Wednesday, May 25, the New England Revolution will battle Sporting Kansas City in their final play-in match for a berth in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Blue Valley District Activities Complex in Kansas. The winner earns a place in the third round (round of 16) of the formal U.S. Open Cup bracket, which begins June 28.
New England (3-4-3, 13 pts, -4) is 11th in the regular season standings in the 18-team League and SPKC (1-6-1, 4 pts, -7) is rooted firmly in last place with only four points and the worst negative goal differential in MLS. New England and Sporting met on April 23 at Gillette, with a 3-2 result favoring the home team.
Wednesday, Sporting KC will finally play it’s first 2011 home game for fans after playing nine-straight games on the road. There’s likely to be a good crowd and lots of support for the newly-branded team, currently building their own spccer specific stadium. Sporting will be collecting donations for residents recovering from the recent tornado in Joplin, Missouri, the hometown of Portland Timbers Jack Jewsbury.
What to expect
This Saturday, three days after the Open Cup play-in match, New England return to Gillette Stadium to host the LA Galaxy, so it’s likely coach Steve Nicol will play his B team versus Sporting on Wednesday. Nicol will have to reach deep into the roster given that three of his top players – forward Marko Perovic, midfielder Ousmane Dabo, and defender Didier Domi are injured and likely unavailable. Dabo has only played one of the team’s 11 games this season and Perovic has only played four.
In addition, both U.S. Men’s National Team’s Benny Feilhaber and Granadian Shalrie Joseph have been called up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and will look to avoid risk of injury. Both will definitely be unavailable for the June 4 game versus Dallas and the June 10 game versus New York and also three additional games should their national teams advance in the tournament.
Revolution to face former teammate Sinovic
In Kansas, New England are likely to face their former teammate and left-back Seth Sinovic, who was re-signed in January 18, curiously waived on March 31, and then signed by Sporting on May 10 to fortify their defense. Sinovic, 24, was seventh among all MLS rookies in most minutes in League play in 2010.
After being drafted in the second-round (25th overall) of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Sinovic featured in all four SuperLiga games and helped the team reach the championship final versus Monarcas Morelia. He started 18 out of his 20 games, played 1,580 minutes, committed 13 fouls and received only three yellow cards.
Nicol replaced Sinovic with expensive French defender Domi, who has been frequently injured and only appeared in six of the team’s eleven games and with mixed results.
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