FOXBORO, Mass. (Oct. 20, 2012) – The Chicago Fire (17-11-5; 56 points) gave up a 17th minute goal to Diego Fagundez and were unable to rally in a hard-fought 1-0 defeat at the hands of the New England Revolution (8-17-8, 32 points) at Gillette Stadium Saturday night. The loss leaves the Fire in third place in the Eastern Conference and sets up a crucial match against D.C. United at Toyota Park to close out the MLS regular season at Toyota Park on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3:00 p.m. CT live on the NBC Sports Network.
A drab start to the match, both teams used the opening minutes to get a feel for one another. In the 5th minute Dan Gargan sent a ball through the Revolution backline finding a charging Sherjill MacDonald open in the space, however, the Dutch striker was adjudged offside.
The Revolution found the only strike of the match in the 17th minute as Fagundez latched onto a feed from Kelyn Rowe in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan-born, Massachusetts-bred forward dribbled into space and lashed a driven shot that beat Sean Johnson at the far post to give the Revs a 1-0 advantage over the Men in Red.
New England nearly doubled its lead in the 20th minute as a corner kick bounced around the 18-yard box before rookie Fire defender Austin Berry cleared the ball from danger.
The Fire went into the break trailing 1-0 and emerged from the locker room in search of an equalizer. The Fire found an opportunity in the 60th minute on the counter when Flaco Fernandez picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan midfielder sprinted into space and fed Rolfe on his left, however, the Revs recovered and knocked the ball out for a Fire corner kick.
In the 72nd minute the Fire nearly found the elusive goal. Fernandez played a simple through ball to Segares inside the 18-yard box. The Costa Rican defender was in on goal but his left-footed shot sprayed wide of frame.
Frank Klopas opted to sit Fire veteran defender Arne Friedrich as a healthy scratch but the Fire defense was sturdy on the night, allowing only one shot on goal in 90 minutes of play.
Late game substitutes Alex and Dominic Oduro were brought on to provide an offensive spark in the second interval. The Brazilian midfielder sent in a hopeful cross in the 86th minute that fell to Nyarko, but the Ghanaian’s shot bounced right to Revs ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
The Fire will close out the MLS regular season at Toyota Park against Eastern Conference rival D.C. United on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes). Advance tickets are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire, by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com or Ticketmaster. Tickets for the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs are available at www.ticketmaster.com.
- With D.C. United’s 3-2 victory over the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium, the Fire fall to third place in the Eastern Conference.
- Saturday’s match against D.C. United is crucial for Eastern Conference playoff seeding as the Fire can finish anywhere between second and fifth place heading into the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
- The Fire are 12-6-2 with 38 points since June 17, 2012.
- The Fire lost its first season series to an Eastern Conference opponent. The Men in Red have won season series against Sporting Kansas City, New York Red Bulls Houston Dynamo, Columbus Crew, Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union, and Toronto FC.
- The loss moves the Fire to 13-5-3 against the MLS Eastern Conference in 2012.
- The Fire are now 2-9-2 on artificial surface over the past three seasons.
- Arne Friedrich was a healthy scratch to the Fire starting lineup. Frank Klopas withheld the German defender from the match based on the artificial surface at Gillette Stadium.
Chicago Fire 0 – 1 New England Revolution
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Alvaro Fernandez, Logan Pause © (Dominic Oduro 83’), Daniel Paladini (Alex 64’), Patrick Nyarko; Chris Rolfe, Sherjill MacDonald
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Arne Friedrich, Michael Videira, Corben Bone, Victor Pineda, Corben Bone
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth; Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares; Blair Gavin (Juan Toja 62’), Clyde Simms, Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, Ryan Guy; Dimitry Imbongo (Chris Tierney 65’), Jerry Bentson
Substitutes not used: Matt Reis, Sainey Nyassi, Blake Brettschneider, Jaime Cardenas, Alec Purdie
NE – Diego Fagundez (Kelyn Rowe) 17’
NE – Jerry Bengtson (caution) 44’
CHI – Sherjill MacDonald (caution) 67’
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Mathieu Bourdeau