All-time record: Fire lead the series 16-13-8
8:30 p.m. ET; MLS Direct Kick, Matchday Live
Wednesday’s match will be the third meeting between the longtime Eastern Conference rivals this season. Chicago won the first match, defeating the Revs 1-0 on June 27 at Gillette Stadium. New England evened up the season series on July 17, beating the Fire 1-0 in SuperLiga action at Toyota Park.
Both teams are riding a wave of good form into the match. The Revs haven’t lost in their last eight matches across all competitions while the Fire haven’t dropped a match in their last three. Each squad needs to extend its unbeaten streak, as both are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
DPs Freddie Ljungberg and Nery Castillo are expected to see time this Wednesday. Ljungberg is expected to start the match – his third in a Fire uniform – in a supporting striker role, while Castillo, who is still struggling to regain match fitness, could see his first start should Carlos de los Cobos decide to put the Mexican in his XI.
Ljungberg said he expects his team to come out and try and play on the ground against the hard-nosed Revs.
“New England is a big team and they play quite a physical game,” Ljungberg said. “It’s important that we keep the ball on the floor and play through them because I think they might be too heavy to cope. But if we try to make it into a physical challenge, then it’s going to be a very tough game.”
New England Revolution
As alluded to above, New England come into Wednesday’s match on fire. Steve Nicol’s boys haven’t lost since July 2 and will be looking to deal Chicago their first loss in four games.
They won’t have it easy, though. Chicago have improved their roster greatly since the sides’ last meeting, adding Castillo and Ljungberg as well as Gonzalo Segares. Look for New England to be physical with the somewhat slight Fire attackers as they attempt to extend their unbeaten streak to nine games in all competitions.
Heroes & Villains
Shalrie Joseph vs. Logan Pause: The Revs run nearly everything through Joseph. He’s the cog in the center of the field and his tremendous linking play, crushing tackles and bruising runs can make New England a dangerous team. But the Revs’ heavy reliance on Joseph has a downside: If he struggles, New England tend to struggle, too.
Fire defensive midfielder Pause knows this and will do his best to limit Joseph. If he’s able to slow the Grenadan midfielder down, the Fire should have success. If not, New England have a good chance of leaving Chicago with their unbeaten streak intact.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”
The Fire have allowed one goal from the run of play in their last four games. That goal? New England midfielder Marko Perovic’s 25-yard strike in the Revs' 1-0 win at Toyota Park on July 17.