Fire rue missed opportunities in home opening loss to New England
After creating a majority of the chances, frustration was the theme in the Fire locker room as Jerry Bengtson’s 62nd minute header handed the team a 1-0 defeat to New England Saturday night at Toyota Park.
HIGHLIGHTS: Fire 0, Revs 1
“We were unfortunate to not at least tie this game,” said Fire forward Chris Rolfe. “We had three clear-cut chances that we weren’t sharp on.”
The Fire looked most dangerous towards the end of the first half but saw opportunities for Sherjill MacDonald, Dilly Duka and Joel Lindpere thwarted by Revolution ‘keeper Matt Reis.
Despite the opportunities created, with the team going up against the wind in the second half, head coach Frank Klopas swapped MacDonald for substitute Maicon Santos.
“We needed [MacDonald] to hold the ball better, at times when we tried to find him he was late to his movement. He had a couple chances to put away and going against the wind I thought that Maicon was bigger, stronger and we could use him to hold the ball.”
The move didn’t pay off as the Fire lacked second half opportunities and the Revolution took a bit more possession before Kelyn Rowe picked out Bengtson in the box in the 62nd minute. The Honduran international seemed to take advantage of some indecision in the back as he headed the game’s only goal past Sean Johnson.
“It was a broken down play,” explained Fire center back Austin Berry. “We cleared the first ball but we just didn’t stick to marks on the second ball in. It’s a shame because we had defended well for the majority of the game to get scored on a fluke play like that.”
Despite the goal and the game being the second straight match the team was without Arne Friedrich and Logan Pause, overall the team played well defensively.
“I think we were pretty good in the back,” agreed Gonzalo Segares. “We definitely improved a lot from the last game. One unfortunate chance and they capitalized on it. It’s very frustrating. I thought we were the better team on the night but we didn’t finish our chances and they did on basically their only chance.”
Shortly after the goal, Klopas was forced to burn his third and final sub, replacing Rolfe with Alex as the veteran forward cramped up in the 65th minute.
Following Rolfe’s removal the team only saw two more shots at goal, with Santos 92nd minute effort well-saved by Reis.
The loss gives the Men in Red their first 0-2-0 start since 2000 and leaves the team without a goal in its first 180 minutes of play.
“It’s always tough for forwards at the beginning of the season,” said Rolfe.”That first goal is the hardest one to get. As a team I think it’s the same case. “We created three good chances tonight. Joel had one, Mac had one and Dilly hit the cross bar. I think we had better chances than they did, it’s just the way it went tonight.”
While the team showed certain improvement over Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to LA, they have exactly one week to dwell on the result before another tough match at Sporting KC, next Saturday afternoon.
“In this league every game is difficult and competitive,” said Segares. “Every game is going to be hard and we have another one coming next week on the road against a pretty good team.
“We just keep working hard. We’re going to create our own luck and we’ll get better.”