Both teams are within striking distance of the Eastern Conference Finals, but Sporting enters the second leg with more work to do.
Sporting Kansas City may have been the better team for most of its Eastern Conference Semifinal first leg against New England on Saturday, but the club will have to do better to advance to the Conference Finals after dropping the match, 2-1.
Finishing has been a problem for Peter Vermes’ side and the manager’s decision to start forward Teal Bunbury up top did little to correct the issue for the visitors. The team's only goal Saturday came from Aurelian Colin, who was able to score from a play set up off a free kick just after the Revolution’s second goal. That tally may prove vital with the regular season runner-up needing at least one regulation goal to move on.
The victory will have Jay Heaps’ team looking to spoil Sporting’s hopes of avoiding the early playoff exit it fell victim to during the two previous seasons. Andy Dorman, a veteran defensive midfielder who Heaps has relied upon in the latter stages of the season, scored the opener while one of the bevy of young attackers the Revolution boast, Kelyn Rowe, put in the winner. Rowe also helped in the setup of the first goal in a Man of the Match performance.
Lawrence Olum and Peterson Joseph will both miss the match for Sporting Kansas City with Olum, who started the first leg as the left midfielder in Vermes’ 4-3-3, sustaining a leg injury and Joseph missing because of an undisclosed issue. The lack of options in midfield could mean a return to the starting lineup for Benny Feilhaber, who Sporting acquired from the Revs before the season.
The Revolution have little reason to change from Saturday, especially after Dorman shined in the first leg. The club will, however, need to reverse some history if it’s to win the Wednesday decider. New England has never won in Sporting Park with the most recent meeting, an August 10 fixture this year, ending in a 3-0 Kansas City romp.