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Sporting Kansas City 3, Revolution 1 (OT)

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Claudio Bieler's overtime goal in the 113th minute lifted Sporting Kansas City to a 3-1 victory over New England Revolution on Wednesday night and a 4-3 aggregate win in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference semifinals.

Sporting K.C. advances to face the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference finals. Houston eliminated Sporting the past two years.

The Revolution won the first leg of the home-and-home series against Sporting 2-1 on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

Bieler, who came into the game in the 84th minute, scored the decisive goal after Benny Feilhaber won a contested ball. It was the first goal for Bieler since Sept. 7.

Sporting Kansas City, the higher seed, owned the stat sheet. Sporting held a 19-3 advantage in shots in regulation, including 11-1 in the second half, but it took overtime to decide the match. The home side continued to dominate the stat sheet, outshooting New England 8-1 in the extra 30 minutes.

Neither team scored in the first half of overtime, though Sporting Kansas City had more opportunities. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis made four saves in the first 15 extra minutes.

Sporting dominated the game's first half, taking a 1-0 lead, then kept the pressure on the Revolution in the second half, holding a 6-0 edge in shots in the first 35 minutes of the half. New England had possessions deep in Sporting territory on several occasions but rarely could get past the Sporting's back line.

In the 70th minute, New England's Dimitry Imbongo Boele scored the equalizer off a free kick, taking the energy out of sold-out Sporting Park.

New England went back into a defensive shell, trying to protect a one-goal aggregate lead, this time with only 20 minutes left to hold on. However, when Graham Zusi lobbed one to the left corner in front of the net, Sporting's Seth Sinovic soared a goal past Reis and breathed new life into his team and the crowd.

Both teams showed their intentions early. Sporting Kansas City was on the attack from the beginning trying to erase the one-goal aggregate deficit, while the Revolution was in a strong defensive posture trying to preserve the goal differential.

Sporting held a 5-1 shots advantage halfway through the first half and went into the break with a 1-0 edge. The home side had a large advantage in scoring chances.

Aurelien Collin gave Sporting Kansas City the goal it needed in the 41st minute, sliding the ball past New England goalkeeper Matt Reis. But that didn't stop Sporting from attacking.

With everything on the line, the game got chippy early. Chance Myers of Sporting and Darrius Barnes of New England both received yellow cards after exchanging shoves in the 19th minute. Both players were warned again later in the half when they battled for position on a throw-in.

NOTES: New England's Matt Reis became the first goalkeeper in MLS history to make it through an entire regular season without suffering a loss (minimum of 10 games). He was 7-0-4 in 11 starts. He also started both legs of the series against Sporting. ... The conference semifinals marked the first postseason meeting between the squads. Sporting Kansas City holds an all-time 23-13-11 edge in the regular season. ... Before Wednesday, teams hosting the second leg of MLS playoff series advanced 22 of 42 times. However, teams winning the first leg advanced 19 times in 30 opportunities.
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