’t scored since 2012, first since his ACL tear, and scored the game winning goal so that in itself was elating for him. I think I’m going to give him a pass because I think I would’ve done the exact same thing if I persevered under that kind of pressure. New England got another goal due to a PK from an Oriol Rosell handball in the box (which should’ve been a straight red) to make it a 2-0 New England victory.
In the end, I think this game is better for Sporting fans and players to just forget about it and move on. While some of the calls didn’t go Sporting’s way, the Revolution deserved the points and Sporting will live to fight another day. The SKC players may rue the missed chances they had, but they can turn it around against a great Columbus Crew team this Sunday at 4:00 eastern on NBC Sports Network. The top 2 teams in the Eastern Conference will battle it out this weekend with key points on the line.