MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013
(All times Eastern)
Kansas City (0-0-0) at New England (0-0-0), 8 p.m.
Foxborough, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New England Revolution will be eager
to get a jump on things against Sporting Kansas City when the two sides
collide at Gillette Stadium on Saturday in the first leg of their Eastern
Conference semifinal series.
The Revs have had their troubles with Sporting in recent years, as the team
brings a 501-minute scoring drought against Kansas City into the series.
No Revolution player has scored against Peter Vermes' team since Rajko Lekic
on July 30, 2011, a streak that spans five regular-season matches.
But Revs defender A.J. Soares is not concerned with his side's struggles in
front of goal against Sporting, and he believes what has happened in the past
will have no bearing on Saturday's contest.
"I'm not worried about that," Soares told MLSsoccer.com. "I've never thought
about that. We're a different team today than we were last week. And we're a
different team than we were four months ago. It's nothing that we're worried
New England enters the series in good form having gone 4-0-2 to close out the
regular season, a run that included three successive wins at the end of the
campaign to help the team secure a playoff berth.
And head coach Jay Heaps thinks that run will only help his side as the
pressure increases in the postseason.
"We have had pressure-packed games leading up to this," said Heaps. "I think
that we've certainly ramped up the intensity over the last few weeks because
we did know that any slip-up, not getting certain points, would've cost us a
Sporting is a team that is also in top form entering the postseason, having
earned 10 of a possible 12 points from its final four games.
Defender Matt Besler signed a contract extension with the club earlier this
season, and this time of year is the reason he chose to stay in Kansas City.
"This is what you play for," Besler said off playoff time. "It's why I came
back, why I signed an extension. It's not because I'm from here and I wanted
to stay in my hometown and live in my hometown. I love that, but the main
reason I stayed here is that I wanted to win a championship with Sporting KC.
I think we have the group to do it and I want to be a part of it."
That run begins Saturday at New England, where Sporting earned a 0-0 draw in
March before downing the Revs 3-0 at home in August.
11/01 14:56:11 ET