Chicago Fire 2, New England Revolution 2 | MLS Match Recap
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution played out a seesaw 2-2 draw on Saturday night that did little to improve either side's position in a congested Eastern Conference table.
The teams went in 1-1 at the break thank to Lee Nguyen’s 28th-minute strike and Shaun Maloney’s 44th-minute penalty kick, before goals from Fire captain Razvan Cocis and Kelyn Rowe in a more eventful second half saw the two share the spoils.
Frank Yallop’s Fire remain bottom of the East with a record of 5-11-4 for 19 points, while Jay Heaps’ Revolution stay in fourth with double the points (7-9-7, 28 points).
The Fire made three changes from the midweek US Open Cup win over Orlando City, with Sean Johnson returning in goal for Jon Busch, David Accam starting on the wing instead of Patrick Nyarko and USOC two-goal hero Kennedy Igboananike getting the nod up top ahead of Jason Johnson.
The visitors made just one change with captain Jose Goncalves returning to the heart of their defense in place of London Woodberry, who took his place on the bench alongside influential Designated Player Jermaine Jones, who would not appear in the match.
Both attacks took some time to find their rhythm until New England’s Nguyen tested Johnson from the edge of the area with the first threatening shot in the 14th minute.
The Fire’s first real chance should have yielded greater rewards in the 24th minute when a corner from Harry Shipp on the right fell to Cocis on the six-yard line. But with the goal at his mercy, the Romanian lost his footing and failed to make a proper connection and the ball trickled wide.
The Revolution punished that miss four minutes later when Scott Caldwell’s cross from the left was pushed away by the Fire 'keeper right into the path of Nguyen, who showed great composure to finish calmly from 14 yards.
The Fire drew level in controversial circumstances when Goncalves was adjudged to have fouled the dangerous Accam in the 43rd minute after Revs 'keeper Brad Knighton had saved a near post header. The visitors debated the call, but Maloney kept his nerve to slot home the resulting penalty low to Knighton’s left.
Cocis was again at the center of things in the second half, drilling a right-footed shot just wide of Knighton’s left post on the hour. Then at the other end, the same player deflected a cross onto his 'keeper's right post in the 63rd minute, much to the relief of the majority of the 14,159 fans inside Toyota Park.
But with 15 minutes left Cocis finally struck, proving to be in the right place to direct Matt Watson’s saved shot over the line from a couple of yards. But it was a lead that didn’t last long.
The Revolution hit back in devastating style just two minutes later when MLS All-Star Chris Tierney’s cross from the left caught the Fire defense ball watching, and unmarked substitute Kelyn Rowe, who made the far-post run, had the simplest of tasks to sidefoot the ball home from five yards.
The visitors thought they had the winner 10 minutes from time, when New England's Charlie Davies hit the back of the net, but the goal was called back due to an offside flag which negated an advantage call by the referee, who had momentarily allowed play to continue.
Next up, the Revolution host Toronto FC on Saturday August 1, while the Fire welcome FC Dallas a day later.