MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
09/02/2014 5:43 PM
09/02/2014 5:52 PM
Kansas City (12-8-6) at New England (10-12-3), 7:30 p.m.
Foxborough, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Sporting Kansas City will embark on a three-game road swing beginning with a trip to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Revolution on Wednesday.
It could be coming at the perfect time for the reigning MLS Cup champions, who suffered a 3-1 home loss to the Houston Dynamo on Friday. It marked the first time that the club has dropped consecutive league games at Sporting Park.
Sporting's next two games will be vital as the club will follow Wednesday's clash with another clash against Eastern Conference opposition in Red Bull New York. Kansas City will then wrap up the road trip with a very winnable contest against Chivas USA at the StubHub Center on Sept. 12.
"I'm looking forward to it," said young SKC goalkeeper Jon Kempin. "It'll be two competitive games that are very important for us. We've taken a step back, now it's time to go to training, fix things, and get some positive result on the road."
Training will also be key for SKC as the club conceded two goals to Houston on set pieces.
"Eventually we'll get it right," Sporting head coach Peter Vermes said after the match. "Two set pieces, especially the second and third one, were two situations that were routine plays again. On the second one (Lawrence) Olum misses his mark, just stands there, and he gets in free. On the third one we didn't have the number of people we should have and it was just too easy. It was three soft goals from our perspective."
New England, meanwhile, appears to be finding its form following a run of nine defeats in 10 games. The Revs have taken seven points from their last three outings, winning their last two contests.
Defense has been the impetus behind the club's recent run of form as the Revs kept back-to-back clean sheets in wins over Chivas and Toronto FC.
"Obviously every team wants to have a 26-pass sequence like (the Los Angeles Galaxy); that's what you strive for," said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. "But at the same time, the game is played defensively. You've got to roll up your sleeves and put the work in. More times than not, when you do that, it's going to be a good game."
Wednesday's clash against Sporting will be the first in a three-game home stand for New England, every one of which comes against Eastern Conference opposition. The Revs will return to action against the Chicago Fire on Sunday before welcoming the Montreal Impact to Gillette on Sept. 13.
It is a crucial stretch for New England, which enters the weekend in third place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points. The third-place position certainly bodes well for the club's playoff chances, but Heaps' men are only two points clear of the postseason cut-off, meaning any slip could hurt them.
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