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Lekic nets first as Revs top Sporting KC

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Benny Feilhaber got the start and most of the headlines this week, but it was the New England Revolution's other recent signing that made the difference at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.

Danish striker Rajko Lekic headed home the first goal of his MLS career in the 83rd minute to give the Revs a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City, their first since the second week of the season. The win improves the Revolution to 2-2-3 (9 points) on the season, while Sporting falls to 1-3-1 (4 points).

Sporting finished the match with 10 men after defender Aurelien Collin was sent off for punching Feilhaber during a skirmish in the Revs' penalty area in the 76th minute. The replay showed Birahim Diop is the player to make contact with Feilhaber, not Collin, after Feilhaber initially instigated the situation.

After the match, Sporting head coach Peter Vermes said he hadn't seen the incident, but he did see a change in his team's performance after the sending off.

"That's kind of been our story this whole season," Vermes said. "With 11 men on the field, we have good results. With 10 men on the field, we don't."

Before Lekic's winner, the clubs had traded goals in rapid succession on either side of halftime. After Kei Kamara had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the 69th minute, Shalrie Joseph headed home the equalizer for the Revs off of a Kenny Mansally free kick in the 72nd.

Joseph started the match as a second striker, playing just behind Lekic for most of the game, rather than in his usual spot in central midfield. The change seemed to give New England an attacking flair it has lacked so far this season, but it left the club's midfield without its steadiest presence. The Revs midfield and backline turned the ball over several times in the first half, leading to a number of quality chances for Sporting.

Revolution head coach Steve Nicol said the change was intended to help his side maintain possession, but it didn't quite function the way he had intended. The Revs were outshot 12 to five in the first half.

"We wanted to put pressure on Kansas," Nicol said. "We wanted to get the ball wide and get it in the box and push them back. And we felt if we could do that then we could start passing the ball. It didn't quite work that way, but that was the plan."

Though he didn't find the back of the net, Feilhaber was a key cog in the Revs attack from the start, assisting on the opening goal in the 12th minute. The midweek signing collected a poor cross from SKC defender Michael Harrington just inside the 18-yard box and laid the ball off to Marko Perovic. The Serbian struck a looping first-time shot past Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen for his first goal of the season.

Before the match, Nicol had said Feilhaber would play, but didn't indicate whether he would start or not. The midfielder ended up playing the full 90 minutes, a feat Nicol attributed to his experience.

"His fitness wasn't really a concern it was just his sharpness since he hadn't really trained all week," Nicol said. "He's smart, he's experienced, and he saves his legs by making the ball do all the work. It was obvious he was cruising, and there was no way he was coming off."

The visitors tied the match at 1 in the 14th minute when Teal Bunbury took down a long goal kick from 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen and laid off to Kei Kamara. Revs defender Didier Domi was slow to close down the space, and Kamara took advantage, lacing a low, hard shot from roughly 20 yards out that beat Matt Reis to the near post.

Sporting's best chance to equalize the final result came in the 90th minute, when defender Roger Espinoza drove a low shot through traffic that Reis spilled at the six-yard box. The keeper was fortunate to recover before Shavar Thomas could pounce on the rebound.

Both clubs will play their next matches on the road on Saturday. The Revs travel to the Home Depot Center to face Chivas USA, while Sporting KC will visit the New York Red Bulls.


  1. that ref, even when he made the correct call, he was clearly out of position. i dont get it, im actually shocked he got as many call correct as he did

  2. And here we are with the refs again. Somebody pushed someone in that scrum, and it looks like more contact than got Shalrie redded a few weeks ago. Reserving judgment until maybe watching a closer replay again, but I think someone needed red there. (Then, compare to the shove in the RM/Barca game, which also should have seen red…)

    I’ll say as well, lest anyone think I’m too biased, that I think that Feilhaber should have seen yellow for jumping over Collin while he was on the ground.

    Then again, I think the penalty decision was harsh. Alston (who did NOT have a good game overall) caught him, but the ball was out of play.

    We talk about how we just want consistency from the refs. It’s not an easy job, but I’d like to see us achieve a little quality as well.

  3. The refereeing was consistently bad throughout the game. The penalty that was awarded to SKC was very suspect.

    I think that in general the MLS refs are too quick to give cards early in the game. It gets to the point where they have to give cards for any questionable challenge.

  4. Americans getting excited about a danish is nothing new. If anything we should be cutting back on the number of danishes we consume. Isn’t that why NE teams up with united health care in the first place. Less danish, more exercise.

  5. KC can appeal the red card though, right? Especially since it was to the wrong player, even ignoring the question of if a red was deserved or not (I didn’t see it but from people’s comments it sounds like it wasn’t).

  6. clueless mls refs yet again, seriously, the red was a pure reaction to players flopping, clearly the ref had no idea who did what.

  7. It’s nice to see the Revs finally get rid of their ugly name across their shirt and hop on board with an ad that will generate a little income for them.

  8. What a crazy day…I saw Torres score a goal then if it wasnt alrdy a topsy tervy day Chad Barret scored….must be a full moon and some planets aligned tonight…


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