June 2, 2012
By Adam Burrows
Rookie comes off the bench to lead Revs to win over Fire
New England Soccer News Contributor
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.-Kelyn Rowe and Benny Feilhaber combined for a pair of second-half scores as the New England Revolution (5-7-1, 16 points) defeated the Chicago Fire (5-5-3, 18 points) 2-0 before 12,523 soggy fans on a wet night in Foxborough.
|Saer Sene and Shalrie Joseph try to put a shot on goal during the New England Revolutionís 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Photo by Paulo Lopes
After a desultory opening hour of scoreless play, Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps dialed up the right move, sending in Rowe as a 64th-minute substitute.
The rookie responded immediately.
Moments after misfiring on a breakaway effort, Rowe collected a 65th minute Feilhaber pass as he crossed into the box on the right. While sandwiched between two Chicago defenders, the rookie sent a right-footed toe poke back across his body into the corner of the net for his second goal of the season.
In the 70th minute, the midfielders reversed roles.
This time, Rowe found Feilhaber open on the right, and the US international fired decisively into the far corner of the Chicago net for his first goal of 2012.
The contest was the first of three meetings for the two mid-table Eastern Conference sides and the only MLS action of the day, as the rest of the league took the weekend off in deference to international competition.
Scoring opportunities were scarce in the first half. The Revolution mustered only one shot on goal, a weak header from Jose Moreno in the eleventh minute, and the Fire were able to generate little more.
In the eighteenth minute, a glancing header by Costa Rican Gonzalo Segares off a Pavel Pardo free kick had diving goalkeeper Matt Reis beat, but the far post saved the Revolution from surrendering their eighth set-play goal of the year.
A Fernando Cardenas turnover near the midfield line in the 29th minute led to a solo charge by Fire speedster Dominic Oduro, but the Ghanaianís effort from distance sailed over the bar.
In the 41st minute, Saer Sene collected Lee Nguyenís through pass as the tall Frenchman crossed the eighteen, but Sene skied the left-footed blast.
The most excitement of the first hour was produced by the halftime dance-off among New England sports mascots on Gillette Stadiumís east concourse, with the Revolutionís Slyde acquitting himself honorably for the home side.
Soon after the intermission, the woodwork again came to New Englandís aid, as an Oduro header glanced off the post.
Finally the game began to open up, with Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson saving an on-target Nguyen stinger and Reis knocking aside Sebastian Grazziniís attempt on the ensuing Chicago counterattack.
The Revolution squandered a golden opportunity in the 65th minute as Rowe, moments after coming on for Cardenas, was launched on a breakaway by a Sene through pass, but Johnson kicked away the rookieís effort.
Less than five minutes later, Rowe broke through, sending the Revolution on the way to their fourth home victory of the season, equaling their entire total from 2011.
Both teams were coming off similar weeks, each losing by one goal to Eastern Conference rivals away last Saturday, the Revolution 3-2 to DC United and the Fire 2-1 to Columbus, and then each getting eliminated from US Open Cup play by lower-division competition in extra time on the road Tuesday, the Revs to the USL PRO Harrisburg City Islanders on penalty kicks and the Fire to the PDL Michigan Bucks.
The hamstring strain suffered by Ryan Guy at RFK Stadium and Clyde Simmsís lingering ankle problems forced Jay Heaps to adjust the Revolution starting line-up.
Cardenas earned his third start of the season, slipping into the advance point of midfield, while Shalrie Joseph dropped back into the holding midfield spot.
Cardenasís countryman Jose Moreno started for the fourth time, paired up top with Saer Sene in an attack-minded formation.
The Fire were without their midfield leader Marco Pappa, recalled home to Guatemala in advance of the Blue and White taking on Jamaica and the US in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches.
Chicago also made adjustments to their back line as both former Rev Cory Gibbs and German international Arne Friedrich were out with injuries.