BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The New England Revolution had a chance to take a commanding position in the playoff race on Saturday, but the Chicago Fire stole their top-five spot away in a 3-2 win.
Alex's 86th -minute strike put the Fire in a tie for fifth place, the first time they've occupied a playoff spot all season. New England took the lead twice in the first half, courtesy of goals from Kelyn Rowe and Saer Sene, but goals from Juan Luis Anangono and Mike Magee erased both.
Rowe bagged his fifth goal in as many weeks when his looping shot from 25 yards found its way over Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and into the back of the net to open the scoring.
Five minutes later, Juan Luis Anangonó had a chance to equalize when Nyarko found him on the right side of the penaly area, but his shot was saved.
Anangonó wouldn't be denied in the 30th minute when Joel Lindpere found him at the edge of the penalty area, as his shot beat Revs defender Jose Goncalves and goalkeper Bobby Shuttlesworth.
Moments after the Fire were left irate that a penalty wasn't called when Patrick Nyarko went down in the box – while the Revolution were equally angry that no card was given for a dive, New England grabbed the lead again.
The Revs' second goal arrived when Dimitry Imbongo found Saer Sene with a through pass on the left side of the box, and the Senegalese striker's left-footed shot beat Johnson.
Chicago received a lucky break early in the second half, when Sene looked as if he had given New England a two-goal lead when he scored after Kelyn Rowe found him at the top of the penalty area. He was called offside, but the replay showed that the assistant referee may have been wrong.
The Fire soon took advantage of the break.
Patrick Nyarko found Mike Magee at the right side of the penalty area on a give-and-go, and the league's second-leading goalscorer notched his 16th of the season, though there was further controversy as Anangonó appeared to return from an offsides position and interfere with New England defender José Gonçalves to set up the strike.
Rowe almost scored a second, but his header was saved by an outstretched, diving Sean Johnson in the 83rd minute.
In the 86th minute, a Chicago corner kick was half-cleared by New England, and Alex collected at the top of the Revs box before stroking a low shot through a crowd of bodies and into the lower corner of the goal.
Chicago play Columbus next weekend, when they make up their game-in-hand on Philadelphia, with whom they're tied for fifth.
New England are now two points behind Chicago and sit in seventh. They'll try to climb back into a playoff spot when they host D.C. United next weekend.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Juan Luis Anangono||The Ecuadorian DP was hard-working and incisive, scoring one Fire goal and playing a central -- though possibly unlawful -- role in another.|
|2||Kelyn Rowe||Rowe was the standout in a thrilling midfield battle, underlining his excellent night with a dazzling long-range strike.|
|3||Mike Magee||What more can be said about him at this point? Intensity, leadership and an uncanny knack for getting on the end of good chances.|