It was an entertaining ride while it lasted.
Claudio Bieler's overtime goal ended the New England Revolution's postseason dreams as Sporting Kansas City claimed a 3-1 win (4-3 on aggregate) in a wild second leg of the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals at Sporting Park on Wednesday.
Bieler scored in the 113th minute after ex-Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber pounced on an errant Matt Reis throw, then sent a pass inside the area, where the Kansas City striker one-touched it into the back of the net.
Aurelien Collin opened the scoring in the 41st minute to level the series on aggregate going into the half, but Dimitry Imbongo reclaimed the advantage in the 70th minute. Ex-Revolution defender Seth Sinovic put the series at 3-3 on aggregate in the 79th minute to send the match to overtime.
Reis collected a game-high seven saves -- many of which were of the spectacular variety -- before a late-game leg injury forced him off the field. As a result, Andrew Farrell, the starting right back, was called upon to put on the goalkeeper gloves for the waning moments of overtime. According to a Revs statement, Reis suffered "a left quadriceps injury that occurred in a non-contact situation."
What it means: Although they may have come up short on Wednesday, kudos are in order to the Revolution on a season that took many by surprise. Few picked them to make it to the postseason, and yet they managed to finish third in the conference -- not bad for a team that started 2-4-3 out of the gate. The fact that they pushed Kansas City -- a team widely regarded as one of the best in MLS -- to the brink at its home park exhibited the will and determination that carried them all season. While the score at Sporting Park left many Revolution fans bitterly disappointed, there's plenty to be optimistic about for 2014.
Stat of the game: Kansas City outshot the Revolution by a whopping 32-5 margin -- a margin that surely speaks to the hosts' inability to convert on an array of chances, not to mention Reis' heroics.
Ex-Revs haunt former team: Two former Revolution players played major roles in Kansas City's comeback series win. Sinovic, who was waived by the Revolution in 2011, scored the goal that sent the game to overtime. Meanwhile, Feilhaber, who was traded to Kansas City last winter, helped plant the dagger in the back of his former teammates when he assisted on Bieler's game-winner. Both players went the full 120 minutes.
Vermes makes three changes: Sporting K.C. coach Peter Vermes made a trio of changes to his lineup after Saturday's 2-1 loss. Jacob Peterson, Teal Bunbury and Lawrence Olum were replaced by Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer and Paulo Nagamura, respectively.
No lineup changes for Revs: Jay Heaps went with the same lineup he used to grab a 2-1 win in Saturday's first leg. The only minor change made was the inclusion of Clyde Simms over Charlie Davies on the bench.
Rare slice of success at Sporting Park: Imbongo's 70th-minute strike was the first Revolution goal scored at Sporting Park since Rajko Lekic's 38th-minute goal in a 1-1 draw on July 30, 2011.