It was amazing that New England were able to force the game into extra time considering how bad they were in the first half. SKC dominated with 72% possession and an 11 to 2 edge in shots. It was as bad a half as New England have played all season, but goalkeeper Matt Reis was in inspired form to limit SKC to only one goal, from Aurelien Collin
Somehow Dimitry Imbongo tied the game in the 70th minute when he scored from a Kelyn Rowe free kick, but once again New England were unable to protect the led and SKC equalized nine minutes later from former Rev Seth Sinovic after Chad Barrett failed to track back.
We headed into overtime, as Sporting Kansas continued to dominate the game but Reis stood between them and victory until the 113th minute when his first mistake cost the Revs any chance of winning. After making a save Reis tried to set New England off on a quick counter attack by throwing the ball out to Diego Fagundez, but he was brushed off the ball by Feilhaber whose cross was slotted him by Bieler. Bad throw and bad defending.
New England’s season ended on a sad note as Matt Reis had to be assisted of the pitch with minutes left in the game with a suspected torn quadriceps. Reis was brilliant over the two legs and hopefully that was not the last sight we see of him in a New England shirt.
The tough loss though does not detract from what has been a good season for New England. They exceeded all expectations as Diego, Rowe, Andrew Farrell, Scott Caldwell and Jose Goncalves all had terrific season. The challenge for Heaps andf Mike Burns this offseason is to add to the young talent that they have, with a 15-goal goalscorer the biggest priority this offseason.
Random thoughts on the game
- Biggest game of the season and unfortunately for New England Kelyn Rowe, Fagundez and Lee Nguyen all played their worst games of the season as NE was overrun in midfield. New England’s inability to string more than two passes together, especially in the first half was largely due to the ineffective play of these three.
- The ineffective play of the midfield could be seen in Matt Reis’s 37% passing accuracy. Two thirds of the time that Reis cleared the ball it went straight back to SKC. Difficult to win games when that happens
- Graham Zusi was brilliant for SKC, by far the best player on the pitch, but Jay Heaps never made a tactical adjustment to mark him better or at least try and neutralize him
- Lot of positives to build on for next season. Revs have some of the best young talent in MLS and they have really grown up the last six weeks of the season. The challenge now is to build on that for next season.