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Sporting Kansas City-Revolution Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution may both be looking past Saturday night's matchup at Gillette Stadium.
While Kansas City is focused on the immediate future, the Revolution seem to be thinking long-term as these teams complete their season series.
Sporting Kansas City (11-7-4) has a bigger match Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup final against Seattle. That gives coach Peter Vermes some decisions to make as to how to employ his squad, which is in contention for the Eastern Conference's best record.
"We take it game by game," Vermes said. "You can't negate the fact that it's a league game. We gotta take care of that first. We have enough time to get back together by Wednesday."
New England (6-10-5) will play for the first time since dealing captain Shalrie Joseph to Chivas USA on Wednesday for midfielder Blair Gavin, a second-round 2013 SuperDraft pick and undisclosed allocation money.
Joseph spent nearly 10 seasons with the Revolution, helping them reach three straight MLS Cups from 2005-07. First-year coach Jay Heaps, who played with Joseph from 2003-09, called it the hardest decision he ever had to make.
"It's not a decision we took lightly. It's not a decision we came to on a whim," Heaps told the Revolution's official website. "There was a lot of organizational thought process behind it. In the end, when you weigh the pros versus the cons and where this club needs to be and where we're going, tough decisions need to be made."
The 34-year-old Joseph has been injured through most of the season. Gavin is a 23-year-old midfielder who has also battled injuries.
"We're excited about Blair," Heaps said. "He's another young player, another hard-working player."
The Revolution are on a 0-3-1 slide and have 23 points to tie Philadelphia for the second-worst total in the East.
Kansas City may play a second straight match without defender Aurelien Collin, out since suffering two facial fractures that forced him to exit the July 25 All-Star game in the first half. Collin, who has been wearing a protective mask, is suspended for Wednesday's match and Vermes would prefer to give the center back some action Saturday.
Collin has helped slow down French countryman Saer Sene in the season series. Sene leads the Revolution with nine goals, but New England hasn't scored in the two meetings with Kansas City in 2012.
Jimmy Nielsen earned both shutouts, two of his nine this season. Kansas City won 3-0 on March 17 before a scoreless draw July 21.
The Revolution used a defensive style in the last matchup because they were playing for the third time in eight days. They plan to attack now that they are at home, where they're 5-2-3.
"We have a decent home record this year, so we'll look to put them under pressure, play the game in their half and look to score goals," defender Chris Tierney said.
Kansas City announced the signing of 20-year-old midfielder Oriol Rosell on Thursday. He won't see action Saturday.
The club played to a 1-all exhibition home draw with English Premier League club Stoke City on Wednesday. Teal Bunbury was the only regular starter that played.
Updated August 3, 2012