August 18, 2012
Revs loose fourth straight, 2-1 to Chicago
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill---The Chicago Fire demonstrated why they’ve been rising through the Eastern Conference standings as they sent the reeling New England Revolution to their fourth consecutive loss with a 2-1 victory at Toyota Park behind first-half goals from Chris Rolfe and Sherjill McDonald.
|Fernando Cardenas scored the only goal for the Revolution in their fourth straight loss.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The third-place Fire (12-7-5, 41 points) displayed power, speed, and fast-paced ball movement in an attack featuring mid-season acquisitions Rolfe, who’s excelled since returning from a two-year stint in Denmark, and Dutch target man McDonald, who arrived as a designated player from the Belgian top flight in July.
Only alert goalkeeping from Matt Reis kept the margin close as the Revolution (6-13-5, 23 points) were usually a step behind the streaking home side.
Questionable officiating victimized the Revolution just before the four-minute mark as referee Sorin Stoica whistled a penalty after A.J. Soares appeared to touch the ball away cleanly as Rolfe hit the ground in the box after a give and go with Patrick Nyarko.
Matt Reis guessed correctly, diving right and getting a hand on Rolfe’s effort from the spot, but the well-struck shot had enough power to ping off the post and into the net.
New England responded positively to the early deficit, intensifying their attack behind Fernando Cardenas and finding an equalizer in the eleventh minute.
Saer Sene tracked down a Soares long ball in the left corner and had time to drill a low cross into the box that a sliding Cardenas was able to get a foot on in traffic.
Sean Johnson made the initial save, but after the ball knocked around, Cardenas swept it into the net while lying on his back for his second goal of the 2012 campaign.
The Fire regained the lead for good in the 25th minute as McDonald registered his first MLS goal.
Nyarko collected a Gonzalo Segares throw-in from near the corner, beating Kevin Alston to the ball, and then sent a short cross into the box that McDonald headed down and past Reis from six yards out as Soares was slow to mark the burly Dutch striker.
The Fire had numerous chances to extend their lead as New England relinquished the initiative and had difficulty establishing possession.
Former Seattle Sounder Alvaro Fernandez came close in the 40th minute but the Uruguayan’s chip from a tight angle grazed off the crossbar.
As Chicago gained firm control of the midfield and pushed forward in waves, McDonald squandered an opportunity in the 43d minute, twisting a short-range open header outside the post.
The Fire continued their fast-paced attack in the second half, but Reis kept the Revolution within reach.
The veteran goalkeeper leaped to his left to punch to safety a long-range Fernandez blast in the 54th minute then two minutes later came off his line to cut off Nyarko after the Ghanaian beat Alston to the end line and approached the goal unimpeded.
Jalil Anibaba put a header on target off a 74th minute corner kick, but Benny Feilhaber saved off the line at the near post and Dominic Oduro’s bicycle attempt off the rebound floated high.
Reis rescued the Revolution again in the 80th minute, reaching high with his left hand to tip away a well-struck toe poke from just outside the box off the foot of former New England reservist Michael Vedeira.
In the 86th minute, Oduro dribbled a shot just wide after a retreating Soares and Stephen McCarthy yielded space.
Soares put a long-range twister on target in stoppage time but Johnson was able to gather in it and preserve the third-straght Chicago win.
Jay Heaps shook up the stalled Revolution line-up, benching Feilhaber, whose giveaway led to Sanna Nyassi’s game-winning score for Montreal last Sunday, inserting Cardenas into the midfield on the right, and moving the versatile Ryan Guy to a central position alongside Clyde Simms.
Feilhaber came on to start the second half, replacing Lee Nguyen who exited after aggravating a knee injury.
With Jerry Bengston rejoining the team late in the week after scoring two goals and playing a full ninety minutes for the Honduran national team in a 2-0 victory over Boca Juniors in Miami on Wednesday night, Blake Brettschneider got the start up top alongside Sene.
Bengtson replaced Brettschenider shortly before the hour mark, but the busy Olympian was unable to influence the outcome.