Foxborough, MA – In recent years, there has been a sizeable gap between Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution.
Sporting has proven to be a perennial contender while New England has struggled to remain competitive in the hunt for postseason places.
But through three weeks of the 2013 campaign, there hasn't been much between the two sides.
Kansas City has produced an even record of 1-1-1 through three games, while New England, which started the season one week later than every other MLS club, sits on three points with a record of 1-1-0.
The Revs started the season with two consecutive road matches, kicking off with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire before falling to the Philadelphia Union last week. They will play their first home match of the season on Saturday when they host Sporting at Gillette Stadium.
"It's really important to do well at home," goalkeeper Matt Reis told the club's website. "We'd really like to win as many games as we can at home. It really helps us in the long run because it's harder to play on the road. Conversely, we want to make it really difficult for teams to come in here and play."
Lee Nguyen echoed those sentiments, saying that he hopes Gillette becomes one of the more intimidating venues for opposing teams to visit.
"It's really crucial," Lee Nguyen told the club's website of home form. "If we can win [at home], it's going to be a lot easier for us to make the playoffs. It's going to be a lot harder to get points away from home. We want to be a fortress here."
Kansas City knows a thing or two about intimidating venues. Sporting Park has become one of the league's greatest atmospheres, but in the club's home opener last weekend, Sporting only managed a point in a scoreless draw with Chicago.
"I would say that we were very good on both sides of the ball," Peter Vermes said of the performance. "When we lost it, we won it back very quickly because of our allocation and our positioning all over the field. I think our aggressiveness to win it back was very good."
Under Vermes, Sporting has become quite strong in turning possession into scoring opportunities, but that quality was lacking against the Fire last week.
"We're used to spraying the ball around and having possession in the other team's half," said C.J. Sapong. "It's just tough to penetrate sometimes. The final ball was lacking. We did well to keep it in their half, but sometimes it was just a bad touch or bad pass. The final execution wasn't there."