FOXBOROUGH — The first game in the Revolution’s post-Shalrie Joseph era provided reminders of Joseph’s value to the team.
Sporting Kansas City’s 1-0 victory Saturday night extended the Revolution’s winless streak to five games, the third time they have been shut out in that streak.
But the Revolution did not so much lack Joseph’s ability to create scoring chances as his physical presence in midfield. Sporting Kansas City (12-7-4, 40 points) set the tone with some strong play in the opening half, capitalized on a turnover for a Teal Bunbury goal in the 20th minute, and caused the Revolution to stumble through the rest of the match.
“I felt every time we got around the ball there was a foul,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “We’re one of the most fouled teams in the league and played against the team that fouls the most and the referee allowed it, simple as that. It was a little bizarre — both teams have two yellow cards and it was 21-12 in fouls. You can write whatever you want. I’m going to look at the tape, but it’s bizarre.”
The Revolution (6-11-5, 23 points) have attempted to play a skill-based game this season, but they failed to move the ball quickly enough to unsettle the Kansas City defense. Nor were the Revolution able to make the visitors pay when they did earn free kicks.
“No one in this league’s as fast as the ball,” said midfielder Clyde Simms, who captained the Revolution. “Unfortunately, it’s tough on that [artificial] turf, the ball bounces on us and it was definitely tough for us tonight. We try to keep the ball on the ground and keep it moving. We think we’re good at that but, unfortunately, we weren’t as good with the ball tonight.
“I think the way we get better is to get chemistry and stick with our guns and keep working . . . make teams come in here and worry about us for a change.”
Bunbury capitalized on a Revolution turnover off a throw-in, slipping past Simms, then flicking the ball over Stephen McCarthy and running in alone on goal. Bunbury drew out goalkeeper Matt Reis and slotted the shot into the right side of the net.
“That was definitely my fault,” Simms said. “On a normal grass field I feel like the ball doesn’t bounce that high — of course, it does on the turf. I tried to head it back to [McCarthy] and I couldn’t get enough on it.”
Fernando Cardenas replaced Florian Lechner after halftime for the Revolution and made an immediate impact, splitting the defense with a run through the middle of the field to set up Chris Tierney for a cross. But Dimitry Imbongo’s open header went high in the 49th minute.
But Cardenas seldom was involved after that. And the Revolution failed to find leading scorer Saer Sene, who was stranded on the right in a 4-3-3 formation.
“It would have been nice to get the win and solidify the work ethic we’ve had during the week,” midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. “It was 3 points we need desperately.”