New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire | 2016 US Open Cup Preview
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs. CHICAGO FIRE
GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.
August 9, 2016 (U.S. Open Cup)
8 pm ET (ESPN2 in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada)
Two Eastern Conference teams looking to snap long trophy droughts will collide on Tuesday in the US Open Cup semifinals, as the New England Revolution welcome the Chicago Fire to Gillette Stadium.
The clubs reached this stage in very different circumstances, as the Fire handled the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers fairly easily in the quarterfinals, while the Revolution outlasted the Philadelphia Union in a penalty-kick shootout. Still, both teams will fancy their chances of moving one step closer to Open Cup glory.
In Search of Hardware
Both the Revolution and Fire have not won a significant piece of silverware in nearly a decade. The Fire last won a trophy in 2006 when they lifted their fourth Open Cup to date, while the Revolution were crowned USOC champions for the first time in the following year's edition of the tournament .
Since then, neither side has been able to deliver their fanbase a title. New England most recently made it to MLS Cup 2014 before losing to the LA Galaxy, and Chicago advanced to the 2011 US Open Cup title game, but fell to the Seattle Sounders. A win on Tuesday would offer an opportunity to win something significant after years of finishing empty-handed.
The Revolution have not been overly impressive in MLS play in recent weeks, but their last victory came against this very Fire team at Gillette Stadium on July 23. On that day, New England prevailed 1-0 via a Je-Vaughn Watson goal, and there will surely be aspects of that performance, especially on the defensive side, that the Revs will try to replicate this time around.
Jay Heaps' team also toppled the Fire 2-0 at home in May. But Tuesday's hosts will need to be better across the board if they are to win this one. The Revolution have lost their last two MLS games by a combined score of 7-2, with the most recent defeat Saturday's 4-1 shellacking at the hands of Toronto FC. It must be said, though, that both the lopsided losses came on the road, whereas New England are tough to beat at home. They've lost just twice at Gillette Stadium this year, going 5-2-4 at home in league action.
The Fire will have to snap a long streak of road futility if they are to make it to the tournament final. The Men in Red have not won an away game in MLS or Open Cup play since July 12, 2014. That unflattering run includes a grisly 0-9-2 record on the road this year in league play. So Chicago will have to battle both mental and physical challenges in this one.
The good news for the Fire, however, is that their defense has held up well in this tournament. Chicago have only conceded two goals in their three games to this point, and none in the 3-0 quarterfinal win over Ft. Lauderdale last month. What's more, new attacking additions have joined Chicago since that July 20 meeting, including former Colorado Rapids player Luis Solignac and Armenian forward David Arshakyan.