Revs aim to reverse fortunes against Sporting

Foxborough, MA ( - The New England Revolution will be eager to get a jump on things against Sporting Kansas City when the two sides collide at Gillette Stadium on Saturday in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Revs have had their troubles with Sporting in recent years, as the team brings a 501-minute scoring drought against Kansas City into the series.

No Revolution player has scored against Peter Vermes' team since Rajko Lekic on July 30, 2011, a streak that spans five regular-season matches.

But Revs defender A.J. Soares is not concerned with his side's struggles in front of goal against Sporting, and he believes what has happened in the past will have no bearing on Saturday's contest.

"I'm not worried about that," Soares told "I've never thought about that. We're a different team today than we were last week. And we're a different team than we were four months ago. It's nothing that we're worried about."

New England enters the series in good form having gone 4-0-2 to close out the regular season, a run that included three successive wins at the end of the campaign to help the team secure a playoff berth.

And head coach Jay Heaps thinks that run will only help his side as the pressure increases in the postseason.

"We have had pressure-packed games leading up to this," said Heaps. "I think that we've certainly ramped up the intensity over the last few weeks because we did know that any slip-up, not getting certain points, would've cost us a playoff opportunity."

Sporting is a team that is also in top form entering the postseason, having earned 10 of a possible 12 points from its final four games.

Defender Matt Besler signed a contract extension with the club earlier this season, and this time of year is the reason he chose to stay in Kansas City.

"This is what you play for," Besler said off playoff time. "It's why I came back, why I signed an extension. It's not because I'm from here and I wanted to stay in my hometown and live in my hometown. I love that, but the main reason I stayed here is that I wanted to win a championship with Sporting KC. I think we have the group to do it and I want to be a part of it."

That run begins Saturday at New England, where Sporting earned a 0-0 draw in March before downing the Revs 3-0 at home in August.