Before dealing with one of the most important soccer matches in this city, Sporting Kansas City had to take care of business in Foxboro, Mass.
The Kansas City Star
And KC did just enough to do that in a disruptive and uninspiring 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution.
Kansas City can now turn its attention to planning for the U.S. Open Cup Final against the Seattle Sounders at Livestrong Sporting Park on Wednesday.
"I think (the win) helps no doubt," Sporting manager Peter Vermes said Saturday night. "It's a positive play, but I really don't think anything will deter from the excitement on Wednesday night. It's a totally different world: it's a cup final. And I think the guys, they sense it now, and I think our venue is going to be a pretty interesting environment, so were excited about it."
For us, we'll open up a can of Leftovers and look back at the facts, stats, notes and quotes from the Revolution match.
We'll turn our attention to the Open Cup tomorrow.
• Record update: Sporting KC is now 12-7-4 this season with 40 points. Kansas City are one win and 11 points away from matching last years wins/points marks.
• 1.74 points per game for Sporting, which is tied with Houston for tops in the East. Only San Jose (1.91) and Real Salt Lake (1.75) have better numbers.
• Houston and Kansas City are level with 40 points atop the East. Only San Jose (44) and Salt Lake (42) have more points.
• The road has been kind to KC this year, Saturday was the team's sixth road win this year and the fourth in its last five away matches.
• Kansas City is the only team in the Eastern Conference with a positive goal differential on the road (+2). You guessed it, San Jose (+4) is the only team with a better road goal differential.
• In their only match-up this year, Kansas City beat San Jose 2-1 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
• In its last five home games, Kansas City is 1-2-2 with just 3 goals scored and 3 goals allowed. The two draws were both knotted at 0-0.
• In its last five road games, Kansas City is 3-2-0 with 8 goals scored and 6 allowed.
• Teal Bunbury snatched the team's only goal in New England. It was his fourth goal on the season.
• All four of Bunbury's goals have come away from Livestrong Sporting Park.
• After the game, Bunbury said: "I think this game was huge for us, having played the way we wanted to play and get the results we wanted to. Coming out here with New England being a good team we wanted to go up a goal, withstand that and grind out the win. I think it's huge now being on top of the Eastern Conference with Houston. We've got a big Open Cup game on Wednesday that is going to really help our morale."
• It was also the 18th regular season goal for Bunbury. Kansas City are 12-1-4 including the playoffs when he scores.
• Bunbury's goal was the 10th scored by KC in the first 30 minutes of a match this season.
• KC are 10-2-2 when scoring first and 7-1-1 when leading at halftime in 2012.
• Several key players were missing from KC's lineup: Chance Myers (groin strain), Aurelien Collin (facial fractures), Jacob Peterson (shoulder sprain) and C.J. Sapong (hip-flexor strain).
• Compounding the issue, Bobby Convey came off in the seventh minute with a hamstring strain.
• Soony Saad came on for Convey and became the earliest substitute in club history.
• Julio Cesar made his first start since June 29.
• Michael Harrington made his 126th start for Kansas City, tying Matt McKeon for 10th most appearances in club history.
• Seth Sinovic surpassed 5,000 regular season minutes. He's the 11th player on KC's roster to reach that plateau.
• Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen is the only member of Sporting KC to play every minute of every league game this season.
• In three games, the New England Revolution haven't been able to crack Nielsen. He now has 10 clean sheets to lead MLS. He has 27 shutouts in his MLS career.
• 34 wins for Nielsen in his MLS career. That's good for second all-time in club history.
• The captain after the match: "Big game on Wednesday, a cup final. We're all looking forward to that. It's going to be a lot of fun. We have an opportunity to win a trophy, everybody is very excited. Kansas City is becoming an extremely big soccer city, so it's a big deal for the city, and I really, really hope things will go our way on Wednesday."
• The game got very chippy on Saturday. Kansas City committed 21 fouls, New England 12.
• After the game, several of the Revs commented on the aggressive, disruptive game plan for KC.
• Defender Chris Tierney: " Their game plan, for sure, was to disrupt the play. I think if you look at fouls, there was a lot. They were clearly trying to slow our play through the midfield and break things up and they did a good job of that. And that's a road tactic and a tactic that teams have used against us all year. We've got to be better at breaking pressure and playing through it."
• Midfielder Clyde Simms: "They're a big physical team and that's the way they play every single game. They commit a lot of numbers forward and that's part of their philosophy. They have to foul in certain spots because they have so many guys forward and they're susceptible to the counter. That's the way they play: they recruit big guys - big physical guys - and that's the way they play."
• Sporting's lone Olympian Roger Espinoza had a heck of a tournament for Honduras. He picked up a goal and earned two yellow cards in an epic quarterfinal loss to Brazil. He received a standing ovation from the crowd at St. James' Park.
• You can count on the rumors starting to float about interest in him overseas.
• Kansas City are 1-2-3 without him in the lineup this season.
Time for the lightning round. Kansas City is
5-5-2 when the temperature is above 75 degrees at kickoff. It was 86 on Saturday.
• 10-6-4 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season.
• 2-1-1 when playing on turf this season.
• 4-1-0 when playing in the Eastern time zone this season.
• 7-5-0 in games decided by one goal in 2012.
• 10-5-2 when outshooting an opponent in 2012. Sporting leads the league in shots (369) and fewest shots allowed (238).