BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Behind goals from Chris Rolfe and Sherjill MacDonald, the Chicago Fire beat the New England Revolution 2-1 at Toyota Park on Saturday night and showed why the teams are heading in much different directions than they the last time they met two months ago.
The Fire’s two big-name midseason put the hosts ahead in the first half and on the way to their third consecutive win, while New England couldn’t muster more than one goal for the seventh time in what is now seven-game winless streak.
In the fifth minute, Rolfe scored his third goal in the last two weeks after A.J. Soares took him down in the penalty area. Rolfe slotted his penalty just past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Matt Reis.
The Revolution equalized six minutes later, when Fernando Cárdenas was able to bundle the ball home after a scramble in the box after Saer Sene's cross from the left wing.
But the home side re-took the lead for good in the 25th minute when they caught the Revs backline napping. Patrick Nyarko took a throw-in from Gonzalo Segares near the byline and crossed to MacDonald. The Dutch Designated Player headed it down and past Reis for his first goal in his four games with the Fire.
The Fire nearly added another before the first half ended, but Álvaro Fernández’s apparent cross went off the crossbar, and MacDonald couldn’t score his second header of the game in the 43rd minute, when he was open inside the six-yard box.
Nyarko almost put the game out of reach twice in the second half, when his 52nd-minute shot went just wide and his point-blank chance in the 70th minute was saved by Reis.
The Revs nearly got a last-gasp equalizer when Soares ripped a shot from 25 yards out in stoppage time, but Sean Johnson got both gloves on it for the save.
With the win, the Fire improve to 12-7-5 and temporarily into a second-place tie in the Eastern Conference with New York, who host Portland on Sunday. Chicago next play at D.C. United on Aug. 22.
New England, meanwhile, drop to 6-13-5 and further behind in the playoff race. They next travel to Columbus on Aug. 25.