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Revolution-Sporting Kansas City Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Sporting Kansas City has an excellent chance to bounce back from a mid-week loss.
The club is unbeaten in its last five home meetings with the New England Revolution, who are winless in seven straight on the road heading into Saturday night's matchup.
Sporting Kansas City (11-6-3) fell 2-1 at Houston on Wednesday, playing a man short after Peterson Joseph was sent off in the 45th minute. The score was tied at the time and Kansas City was in position for a point until conceding the winning goal in the 79th.
"It was a big difference in the game obviously, being a man down for another 50 minutes from the start of the second half," coach Peter Vermes said. "We did a good job, we held on pretty long."
Kansas City is 4-0-1 in its last five at home against New England (6-9-4), winning 3-0 on March 17. Kei Kamara had a goal and an assist, and Jimmy Nielsen recorded one of his eight shutouts - tied with Vancouver's Joe Cannon for the league lead.
The Revolution fell to 0-5-2 in their last seven on the road with Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Montreal. They know finishing a stretch of three games in eight days won't be easy at Livestrong Park.
"Up next Kansas City, it's going to be 105 degrees is what we're told," coach Jay Heaps said.
Lee Nguyen's tying goal in the 44th minute was the lone bright spot on a night when the Revolution's high-tempo passing attack failed to materialize.
"Unfortunately, we didn't have enough guys who had a good enough game," Heaps said. "We lost the ball in areas where it cost us."
Heaps is hoping his team gets two key players back. Defender Stephen McCarthy sat out Wednesday with concussion-like symptoms while captain Shalrie Joseph was rested due to back stiffness.
The coach turned back to veteran goalkeeper Matt Reis after Bobby Shuttleworth started the two previous games. Reis had not started since June 30.
"Whenever you are taken out, I don't try and take anything for granted," Reis said. "It's a time to reflect and hopefully it pushes me the rest of the season and I know I have to be at my best."
The Revolution remain without forward Jerry Bengtson, who has joined Honduras for the Olympics.
Kansas City has seen its lead atop the Eastern Conference cut to one point over New York, which plays in the afternoon Saturday and could take over first place by the time this game kicks off.
All-Star midfielder Graham Zusi has missed the last two games with a quad strain for Kansas City, and his status is uncertain.
With Joseph suspended and fellow midfielder Roger Espinoza joining Bengtson on the Honduran Olympic team, Vermes won't have many options to use in the midfield Saturday if Zusi is out.
Bobby Convey may not yet be an option to start. The midfielder played eight minutes Wednesday in his first action since May 19 after being out with a series of calf strains.
Updated July 20, 2012