New England goalkeeper says penalty decision ‘changed the game’

New England Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton played his first MLS game of the season against Sporting Kansas City last night in the absence of first-choice shot-stopper Bobby Shuttleworth.

Knighton couldn’t help his side avoid defeat as the Revs lost 4-2, which put an end to their nine-game unbeaten run in which they’d won five and drawn four. The 30-year-old ‘keeper feels New England paid the price for missed chances and points to the penalty decision as the turning point.

“We started the game the way we wanted to and got the early goal, there was a rough patch for ten or 15 minutes and they capitalised on their chances,” Knighton told the New England Revolution official YouTube channel.

“I think the penalty kind of changed the game. We’re in it still at 2-1 and we had chances at the other end that we just didn’t capitalise on. The penalty call changed the game and makes it 3-1.”

PICTURE: Knighton in action. (Photo via http://www.revolutionsoccer.net/)

PICTURE: Knighton in action. (Photo via http://www.revolutionsoccer.net/)

Despite the result, Knighton wasn’t critical of his teammates and has immediately turned his attentions to the next game.

“I thought the guys had a lot of effort tonight and we worked hard to get it back but obviously we came up a bit short.”

“Every game’s massive in the Eastern Conference and playing against DC, your rival, we’re going to have our full force of fans at Gillette Stadium and we’re looking to get three points and stay top of the table.”

Can New England Revolution bounce back when they face DC United on Saturday evening?

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Jay Heaps SLAMS soft penalty in Revs defeat to Sporting Kansas City

New England Revolution manager Jay Heaps slammed the penalty decision in the 4-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night as he watched his side lose for the first time in ten games.

During an attack in the 42nd minute, Dom Dwyer was supposedly fouled inside the area by Revolution defender Jose Goncalves, leading to referee Allen Chapman awarding a penalty.

When approached about the penalty kick after the game Heaps couldn’t hide his disappointment: “I’m always in a disagreement with a penalty-kick call. I thought it was really soft, but I haven’t seen it on film. I just didn’t like the way the momentum swung. That’s probably where I was most upset, not just one call.” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com.

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The penalty decision changed the course of the game, as the Revolution were still in the match at 2-1.

However, Heaps was quick to comment on a disappointing display from his side: “I think we all kind of sensed that you’ve got to put your chances away against Kansas City, especially here.

“I think tonight we lacked the composure. We’ve got to get back to where we’re playing at our best and we’re composed. In the end we learn from it.”

New England must now regroup as they play DC United in a key Eastern Conference game at the weekend.

Should Sporting Kansas City have been awarded a penalty, and did it have a huge affect on the result?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: New England Revolution

As the 2015 season beckons, we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what the New England Revolution will be hoping to achieve this year…

Is this New England Revolution’s year? Could they go all the way? They finished as runners-up last term and were a dominant force in MLS once Jermaine Jones arrived in August. They lost just once in the regular season after the arrival of Jones and were impressive throughout the playoffs before losing in extra-time to the LA Galaxy in the 2014 MLS Cup final. That defeat will still be haunting players as well as the Revs supporters but they are in a strong position to hit the ground running and make another charge at the title this season. 

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 2nd – P34 – W17 – D4 – L13 

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What needs to change this year? 

Not much if we’re honest, they just need to pick up where they left off and hope that Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen can continue to inspire them. Perhaps one weakness with the Revs is the lack of goals from their attacking core. Nguyen (as good as he is) should not be top scorer again and the return of Juan Agudelo is one which should only make the team more dangerous.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Juan Agudelo – Forward, Jeremy Hall – Midfielder, Sean Okoli – Midfielder

Outs: Patrick Mullins – Forward, Tony Taylor – Forward, AJ Soares – Defender, Stephen McCarthy – Defender

Key player: Lee Nguyen – Midfielder

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Lee Nguyen was the standout performer for New England in 2014 and came very close to being named as the league’s MVP, though he fell short to Robbie Keane for that accolade. Still, with 20 goals last season and a deserved recall to the USMNT, Nguyen looks set to inspire his side once again. He was the highest scoring midfielder in MLS last time out and will hope to build on those incredible displays in 2015.

One to watch: Juan Agudelo – Forward

Juan Agudelo returns to New England for a second spell after leaving for Europe in 2013. He will add sharpness to this Revs side in attack and will be battling with Charlie Davies for the starting spot. He will be key this term so expect goals from the 22-year-old striker. With a supporting cast of Nguyen, Teal Bunbury and Jermaine Jones to name just a few, Agudelo could be a genuine candidate for the MLS Golden Boot this year. Watch out.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 1st

New England were four points off first-placed DC United in the Eastern Conference last year and lost four more games than the eventual winners. Though they have Jermaine Jones for a full season now and his influence cannot be undervalued. The Eastern Conference is packed with talented squads and it will be a fiercely competitive campaign, but the Revs have only strengthened over the offseason and will expect to be competing for the MLS Cup again come December. They were the form side at the end of 2014 and won the Eastern Conference title in the end. They will go into the new season in full confidence.

How will New England Revolution fare in 2015?

Teal Bunbury: We can win the MLS Cup

Teal Bunbury believes New England Revolution can win trophies in 2015 after an “unbelievable” first year with the club.

“The welcoming I got throughout the whole year just progressed and it was an unbelievable season. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was exciting and I’m still excited to this day to be part of the Revs,” said Bunbury while talking to the New England Revolution YouTube channel.

Bunbury joined the Revs after a four-year spell at Sporting Kansas City and chipped in with six goals and eight assists from his 35 appearances in all competitions.

The 24-year-old forward come winger is in a confident mood heading into the new season.

“I hope it’s just like last year, I want it to be a progression. I want to be able to give all I can on the field. And this year, I feel we can win the MLS Cup and Open Cup as well.”

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New England Revolution fell just short of winning their first ever MLS Cup in 2014 when they lost 2-1 to LA Galaxy after an extra-time winner from Robbie Keane in what was a pulsating final.

The Revs have now been to five MLS Cup finals and have failed to get over the line on every occasion, but Bunbury feels this New England side has the spirit to finally win that elusive title in 2015.

“When you’re a player it’s all about winning games, it’s about winning championships and that’s really what you play for. You obviously want do well individually, but as a team I feel this group of guys has the best chemistry I’ve seen on any team, through my club days when I was younger up until now.”

Can Teal Bunbury and the New England Revolution win the MLS Cup in 2015?