New England Soccer Today

Fired Up!

Jerry Bengtson scored the first goal of the 2013 season for the Revolution. (Photo: Kari Heistad/

Jerry Bengtson scored the first goal of the 2013 season for the Revolution. (Photo: Kari Heistad/

Jerry Bengtson’s 62nd minute strike was all the New England Revolution needed to defeat the Chicago Fire on Saturday night in their season opener at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Matt Reis and the Revolution backline recorded a shutout as the Revolution started things off with a 1-0 win.

Bengtson’s goal came after former Revolution midfielder and current Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz could only clear a corner kick as far as Kelyn Rowe about 30 yards from goal and Rowe headed it forward to Juan Toja. Toja played it back to Rowe, who chipped a pass to Bengtson at the far post. The Honduran International was running in on goal behind the defense and headed it inside the post from close range.

The result was the first time the Revolution (1-0-0, 3 points) had won at Toyota Park since 2006. For Chicago (0-2-0, 0 points), it was their second straight loss to start the season.

New England handed four players their debut in the starting line-up with Jose Gonçalves (Portugal) and Andrew Farrell (#1 SuperDraft pick) and midfielders Donnie Smith (2nd round SuperDraft pick) and Kalifa Cisse (Mali) making their first MLS appearances.

The Fire had the first opportunity of the match in just the third minute, but after some nice play down the right flank, Sherjill MacDonald blasted shot from just inside the box well high of the target after receiving the ball from Steven Kinney.

Two minutes later it was the Revolution with a chance off a Fire giveaway. Jerry Bengtson sent a cross into the box where Cisse lost his defender and headed a powerful shot on frame. Cisse’s header was too close to Sean Johnson, who made the save.

The game became more bogged down in midfield after the opening opportunities, but the Fire should’ve taken the lead in the 27th minute when Patrick Nyarko stole the ball from Smith, who was trying to shield it over the goal line. Nyarko passed it to MacDonald who was just yards from goal in space, but the Dutch forward flubbed his shot right at goalkeeper Matt Reis, who easily made the save.

Four minutes later it was Fire midfielder Dilly Duka testing Reis. Duka got the ball about 30 yards from goal and blasted a shot on frame, but Reis made an impressive diving save and tipped it off the crossbar.

The Fire continued on the offensive in the second half when halftime substitute Maicon Santos played Joel Lindpere behind the defense in the 50th minute. Lindpere ran in on goal and attempted to find Duka with a pass to his left, but Reis was quick off his line to grab the poorly weighted ball before it got to Duka.

New England had perhaps their best chance of the match so far in the 56th minute after some fantastic combination play at the top of the box between Lee Nguyen, Rowe and Juan Toja. Rowe eventually played Toja in towards goal, but Austin Berry got back just in tap to tap it away from Toja and out of bounds for a corner kick.

Bengtson would end the deadlock in the 62nd minute after Rowe, a second half substitute, headed forward a poor Larentowicz clearance off a Revolution corner kick. Toja immediately played the ball back to Rowe, who chipped it over the defense where Bengtson got forward to head it into the lower corner past a stunned Sean Johnson from close range.

Just over 10 minutes later it was Rowe with a chance, as the 21-year-old attempted a long shot from about 30 yards. The second year midfielder’s effort went just high of the target.

The Fire came close to finding an equalizer in stoppage time, but Santos shot was well saved by Reis.

The Revolution returns to action on Saturday, March 16, with a trip to face the Philadelphia Union.


  1. Demetrios Tsillas

    March 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Reis had a good game. Chicago seemed to have more possession in their
    attacking third but the Revs dealt with it more or less effectively. This was
    a game won by Reis and the back four. The Revs forwards looked dangerous
    only three or four times during the game but when they did attack I thought
    they were more coordinated as a unit. Rowe was a great sub. The midfield looked good most of the time but I think there will be improvement. Tojas
    definitely showed leadership and went the full 90 although he seemed to
    drag at times. Considering this was an away opener in Chicago in March I
    think the Revs did well.

    • Demetrios Tsillas

      March 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Sorry mistake: Fegundez subbed for Roja after 80. Still a good showing for Roja.

  2. rick sewall

    March 10, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Toja played well. Nice to have someone willing and able to make a short pass like Valderrama. Farrell is a moose. Overall , a very satisfying start for the Revs

  3. Jay Wells

    March 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Lawrentowicz didn’t clear it to Rowe. Toja passed it to Rowe, who chipped it to the back post, finding Bengston’s noggin.

    • Sean Donahue

      March 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Larentowicz did clear it to Rowe, who headed it forward and immediately got it back from Toja.

  4. W Peter Jones

    March 10, 2013 at 10:58 am

    NICE WIN BY THE REVS? I was very impressed by Goncalves (MAN OF THE MATCH) he made his presence felt in defence, the whole defence played well. Rowe was the game changer (Supper sub) Smith played fair his defence duties need to be worked on. Farrell played very well he looked like he was enjoying himself out there? The midfield could be improved a bit, Lets hope we can get a win or draw next week

  5. steve8

    March 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Farrell had an excellent first professional game – a lot of confidence on the ball. Smith looked tentative and unwilling to hold onto the ball – maybe afraid to make a mistake. The physicality of Cisse (and Goncalves) was great to see, I think last year we’d only see a physical presence in retaliation but in this game they showed to be a strong and tough team. The Revs new toughness was also demonstrated by Toja, he was able to hold onto the ball against physical challenges that would have killed the Revs last year either by loss of ball or loss of momentum. The game completely changed when Rowe came on – good for him! I’m excited for this team, it should be a fun season to watch.

    • Tucksuck Bo

      March 10, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      I think Toja trying to do to much and falling on the the ground so often. The first haft it’s him to cause middle field lost control . I undertand that he is not match fit just yet . If he don’t try to much , Bengston shoult have a chance to see one more goal.

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