FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – An early strike from Quincy Amarikwa marked the difference as the Chicago Fire topped the New England Revolution 1-0 in front of 15,406 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
A turnover by the New England Revolution, combined with a chipped through ball from Mike Magee gave Amarikwa a breakaway chance in the third minute which he didn’t miss, and which turned out to be the only goal in the match. Although both teams had multiple chances throughout the night, the Revolution largely controlled possession and the pace of the match, which made the scoreline all the more frustrating for the home team.
For the Revolution (7-8-21, 23 points), it marks their fifth consecutive loss in MLS competition and their first loss to Chicago at home since June 2010. For the Chicago Fire (3-4-10, 19 points), it’s only their third win of the season and their first win in MLS competition since May 18th.
The Revolution, playing from behind for nearly the entire game, controlled the match with 62.5 percent of total possession in the game, but lacked chances to score in the first half. The Revolution failed to register a shot until Teal Bunbury’s low drive was saved by Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the 20th minute. Just three minutes later, the Revolution’s Daigo Kobayshi went down in the box looking for a penalty, but was given the first yellow card of the game for diving.
The Revolution suffered a blow in the 26th minute, when Andy Dorman was injured after a long range shot from outside the box. Bakary Soumare slid in on Dorman and collided with his right leg, causing a reported knee injury which forced Dorman out of the game and saw him replaced by Scott Caldwell.
Without Dorman, the Revolution marched on and began to create chances at the end of the first half. In the 35th minute, Diego Fagundez swung a cross in front of net, but Teal Bunbury could not connect with the pass at the near post and Daigo Kobayashi made contact at the far post, but drove the ball wide. Although the Chicago Fire conceded possession for defense in most of the match, they also had chances for a second goal. In the 40th minute, Alex’s cross missed an open Amarikwa in the center of the box, going over his head for a goal kick.
The beginning of the second half saw more of the same from the first half: Revolution controlling possession, but a lack of offensive firepower. With time winding down, The Revolution brought on Jerry Bengtson for Kelyn Rowe, shifting the formation from the original 4-5-1 to a 3-5-2. Despite not registering a shot, Bengtson was valuable in his first appearance with the Revolution since April 26th as the Revolution offense had 10 of their 23 shots in the final 25 minutes.
Bengtson also drew a penalty kick in the 84th minute, giving the Revolution their biggest chance of the night. With Lee Nguyen suspended for the match, Chris Tierney was the Revolution’s penalty taker and fired a shot low to Johnson’s right, but Johnson got a hand to the ball, pushing it off the inside of the goal post, before collecting the ball just in front of the goal line.
The penalty proved to be the best chance of the night for the Revolution, who failed to find the back of the net in a frustrating match for the home side. The Revolution ended the game outshooting the Fire 23-11 (7-6 in shots on goal), and ended the game with more corners (9-5), more possession (62.5 percent), and a higher passing accuracy (79.3 to 62.8 percent) than their opponents. However, the Fire’s early goal, consistent defense, and solid goalkeeping from Sean Johnson provided the Fire with three points in the standings.
The Revolution continue to struggle to find offense, as they’ve only scored twice in their last five MLS matches, all of which they’ve lost. This five game stretch comes after a five-game winning streak in MLS competition where the Revolution scored twice in all of those matches. The five-game skid also drops the Revolution into fourth place, where they sit one point behind Toronto FC, who beat Houston on Saturday night, and in front of the New York Red Bulls on goal differential.
The Revolution go on a two-game road trip over the next week, facing the LA Galaxy on Wednesday at 10:30 pm and FC Dallas next Saturday at 9 pm.