FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Juan Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe struck in the second half to give New England a precious 2-0 victory over fellow Eastern Conference playoff-chasers Chicago on Saturday night.
Agudelo notched a worthy match-winner by clipping a Chris Tierney diagonal over onrushing goalkeeper Sean Johnson with the outside of his right foot. Rowe guaranteed the points in the late stages when he turned home a rebound after Johnson saved well from a Saër Sène effort.
It proved no less than the home side deserved after engineering a substantial improvement in the second half and preventing the Fire – without dismissed coach Frank Klopas for the final 10 minutes of the affair – from producing an equalizer.
New England enjoyed the majority of the possession during a languid opening half, but Chicago created the two best opportunities of the stanza by pushing forward on the counter at the proper moments.
Magee nearly increased his MLS-leading goal haul to 15 inside the first 20 minutes after good work on the break by forward partner José Luis Anangono. The recent Designated Player signing stormed forward on the break, surged into the penalty area and worked the ball over to Magee at far post. Magee did well to turn the ball toward goal only to see his effort bounce off the post and skitter off to safety.
The in-form forward watched restored Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis – inserted for his first start since March as one of five changes to the Revolution starting XI – thwart another effort just before the half-hour. Magee did well to obtain position at the near post, but Reis reacted well to prevent the Fire from registering the opener.
The home side improved in the final stages of the first half. Agudelo threw himself about and caused problems, while Rowe dragged a shot wide of the far post on the stroke of halftime as the Revs attempted to assert control over the proceedings.
Agudelo handed the Revs the only goal they would need with an audacious chip nine minutes after the interval. Tierney played a long diagonal over the top. Agudelo raced behind the high Fire line, spotted Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson adrift from his line and swept the ball over the top of him with the outside of his right foot. The effort bounced over the line before Bakary Soumaré acrobatically cleared.
It took until second-half stoppage time for the Revs to secure the points. Rowe spurned a glorious chance moments earlier, but he made no mistake in stoppage time when he pounced on a rebound in the box to hand the Revs their first victory in three attempts.
Sène and Soumaré both saw red cards after the match concluded for their roles in a post-match scuffle at midfield.