New England Soccer Today


Dreadfully poor defending helped gift Chicago an early 3-0 lead on Sunday evening and only poor finishing from the Fire and a stoppage time brace from Ryan Guy left the final score a somewhat respectable 3-2 loss for the New England Revolution at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

Guy’s first two MLS goals came far too late to salvage anything for the Revs (5-13-12, 27 pts.) who are just playing for pride at this point in the season. For the suddenly hot Fire (6-8-15, 33 pts.), the win, Chicago’s fourth in five games, pulls the team within six points of a playoff spot.

Chicago grabbed the lead in just the 5th minute after Patrick Nyarko was taken down on a breakaway by Matt Reis. Referee Michael Kennedy immediately pointed to the spot for the obvious penalty kick and Sebastian Grazzini placed his shot just inside the post, out of the reach of a diving Reis to make it 1-0.

Grazzini was in the center of the action again four minutes later when his through ball – combined with some naïve defending from Franco Coria – sent Dominic Oduro alone in on goal. Oduro rounded Reis and slotted it into the empty net to give the Fire a two-goal lead.

But the Fire weren’t done yet. Just before the half hour mark a gaffe from Reis allowed Nyarko to add a third goal. A long through ball from Oduro looked likely to be cleared by Reis, but the Revs goalkeeper was slow off his line, allowing Nyarko to get the ball and pass it into the empty net.

The Revs disastrous start could be partly blamed on the makeshift lineup the team was forced to use. With rookie centerback A.J. Soares already out due to injury, the Revs suffered another blow when fellow centerback Ryan Cochrane became unavailable while attending to personal family matters back in Boston.

That forced head coach Steve Nicol to start Coria and move Darrius Barnes from left back into the middle with Chris Tierney replacing him on the left. The lack of coordination amongst the defense was obvious from the opening whistle with the Fire constantly exploiting holes frequently created by poor positioning.

The rest of the lineup was makeshift as well. With Tierney in the backline Kenny Mansally started at left midfield. Guy got just his second start replacing the injured Monsef Zerka at right midfield. Up top Zack Schilawski replaced the injured Rajko Lekic and partnered with Milton Caraglio.

And the Fire’s early three goals weren’t the team’s only chances. Reis came up big to deny another Oduro breakaway in the 57th minute as the home team’s pace up top plagued the Revs backline.

The Revs had no shortage of shots – 22 to be exact – but didn’t cause Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson too many problems until Guy finally struck for the Revs in the 90th minute. A collision between Caraglio and Johnson allowed a long ball from Kevin Alston to fall for Guy, who chipped a shot just under the crossbar to pull the Revs back within two.

Just before the final whistle, Guy would add a second goal. This time 16-year-old substitute Diego Fagundez would start the play. Fagundez back-heeled a pass to Caraglio, making a run across the top of the box, and the Argentine then found Guy in space. Guy slotted it inside the near post with his left foot to make it 3-2.

The Revs, with just four games remaining, return to action on Saturday, October 1st, at Gillette Stadium against the Seattle Sounders at 7:30 p.m.


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