Preview: Fire jockey for playoff positioning vs. Revs
CHICAGO FIRE vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
August 18, 2012 (WEEK 24, MLS Game #229)
7:30 p.m. CT (NBC5.2; CSN-NE)
The Chicago Fire play host to the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Toyota Park looking to solidify their hold on a playoff spot ahead of their visitors. The Fire moved into fourth place in the Eastern Conference last weekend, following a 3-1 win at Philadelphia Union. The Revolution find themselves 13 points out of the top five in the division following their 1-0 home loss to the Montréal Impact.
REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Abiodun Okulaja
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 26.3; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 0; pens: 3
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- CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair); MF Logan Pause (L pneumothorax)
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION – OUT: MF Blair Gavin (L hamstring tightness); FW Alec Purdie (L ankle sprain); GK Bobby Shuttleworth (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Lee Nguyen (R foot contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Dan Gargan … NE: Benny Feilhaber
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Sebastian Grazzini, Pavel Pardo, Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro, Gonzalo Segares … NE: Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares
ALL-TIME (41 meetings): Fire 18 wins, 58 goals … Revolution 14 wins, 56 goals … Ties 9
AT CHICAGO (20 meetings): Fire 10 wins, 34 goals … Revolution 4 wins, 25 goals … Ties 6
FUTURE MATCH: 10/20: New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Goals four minutes apart from Kelyn Rowe and Benny Feilhaber midway through the second half gave the Revolution a 2-0 victory, June 2 at Gillette Stadium.
- The victory snapped a 10-game winless streak for the Revolution vs. Chicago in league play. New England’s last victory in regular season play had come May 6, 2007 at Gillette Stadium.
- The Revolution did defeat the Fire in the 2009 SuperLiga competition, a 1-0 victory on July 17 at Toyota Park. It was the first victory in Chicago for the Revolution since July 8, 2006, a span of eight games in all competitions.
- The teams met five consecutive years from 2005-09 – and eight times in all since 2000 – in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Three times (2003, ’05, ’07) they’ve faced each other with a trip to MLS Cup on the line. Each team advanced on four occasions.
- Coaches record: Jay Heaps v CHI: P1 W1 L0 D0 … Frank Klopas vs. NE: P3 W1 L1 D1
6/2: NE 2, CHI 0 (Rowe 69; Feilhaber 73)
- The Revolution took the lead in the 69th minute. Saer Sène quickly located an open Benny Feilhaber in the middle third, and his pass hit substitute Kelyn Rowe in stride as he cut in front of Gonzalo Segares and stabbed the ball inside the near post with a flick from the outside of his boot.
- Rowe connected with Feilhaber again four minutes later to double the advantage. The duo combined on the right side of the penalty area and a neat one-two slid Feilhaber in behind the line with the U.S. international midfielder polishing off from inside the area.
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Chris Tierney - Fernando Cardenas (Kelyn Rowe 64), Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Lee Nguyen - Jose Moreno (Blake Brettschneider 77), Saer Sene.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-3-1-2): Sean Johnson - Dan Gargan, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause (Rafael Robayo 74) - Sebastian Grazzini - Orr Barouch (Federico Puppo 77), Dominic Oduro (Chris Rolfe 69).
The Chicago Fire made it two wins on the trot, posting a 3-1 win against Philadelphia Union on Sunday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 38 points from 22 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: PHI 1, CHI 3
- Union took a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute after a long cross from Freddy Adu sailed just over the head of rookie Chandler Hoffman and bounced off Chicago defender Jalil Anibaba and into the net for an own goal.
- But the Fire struck back with two goals into the right net before the halftime whistle blew. Their first came in the 43rd minute when Sherjill MacDonald beat center back Bakary Soumaré to the end line and crossed it to Chris Rolfe for a one-time finish.
- The Fire struck again in first-half stoppage time when center back Arne Friedrich headed home a Marco Pappa corner kick just inside the near post.
- The visitors built their lead to a commanding 3-1 in the 56th minute when Rolfe netted his second goal of the game – and fourth of the season – after dribbling downfield and blasting a shot from distance off Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath’s hand and into the back of the net.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against Toronto FC at Toyota Park. Sherjill MacDonald started up top in place of Dominic Oduro.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Arne Friedrich, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause (Patrick Nyarko 44) - Alvaro Fernandez, Chris Rolfe, Marco Pappa (Alex 62) - Sherjill MacDonald (Michael Videira 70).
- Chris Rolfe’s goals were his third and fourth since returning to MLS, giving him three in the last three games. It was the fourth multiple-goal game in MLS for Rolfe, the last when he scored a hat trick vs. New York on Oct. 23, 2008.
- “I think overall it was OK,” Rolfe said. “I had quite a few mistakes that I need to work on. Of course, when you have two goals as a forward, it’s always a good night.”
- After coming off the substitutes’ bench for back-to-back matches, Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald made his first Fire start as the spearhead of the attack.
- Alvaro Fernández made his second consecutive start and played the full match for the first time since coming to the club, on the right side of the midfield.
- “Those two need to be commended because they’ve come in and done a great job for us so quickly,” Rolfe said. “They’re really easy to play with, both of them know the game so well, and they know their roles.”
- For the third time in the last four matches, Patrick Nyarko came off as a substitute – each outing an extended shift of 40 minutes or more. Nyarko came on just before halftime for Logan Pause.
- After starting each of the first 22 league games for the Fire, Dominic Oduro did not feature at all. Alex also came off the bench for a second consecutive contest, after making three starts in a row.
- “Taking Patrick Nyarko and Alex off the bench, it’s huge for us,” Rolfe said. “And we didn’t even use Dominic tonight. We have a lot of weapons. It’s looking good for us.”
- But there was a major loss coming out of the match, as Pause suffered broken ribs and a pneumothorax in the collision that forced him from the field. He will be out 4-6 weeks.
- “We’re going to miss Logan on the field,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “The leadership and positive influence he brings to the team, his work rate on the field. He represents this club well every day and we hope he recovers well.”
- Following the match, Sean Johnson left to join the U.S. national team for their friendly in Mexico, one of three goalkeepers called into the team. It was his first call-up since the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, when his failure to hold a long-range shot allowed a late equalizer to El Salvador that eventually eliminated the USA from playing in London – a tournament won by Mexico.
- “Sean found his way back to balance and put this horrible moment behind him,” U.S. national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann said. “He focused on work day in and day out, and said, ‘I’ve got to do my best possible for the Chicago Fire and that I’ve got to be consistent, that I’m there to help my team win games and that I’m learning something new every day.’
- The Fire announced Guatemalan international Marco Pappa will join SC Heerenveen of the Dutch Eredivisie with the opening of the transfer window at the New Year. Pappa will conclude the 2012 MLS season in Chicago.
- “I’m very excited about taking the next step in my career and signing with SC Heerenveen,” Pappa said. “My focus is with the Fire and working hard to secure a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution saw their winless run stretched to six games, losing a second consecutive 1-0 match, this time to the Montréal Impact at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 23 games.
- The game's lone goal came in the 61st minute. Sanna Nyassi collected the ball with a timely tackle inside his own half, surged through midfield with the ball at his feet and thundered his effort past Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis to give his side all three points.
- Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made three changes to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to Sporting Kansas City at Gillette Stadium. Kevin Alston and A.J. Soares came into the back four for Florian Lechner and Darrius Barnes, and Jerry Bengtson returned from the Olympics to start for Dimitry Imbongo.
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Chris Tierney - Ryan Guy, Clyde Simms (Diego Fagundez 80), Benny Feilhaber (Kelyn Rowe 66), Lee Nguyen - Saer Sene, Jerry Bengtson (Fernando Cardenas 62).
HIGHLIGHTS: NE 0, MTL 1
- The Revolution are in the throes of a three-game losing slide, matching their longest under head coach Jay Heaps, and a six-game winless skid. They have lost six games by a 1-0 scoreline after the defeat by Montréal.
- “I think a lot of times we get the ball out wide and no one really knows what’s going to happen. We have some really crafty guys that like to take guys on, and those are times that guys want to get in the box for those crosses,” said midfielder Clyde Simms. “We got more balls in the box, guys were anticipating the ball a little better tonight so it’s definitely a step in the right direction; we just have to keep working on it.
- The Revolution have been shut out offensively in nine games this season. They have now suffered back-to-back losses for the second time this season, after opening the campaign with shutout losses at San Jose and Kansas City.
- “Just that final ball is lacking. I think we’re getting into decent spots, we have good spells of possession, but when we get into that advanced third of the field it’s just about putting the ball on the money and committing to getting runs in the box and we haven’t been doing that lately,” said defender Chris Tierney. “We just have to have that full commitment to lay our bodies on the line, make those runs, and do what it takes to score goals.”
- Jerry Bengtson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since July 14. Bengtson started four matches and recorded three goals for Honduras in the London Olympic Games.
- “He looked a little tired. He’s been in Honduras for the last four, five days – he came back the other day. He had a training with us and two days with us,” said Heaps. “But also, we were just trying to change it up a little bit. We needed fresh legs in. That was really it.”
- With Bengtson back in the lineup, Dimitry Imbongo was an unused substitute. He made his first MLS start the week before, playing 73 minutes in KC.
- Heaps maintained his midfield four for a second consecutive game, with Clyde Simms and Benny Feilhaber holding in the middle and Ryan Guy and Lee Nguyen providing attacking thrust from the flanks.
- “We were just trying to open them up a little bit, trying to get some gaps. When Lee (Nguyen) gets the ball, he’s going to be fouled so we tried to create a little bit … we wanted to get Ryan (Guy) a lane to penetrate and open up a little bit of space,” said Heaps. “And to do that you have to go long a little bit just to keep them honest.”
- Defenders Kevin Alston and A.J. Soares both returned to the starting lineup after missing the Sporting KC match with hamstring ailments.
- “Guys have been comfortable in playing, expecting their spots and at this level you have to earn it and now it’s become clear,” said Tierney. “I think there are a lot of guys who are good players and can contribute and at least give 110 percent, and I think Jay will look to get those guys on the field.”