Chicago Fire 3, New England Revolution 1 | MLS Match Recap
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire ended a five-game losing streak as they consigned the New England Revolution to a 3-1 defeat in front of an announced crowd of 16,694 at blustery Toyota Park.
In Brian Bliss’ first home game as interim head coach of Chicago, the Eastern Conference’s bottom side (8-18-6, 30 points) used second-half goals from David Accam, Harry Shipp and Gilberto to come from behind to claim just their eighth win of the season.
Despite taking the lead through Juan Agudelo, the Revolution saw their winless run extend to three games (13-11-8, 47 points).
Jermaine Jones saw a shot saved by Jon Busch in the second minute as New England started with intent, but despite a lot of prompting from both sides, both goalkeepers were virtual spectators for the opening 20 minutes.
The Fire’s first chance of note came in the 21st minute, when top scorer Accam weaved his way in from the left and unleashed a right-footed drive that Bobby Shuttleworth pushed around his left post with a finger-tip save.
Eight minutes later, Patrick Nyarko's purposeful run and cross down the right found its way to Gilberto, whose shot was saved by Shuttleworth. The Brazilian then struck a post from the resulting corner, when the ball dropped invitingly for him to volley goalwards first time.
Having escaped that spell of pressure, the visitors hit the hosts with a sucker punch when they took the lead in the 31stminute. Marauding left back Chris Tierney provided a teasing cross from the left and Agudelo showed greater hunger and desire to beat center backs Jeff Larentowicz and Daneil Cyrus to head home from five yards.
Kelyn Rowe almost doubled the Revs’ lead in the 44th minute when he skimmed the top of the crossbar with a speculative effort from 25 yards. At the other end, Nyarko teed up Accam, but he sent his header from the penalty spot high over Shuttleworth’s crossbar as the visitors went in 1-0 up at the break.
Fire legend Ante Razov was honored at halftime as he became the eighth inductee into the club’s esteemed Ring of Fire, and he will have been impressed by the side’s dramatic turnaround in the second half.
The Fire emerged with renewed impetus, with Nyarko’s left-footed shot from the top of the box testing Shuttleworth in the 50thminute.
Five minutes later, the Fire deservedly restored parity when the pacey Accam picked the ball up 40 yards from goal, and raced forward past a number of unconvincing challenges before slotting the ball past Shuttleworth at his near post.
Shipp was then the player to give the Fire the lead in the 59th minute, when he dispossessed a hesitant Andrew Farrell from 30 yards out before keeping his nerve to slot the ball calmly under the advancing Shuttleworth.
Rowe then missed a gilt-edged chance to level for the visitors in the 62nd minute when he sidefooted wide from close range following a left-wing free-kick with the goal at his mercy.
Busch then came to his side’s rescue twice in the space of two minutes, first denying Agudelo from 10 yards after a clever one-two with Alston in the 66th minute, and then saving a point-blank volley from the same player a minute later.
An increasingly frantic game began to ebb and flow from end to end, and Gilberto almost struck for a third Fire goal in the 69th minute when his blistering right-footed shot come back off Shuttleworth’s left upright.
Lee Nguyen drilled narrowly wide from outside the box in the 79th minute as the visitors chased an equalizer, while Nyarko then forced Shuttleworth into a save in the 85th minute.
Fire Substitute Matt Watson provided the inspiration for Chicago's third goal of the evening four minutes from time, showing strength and poise to come in from the right wing before Gilberto’s swivel and volley flew past Shuttleworth to give the Fire a rare three points.
Next up for the Revolution is a home clash against playoff rivals the Montreal Impact next Saturday, while the Fire travel to D.C. United a day later.