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Revolution knocked out by Kansas City

Posted by Julian Cardillo  November 7, 2013 12:31 AM

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The New England Revolution's season and playoff hopes are over.

On Wednesday night, they lost, 3-1 (4-3 on aggregate) to Sporting Kansas City in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Sporting Park. Extra time was needed to decide the match even though Revolution and Kansas City traded blows in regulation time.

Aurelien Collin scored his second goal of the playoffs in the 41st minute to tie the aggregate score at 2-2. The Revolution's Dimitry Imbongo scored in the 70th minute off a freekick, but former Revolution left back Seth Sinovic scored nine minutes later to force supplemental time.

In the 23rd minute of the allotted half hour of extra time, Claudia Bieler scored the game-winner, latching onto a low cross by another former Revolution player, Benny Feilhaber.

The result ends the Revolution's first playoff run since 2009 and snaps their seven-game unbeaten run. The loss also means that the Revolution are still winless at Sporting Park. Meanwhile, Kansas City will move onto the Conference Final and play the Houston Dynamo.

Matt Reis made seven saves for the Revolution and was named the team's match MVP, though he produced the giveaway that led to Bieler's game-winning goal. As the Revolution tried for a late-game rally, Reis fell to the turf after attempting to clear a loose ball in midfield. Kansas City's Graham Zusi pounced on the ball and fired a shot off the crossbar while Reis laid on the turf, motionless, clutching his knee.

Medical staff had to help usher Reis off the field and, without substitutions remaining, right back Andrew Farrell took his place in net. Reis forced back tears as he left the field, according to a team staffer on the sideline.

Kansas City's three goals were small blemishes on an otherwise excellent performance by Reis. The goals were more indicative of the fact that the Revolution were outplayed by their hosts from start to finish. In fact, by the game's end, Kansas City had out-shot the Revolution 25-5, edged them in corners 10-1, and controlled 64 percent of the possession.

That domination started early, as Kansas City sought to erase the one-goal deficit they accrued in Game 1. In the 17th minute, Sinovic crossed to Dominic Dwyer, whose header was knocked away by a diving Reis.

The Revolution eventually caved to Kansas City in the 41st minute. Farrell deflected a cross by Chance Meyers into the path of a wide open Collin, who pounced on the loose ball by sliding it into the net off the left post.

After being dominated for the entirety of the first half, the Revolution substituted Scott Caldwell for Andy Dorman in an attempt to create more space in midfield. The switch worked, as the Revolution played a more attacking, possession-oriented game in the second half. Nevertheless, they still had to rely on Reis.

In the first 20 minutes of the second stanza, the game switched from being dominated by Kansas City into an open, end-to-end fire storm. It started in the 55th minute when Meyers crossed into the box for Feilhaber, whose open header was blocked by Reis. The ball boucned right back to Feilhaber, who headed his rebound off of Reis' fingertips again.

In the 70th minute, the Revolution caught a break. Kelyn Rowe played a freekick from the right flank into the box for Imbongo, who half volleyed the cross into the back of the net past Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. Imbongo, who managed to score despite being marked by three players, briefly returned the aggregate lead to the Revolution with his goal.

But the Revolution's edge would be short-lived. In the 79th minute, Collin sent a long ball downfield to Zusi, who was about five yards from the penalty area. Zusi flicked the ball forward to left side of the box for Sinovic, who fired the pass first-time into the back of the net for his first career goal.

The game appeared to be destined for extra time, even though Diego Fagundez clipped the crossbar with an effort from long range in the 85th minute. Kansas City came close to deciding the game late too, as Paulo Nagamura fired a low drive from the top of the box inches wide of the far post in the final minute of second half stoppage time.

Kansas City dominated extra time, though the Revolution did have one chance take the game. In the 109th minute, Lee Nguyen sprung Juan Agudelo, who cut past Matt Besler and dribbled into the penalty area. Agudelo, slightly off balance, looked up and fired a shot that Nielsen parried away.

That play was the Revolution's best of the game, aside from Imbongo's goal. And Agudelo's inability to finish ended up costing the Revolution.

In the 113th minute, Reis attempted to throw the ball to the left flank for Fagundez. But Feilhaber intercepted the pass, ran into the box, and squared the ball into the center of the area. Bieler latched onto Feilhaber's pass, firing a shot that went past Reis and into the goal to give Kansas City the decisive 4-3 aggregate goal lead.

After the goal, the Revolution had little time to tie the series. They were only given one minute of stoppage time by referee Mark Geiger and the injury to Reis forced them to subtract one defender since they were out of substitutions.

If you want to reach Julian email him at julianccardillo@gmail.com and follow him on twitter @juliancardillo

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Corner Kicks: Julian Cardillo offers insight and analysis about the New England Revolution as well as European and international soccer.

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