New England Soccer Today

Fire Eradicates Revs Playoff Hopes

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The New England Revolution needed a win and some help on Sunday to keep a realistic hope of a playoff spot alive. The Revolution got the help they needed from other results, but couldn’t take care of business themselves, falling 2-1 to the last place Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

In game number 33 of the regular season, it was some preseason-esque defending by the Revolution that proved costly. In just the ninth minute the Revolution defense left Brandon Vincent with tons of space on the wing and Michael de Leeuw wide open in the box, allowing the two to combine for an easy goal. The Revolution would pull one back just before halftime through Diego Fagundez and then looked in good shape after gaining a man advantage when Luis Solignac was ejected.

But it was more basic defensive errors that cost the team when goalkeeper Brad Knigton was caught unaware with the ball at his feet with David Accam approaching, and was sent off when he was forced to foul Accam in the 73rd minute. Seven minutes later Andrew Farrell and Jose Goncalves poorly defended Accam, allowing him an easy breakaway off of a long ball, leading to the Fire’s winning goal.

The result, combined with other results around the league, means the Revolution were not mathematically eliminated, but would need an extremely unrealistic combination of defeating the Montreal Impact next weekend in Foxboro and Philadelphia losing at home to the New York Red Bulls, while also making up a 12 goal deficit in goal differential to grab the last playoff spot.

The Revolution got off to a poor start and just nine minutes in some extremely sloppy defending saw the Fire take the lead. Accam found Vincent with acres of space on the left flank and the rookie left back sent a low cross into the box where a completely unmarked de Leeuw easily slotted it past Knighton from close range.

Only some big saves from Knighton managed to keep the Revolution in the game. Knighton denied Accam in the 18th minute after he easily sliced his way through the Revolution defense. Knighton then denied Arturo Alvarez in the 41st minute with a fantastic saved after Accam again easily got through the Revolution defense to set-up Alvarez.

Fagundez and Lee Nguyen managed a couple shots on frame for the Revolution, but they were poorly placed and easily saved by Sean Johnson.

New England caught a break in the 43rd minute when Johnson poorly played the ball out, leading to a turnover in a dangerous position. Juan Agudelo made the interception, ran into the box and found Nguyen. The ball was quickly tackled away from Nguyen, but fell to Fagundez, whose long range shot was deflected and beat Johnson just inside the near post.

The Revolution were given another boost in the 54th minute when Luis Solignac was ejected for an off the ball foul on London Woodberry.

Eight minutes later, New England should’ve taken the lead when a low cross from Nguyen, following a short corner, was directed towards goal in the 62nd minute by Agudelo from close range. Agudelo’s shot hit the cross bar, but fell right to Darrius Barnes inches from net. Barnes’ header, however, was right into the hands of Johnson.

Farrell played the role of hero in the 66th minute when the Revolution were caught out on a corner kick. The ball looked to be falling to a wide open de Leeuw for an easy finish, but Farrell slid in and cleared the ball out for another corner.

The sides were made even at 10 men apiece in the 73rd minute when Knighton was caught with the ball by Accam and tripped up the attacked. Knighton saw straight red for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Bobby Shuttleworth was subbed on for Barnes and replaced Knighton in net.

Shuttleworth then came up big to keep the Revolution alive four minutes later, denying a dangerous header from Joao Meira.

Shuttleworth could do nothing in the 80th minute, however, when some more awful defending from the Revolution let Accam sneak behind the defense on a long ball and run in alone on goal. The dangerous attacked made no mistake and slotted it past Shuttleworth to put the home side in the lead.

Chicago nearly made it a two goal lead in the 90th minute when a low cross found Accam on the goal line with an open net. Somehow the spin saw the ball deflect off Accam and go over the net.

The Revolution finish the season at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, October 23, against the Montreal Impact.


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