FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (June 17, 2017) – The Chicago Fire ran their unbeaten streak in MLS competitions to eight games Saturday, earning a 2-1 road victory over the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The win kept Chicago just one point back of Toronto FC’s MLS-leading points total (32) nearing the halfway mark of the 2017 MLS campaign.
Chicago received another goal from striker Nemanja Nikolic, who extended his advantage in the league's Golden Boot race by notching his 13th goal in 16 games played. With the game scoreless in the first half, Nikolic perfectly timed his run behind the New England back line and found himself 1v1 with Revs ‘keeper Cody Cropper. Cropper saved Nikolic’s initial attempt, but the Hungarian international calmly finished the rebound into an open net to open the scoring.
Both sides created chances over the duration of a free-flowing first half, including back-to-back opportunities in the 30th and 32nd minutes for New England’s Diego Fagundez, both of which narrowly missed the target. Luis Solignac then was just off the mark following a 37th-minute service by Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The attacking nature of the match continued after halftime, but Chicago managed to claim the crucial second goal in the 61st minute. The sequence began with a long ball from Dax McCarty to Nikolic, who lifted a pass forward to Michael de Leeuw. Although the Dutchman could not fully corral it, he smartly laid it off to an oncoming Solignac, who deposited past Cropper for his fourth goal of 2017 and his third in three games across all competitions.
But the home side remained resolute, and broke through for a goal in the 70th minute when Antonio Mlinar Delamea nodded home a second ball from close range. That goal snapped Chicago’s run of three straight clean sheets (MLS and U.S. Open Cup) and set up a frenetic final 20 minutes as New England pushed hard for an equalizer.
The Revs eventually finished the game with a 24-8 advantage in shots and with eight corner kicks to Chicago’s nil, but the equalizer never came for Jay Heaps’ side. New England surely thought it would pull level in the 88th minute, but three consecutive shots from inside the 18-yard box were blocked by Fire defenders to preserve the scoreline.
The victory marked the third in a row for Chicago in its series with New England dating to last season.
With their second road win of the season secure, the Fire can now look ahead to back-to-back home matches at Toyota Park, the first of which comes on Saturday (June 24) against Orlando City SC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT with the game airing live on CSN Chicago.
MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire (9-3-4, 31 pts.) 2:1 New England Revolution (5-6-5, 20 pts.)
June 17, 2017 – Gillette Stadium
CHI — Nemanja Nikolic (unassisted) 18
CHI — Luis Solignac (Michael de Leeuw, Nemanja Nikolic) 61
NE — Antonio Mlinar Delamea (Juan Agudelo) 70
NE — Kelyn Rowe (caution) 21
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson, Matt Polster, Joao Meira, Johan Kappelhof, Brandon Vincent, Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac (Jonathan Campbell 73), Juninho, Michael de Leeuw (Arturo Alvarez 83), Nemanja Nikolic (Drew Conner 89)
Subs not used: Stefan Cleveland, Michael Harrington, Daniel Johnson, Djordje Mihailovic
Shots: 8; Shots On-Goal: 4; Saves: 4; Fouls: 7; Corners: 0; Offsides: 4
New England Revolution: Cody Cropper, Andrew Farrell, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Benjamin Angoua, Chris Tierney (Daigo Kobayashi 19), Diego Fagundez, Gershon Koffie, Kelyn Row, Lee Nguyen, Scott Caldwell (Juan Agudelo 45), Kei Kamara (Teal Bunbury 10)
Subs not used: Brad Knighton, Joshua Smith, London Woodberry, Femi Hollinger-Janzen.
Shots: 24; Shots On-Goal: 5; Saves: 2; Fouls: 10; Corners: 8; Offsides: 0