A narrow-angle goal by the birthday boy and a stoppage-time clincher by his substitute separated the top two Eastern Conference teams at Gillette Stadium Thursday.
Pat Noonan celebrated his 27th birthday by tucking away a Taylor Twellman header, and Adam Cristman ran onto a sweet Steve Ralston cross to notch his fourth goal of the season as the Revs (9-3-6) beat Kansas City (8-6-5) for the first time at Gillette Stadium, 2-0.
If not for the men in the nets, the scoreline could have approached the 4-3 shootout these teams played in their last meeting May 26. They combined for 33 shots, nearly half (15) of which hit the target.
In a duel of top-class keeping, Matt Reis edged out Kevin Hartman, who reacted superbly when called into action throughout the match but 10 minutes into the second half couldn't scramble across his goal in time to divert Noonan's point-blank shot wide of the net. Twellman had nodded a long ball from Khano Smith into Noonan's path and he got just enough on his shot to knock it off the unlucky Hartman and into the net.
In the first half, Reis went down low to repel Jack Jewsbury's drive, then soared skyward to tip Carlos Marinelli's deflected shot onto the post. Hartman smothered a close-range shot from Noonan in the second minute and late in the first half punched away a blast from Smith.
More saves from Hartman after Noonan's goal kept Kansas City close but only a narrow miss by Jose Burciaga seriously threatened Reis as a back line of Avery John, Michael Parkhurst and Jay Heaps blunted Kansas City's efforts. Cristman iced the victory with a clinical trap and finish emblematic of his rookie season as well as the efficiency that has raised the Revs to first place in the East.
They can solidify that spot Sunday against D.C United. Kansas City takes a 17-day break from league play with a return game against the Revs looming on the horizon and much to ponder in the interim.
Aug. 2 in Foxboro, Mass.
Kansas City 2 New England 0.Goals: Noonan (Twellman, Smith) 33, Cristman (Ralston) 91+.
Kansas City --Hartman, Jewsbury (Raybould, 70), Conrad, Burciaga, Garcia, Victorine (Movsisyan, 64), Marinelli, Zavagnin, Arnaud, Harrington (Morsink, 80), Johnson.
New England --Reis, Heaps, Parkhurst, John, Ralston, Dorman (Thompson, 79), Joseph, Larentowicz, Smith, Twellman, Noonan (Cristman, 85).
Yellow cards:New England -- Joseph 24; Kansas City -- Marinelli 24, Raybould 79.
Referee: Brian Hall.