MLS Match Preview: Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution

CHICAGO FIRE vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
TOYOTA PARK - Bridgeview, Ill.
March 9, 2013 (WEEK 2, MLS Game #13)
7:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm PT (NBC Sports Network)

The Chicago Fire make their home debut against a team making their 2013 debut, when the New England Revolution visit Toyota Park on Saturday evening. The Fire began the new season with a heavy defeat, falling 4-0 to the defending champion LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. The Revolution are opening their second season under head coach Jay Heaps, the final club to kick off the new campaign.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez
MLS Career: 77 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 14; pens: 11

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DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (43 meetings): Fire 19 wins, 60 goals ... Revolution 15 wins, 58 goals ... Ties 9
AT CHICAGO (21 meetings): Fire 11 wins, 36 goals ... Revolution 4 wins, 26 goals ... Ties 6
RETURN MATCHES: 8/17: New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET; 9/14: Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS):

6/2: NE 2, CHI 0 (Rowe 69; Feilhaber 73)
8/18: CHI 2, NE 1 (Rolfe 5; MacDonald 25 – Cardenas 11)
10/20: NE 1, CHI 0 (Fagundez 17)

  • In the first meeting a year ago, the Revolution snapped a 10-game winning streak in league play vs, Chicago. Before the 2-0 win June 2 at Gilllette Stadium, New England’s last victory in regular season play had come May 6, 2007 in Foxborough.
  • The Revolution haven’t won in Bridgeview in MLS competition since a 2-1 win July 8, 2006. The Fire have won eight of the nine matches since in league and cup play.
  • The Revolution did defeat the Fire in the 2009 SuperLiga competition, a 1-0 victory on July 17 at Toyota Park. That win snapped a winless span of eight games in all competitions.
  • The teams met five consecutive years from 2005-09 – and eight times in all since 2000 – in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Three times (2003, ’05, ’07) they’ve faced each other with a trip to MLS Cup on the line. Each team advanced on four occasions.
  • Coaches record: Jay Heaps v CHI: P3 W2 L1 D0 ... Frank Klopas vs. NE: P5 W1 L3 D1

CHICAGO FIRE

The Chicago Fire suffered a long day to open their 2013 campaign, the defending champion LA Galaxy getting a hat trick from Mike Magee on their way to a 4-0 victory at The Home Depot Center.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy and Magee scored their first in the 38th minute. An attempted pass by Todd Dunivant was deflected by a Fire defender Steven Kinney -- but landed right at the feet of Magee, who volleyed inside the right post from about 12 yards.
  • The Galaxy and Magee doubled their count in the 68th minute. Again, Robbie Keane played instigator, splitting two defenders with a pass after he couldn't find an open shot at the top of the box, Magee firing home with his left foot.
  • HIGHLIGHTS: LA 4, Chicago 0

    It was 3-0 for both the defending champions and Magee six minutes later. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped Keane at the right post, but Magee took the rebound off his chest on the bounce, then turned and volleyed home.

  • The rout was completed 10 minutes from time following a corner kick, when Keane prodded the ball from close range after Omar Gonzalez headed down a cross from Michael Stephens.
  • The all-new central midfield of Joel Lindpere and Jeff Larentowicz made their Fire debuts, and Steven Kinney started in the back four with Arne Friedrich out to injury.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Steven Kinney, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Joel Lindpere (Yazid Atouba 71), Jeff Larentowicz, Dilly Duka (Alex 57) - Chris Rolfe, Maicon Santos (Sherjill MacDonald 67).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Fire lost their season opener for the first time since 2010, with all of those matches coming away from Toyota Park.
  • “The one thing I looked at was that the team looked fatigued little bit. When you are tired, mentally you make mistakes,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “I think we gave up soft goals based on that. It’s good to be going home; we’ve been on the road for a long time. It’s one game, it’s behind us and now we have to look forward to the next match.”
  • For the season opener, Klopas started Maicon Santos in attack alongside Chris Rolfe, with Sherjill MacDonald coming on at the three-quarter mark.
  • “You have depth in a team and you are always looking through trainings, through preseason, and I felt that the guys we had on the field leading up to this game seemed to have a better combination when we had the ball and giving a little better rhythm, but it’s just one game,” said Kloipas. “We do have depth in the team; we have options.”
  • Said Santos: “I was not surprised. I worked for that. I came here to get my spot, to be able to help the team and be able to score lots of goals.”
  • Klopas ran out a new central midfield pairing of Jeff Larentowicz (last Colorado) and Joel Lindpere (last New York), with long-time campaigner Logan Pause an unused substitute.
  • “We worked with each other in preseason and got to know each other's tendencies, playing how the coach wants us to play,” Larentowicz said. “Attacking-wise, we never really got into much of a flow in the first half, creating good possession, good possession to go forward. In the second half, they had opportunities, they took them and they put the game out of reach.”
  • The Fire make their Bridgeview bow coming off a loss and a draw in their final two regular season games last year, and a loss to Houston at home in the knockout round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • “Coming in here (to The Home Depot Center) was a tough task, a tough team, and a tough place to play,” Larentowicz said. “Next week we'll be at home. ... Whenever we're at home, we want to control the game, create more possession, create certain patterns so that we can be dangerous.”
  • With Arne Friedrich sidelined through injury, Steven Kinney made his first league appearance since 2010, partnering Austin Berry in central defense. Kinney was primarily a fullback before suffering a torn Achilles tendon that forced him out.
  • “I just think me and Arne got used to each other a lot last year, so there wasn't a lot of need for communication and shaping,” Berry said. “We had a lot of fluid movement with each other. Steve's a good player, and it's exciting to see him back from injury. It's going to take a little bit of time to get used to his movements and for us to jell.”

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution finally open their 2013 season looking to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time with Jay Heaps in charge. The Revolution finished in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 35 points from 34 matches in 2012, Heaps’s first year in charge, missing out on the postseason for a third consecutive season.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Revolution concluded their preseason campaign with a 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls in their final match of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz.
  • Lee Nguyen and Jerry Bengtson scored first-half goals for the Revolution. The Revolution concluded their preseason campaign with a 2-3-1 record against MLS competition.
  • Here’s the Revolution team: Matt Reis, Tyler Polak, Jose Goncalves, Stephen McCarthy (Bilal Duckett 46), A.J. Soares, Lee Nguyen (Scott Caldwell 80), Kalifa Cisse (Clyde Simms 69), Juan Toja (Donnie Smith* 57), Kelyn Rowe (Andy Dorman 75), Diego Fagundez (Chad Barrett 83), Jerry Bengtson (Ryan Guy 83)
  • With 18 of the 19 teams in action over the opening weekend, the Revolution become the last team to start their new campaign.
  • “You want to be part of opening weekend and the excitement of it, but at the same time this also gives us another week of preparation, another week to recover and get ourselves ready for next week’s game,” said Heaps.
  • With his first appearance in 2013, goalkeeper Matt Reis will become just the third player in MLS history to make one appearance in at least 16 different seasons. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was the first; he was joined by Colorado Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni last weekend.
  • WATCH: RevolutionSoccer.net's Box-To-Box

    "Matt is in good form on crosses and corners and set pieces," Heaps sad. "He's got a good sense of himself right now and feels comfortable with the center backs. He's got good communication and feels comfortable playing the ball at the back."

  • Chad Barrett is hoping to be in the mix for a place in the team against his former club. Barrett returned to MLS over the offseason after spending the second half of last year on loan with Valerenga in Norway, coming to the Revolution through the re-entry draft.
  • “He’s shown that he’s got some tenacity, he’s good at this level, and we’re expecting him to come here and fight to play,” Heaps said. “Jerry’s going to be gone for a while with the national team, and Saer’s still coming back from injury, so we need depth at forward. ... I think Chad can play a lot of different roles, and he has the experience to understand that when he steps on the pitch, he’s the guy.”
  • Saer Sene is still sidelined after tearing the ACL in his left knee last August and could rejoin his teammates at some point in April.
  • “His rehab has gone fantastically well,” Revolution player personnel boss Mike Burns said. “We're anticipating – barring any setbacks – that he will return to the field some time in April. There's no guarantee there, but that's the timetable our medical trainers and our staff have.”

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

IN: MF Andy Dorman (11/15/12 - Right of first refusal signing on free transfer from Crystal Palace); MF Kalifa Cissé (11/19/12 - Discovery signing on free transfer from Bristol City); FW Chad Barrett (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); MF Scott Caldwell (12/21/12 - Homegrown); DF José Gonçalves (01/04/13 - loan from FC Sion); DF Andrew Farrell (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); FW Matt Horth (1/25/13 - free); DF Bilal Duckett (2/11/13 - free)

OUT: FW Blake Brettschneider (11/19/12 - option declined); DF Flo Lechner (11/19/12 - option declined); MF Alec Purdie (11/19/12 - option declined); MF Michael Roach (11/19/12 - option declined); MF Fernando Cárdenas (11/30/12 - option declined); MF Blair Gavin (11/30/12 - option declined); GK Tim Murray (11/30/12 - option declined); MF Benny Feilhaber (12/11/12 - traded to Sporting KC)