New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire | 2017 MLS Match Preview
New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire
2017 MLS Regular Season
Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Massachusetts
Saturday, June 17 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
The Chicago Fire may be the MLS side to make the biggest turnaround from 2016 to 2017, and are deservedly getting considerable plaudits for their improved play, clutch signings and above all, positive results. In contrast, the New England Revolution are sitting in a very similar position they have for most of their seasons under Jay Heaps: Solid, if not spectacular, but with their results largely going under the radar at this stage in the season.
Both teams enter this game on short rest, having won their midweek games in the US Open Cup, coincidentally each against their former USL affiliates. And while the Fire are clearly getting the headlines these days, they've only won one game on the road this season in league play, and the Revolution are unbeaten at Gillette Stadium this year.
New England Revolution
The Revs came off their break in league play last weekend with a 3-0 win in the Open Cup against the Rochester Rhinos on Wednesday. They scored all their goals in a 10-minute stretch on either side of halftime after Rochester's Joe Farrell was sent off after picking up his second yellow card in the 40th minute. Teal Bunbury, Donnie Smith and Zachary Herivaux had the goals for New England.
While Bunbury hoped the performance would lead to more playing time in the MLS regular season, where he's been used as a bench option this year, he also noted the 2016 Open Cup finalist have their eyes on the prize once again this year.
“This is huge not just for me, but for other guys who might not be getting a lot of opportunities and minutes in regular season play,” Bunbury said after the game. “Like I’ve said, we have a deep enough team that we could win this whole thing. That’s our motivation.”
Before they worry about their next Open Cup game, against D.C. United, they need to take care of business against Chicago. At present, they sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just below the red line. A win on Saturday could vault them back in the playoff mix and help ease their minds a bit before the next round of the USOC.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: M Xavier Kouassi (quad injury)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Cody Cropper – Andrew Farrell, Benjamin Angoua, Antonio Delamea, Chris Tierney – Scott Caldwell, Gershon Koffie – Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez – Kei Kamara
Notes: New England have yet to lose at home this season (5W-2D), one of just five teams to do that this season. The Revolution have won three straight home games and are unbeaten in their last 11 home games (9W-2D)...Juan Agudelo has the third-best minutes per goal ratio at home this season for any player with two or more goals at 73.8 minutes. Agudelo has five goals at home this season.
The talking point coming out of the Fire's 1-0 Open Cup victory over Saint Louis FC on Wednesday was Luis Solignac's goal. The Argentine, who joined Chicago in August 2016 in a trade from the Colorado Rapids, has not been a prolific scorer in his time in the United States, racking up a total of eight goals in MLS play in his career to date, but Wednesday's goal gives him four across all competitions so far in 2017, repaying the faith Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic has put in him.
“It’s instinct,” Solignac said of his goal. “When you get the chance to do it, you just hope it goes in.”
In addition to keeping Solignac firing, the Open Cup win also gave Chicago their second road win of the season across all competitions. Given their recent futility on the road, going more than two years without winning a road game in the league (July 2014-August 2016), racking up a couple victories already this season may help raise the Fire's outlook ahead of a tricky road game in Foxborough.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT - M John Goossens (ankle surgery)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Matt Lampson – Matt Polster, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent – Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dax McCarty – Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw, David Accam – Nemanja Nikolic
Notes: The Fire have not lost in their last three road games (1W-2D). It is the longest such streak since Chicago went 1W-0L- 2D from June 6-July 12, 2014...Nemanja Nikolic netted his 12th goal of the season last weekend against Atlanta. It was his second penalty goal of the season. In 2016, no Fire player had more than nine goals and had two penalty goals all season.
- Overall: New England 21 wins (75 goals), Chicago 23 wins (73 goals), 11 draws
- At New England: New England 16 wins (41 goals), Chicago 9 wins (26 goals), 3 draws
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Philippe Briere, Craig Lowry
Fourth Official: Sorin Stoica