Preview: Old foes New England, Chicago renew rivalry
GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-NE; CSN-Chi)
June 18, 2011 (WEEK 14; MLS Game 133)
The New England Revolution and Chicago Fire renew their old acquaintances when the clubs meet Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revs are playing for a second time at home this week, reaching a scoreless draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday. The Fire finally finished off a club-record winless run last weekend, getting a late winner in a 1-0 win at the Columbus Crew.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Drew Fischer
MLS Career: 31 games; FC/gm: 28.5; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 6; pens: 4
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION — OUT: MF Ousmane Dabo (R quad strain); FW Kheli Dube (whiplash); MF Marko Perovic (L knee sprain); DOUBTFUL: MF Benny Feilhaber (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Didier Domi (R Achilles tendonitis) ... CHICAGO FIRE — OUT: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles tendinitis); DOUBTFUL: MF Marko Maric (L deltoid ligament sprain); PROBABLE: DF Josip Mikulic (L clavicle fracture)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NE: Stephen McCarthy ... CHI: Diego Chaves
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NE: Shalrie Joseph ... CHI: Cory Gibbs, Cristian Nazarit, Dominic Oduro, Daniel Paladini, Gaston Puerari, Gonzalo Segares
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): Revolution 13 wins, 51 goals ... Fire 17 wins, 54 goals ... Ties 8
AT NEW ENGLAND (5 meetings): Revolution 9 wins, 28 goals ... Fire 8 wins, 23 goals ... Ties 2
RETURN MATCH: 9/25: Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution, 3 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS)
6/27: NE 0, CHI 1 (Pappa 30)
8/18: CHI 2, NE 1 (Husidic 32; Carr 85 — Perovic 16)
• The Fire have a eight-game undefeated streak against the Revolution in league play. New England's last victory in regular season play came May 6, 2007 at Gillette Stadium.
• The Revolution did defeat the Fire in SuperLiga last year, a 1-0 victory on July 17 at Toyota Park. It was the first victory in Chicago for the Revolution since July 8, 2006, a 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: Steve Nicol v CHI: P28 W10 L13 D5 ... Frank Klopas vs. NE: first game
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution put an end to their four-game losing streak but still couldn't come away with the full three points, playing to a scoreless draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have 14 points from 14 matches, tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
• Both teams created their share of chances, but could not break the stalemate. TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei was forced into a season-high seven games, from 16 total Revolution attempts at goal. New England goalkeeper Matt Reis made three saves, while TFC's Alan Gordon saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by Kevin Alston after 36 minutes.
• TFC survived Gianluca Zavarise's red card in second-half stoppage time to hold out for the draw.
• Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Kenny Mansally came in for the injured Ousmane Dabo, and Darrius Barnes started for Didier Domi.
• NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane (Franco Coria 69), A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes - Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 46), Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan, Chris Tierney (Zack Schilawski 68) - Rajko Lekic, Kenny Mansally.
• The Revolution officially uncorked 16 total attempts at goal, one short of their season-high. Shalrie Joseph had five of those — four on target — both season-highs.
• "We've had plenty of the ball in the final third and we haven't produced that bit of quality that's needed," said Revolution head coach Steve Nicol. "That pretty much says it all. We need to score goals. We put pressure on them, which we wanted to do, make it hard for them. We did that. But again, we come back to the crux that we're just lacking that killer pass or that killer finish or killer run ... we were just a half yard short."
• The Revolution were able to keep a clean sheet for the first time since May 14, when they blanked Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
• "I feel like the backline held its own tonight," said Darrius Barnes. "We pretty much limited Toronto's chances for the duration of the night. We were just a little bit unfortunate tonight. It's the story of these last few games for us. We can't finish and if we don't put balls in the back of the net, we're not going to win.
• Kenny Mansally came into the lineup for the first time since May 7. He partnered Rajko Lekic in a twin-striker setup as the Revolution returned to a 4-4-2 from the start for the first time since April 20.
• The Revolution were shut out for a third time in four games and for the seventh time in 11 games, when they've scored six goals total (three in a win vs. Kansas City).
• "We're almost, but almost doesn't get you goals. But we have to keep banging away, and all it'll take is a break, or a good ball or a finish or something and you hope that it'll kind of open the floodgates and we're start putting the ball in the net more often," Nicol said.
• Darrius Barnes returned to the lineup for the first time in three matches with Didier Domi sidelined with an Achilles ailment.
• "I definitely feel comfortable at left back. It's a matter of getting the right positioning and being on the same page with my left mid, which tonight was Chris Tierney and Kenny Mansally," Barnes said. "It's just a matter of filling a spot the team needs. Didier (Domi) went down and luckily enough, we have some depth where we can call in anyone to fill in that position."
The Chicago Fire finally put an end to their long winless streak, getting a dramatic late goal for a 1-0 win against the Columbus Crew on Sunday afternoon at Crew Stadium. The Fire have 14 points from 14 matches on the year, sitting in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
• The game's lone goal came just after the clock turned over the 90-minute mark. Orr Barouch dribbled through a host of Crew defenders on the right side of the box before firing a shot that Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer was able to get a hand to. But he merely stopped the ball for Cristian Nazarit, who swept into the goal.
• Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was not called upon to make a single save in recording the shutout.
• Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas made four changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. Jalil Anibaba, Baggio Husidic, Patrick Nyarko and Diego Chaves came into the team, for Bratislav Ristic, Daniel Paladini, Corben Bone and Cristian Nazarit.
• CHICAGO FIRE (4-1-3-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares - Logan Pause - Dominic Oduro, Baggio Husidic (Daniel Paladini 84), Patrick Nyarko - Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 67), Diego Chaves (Cristian Nazarit 79).
• The Fire won for the first time under interim head coach Frank Klopas, snapping their winless streak at a club-record 11 games.
• "It's a great feeling, but the one thing for me is that it's something I expected from the team," Klopas said. "We deserved this win."
• Cristian Nazarit scored his first MLS goal, coming off the bench as a late substitute after making starts in each of his first three league appearances, the Fire's first goal after back-to-back scoreless draws.
• Patrick Nyarko made his first start since April 23. He had missed four consecutive games with a concussion before coming off the back each of the two previous games.
• "I've always felt like I'm a big, integral part of this team, and whenever I'm out with an injury, I feel uneasy," Nyarko said. "And especially with a team going through the struggles, I just couldn't wait to get back on the field. I am happy I got through 90 minutes, and the team came out with a win."
• With Marco Pappa still away with the Guatemalan national team, Nyarko stepped into the creative role in the midfield. With Guatemala's elimination in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Pappa should be available for the New England match.
• "I became aggressive in the second half," Nyarko said. "I know that if I'm aggressive, there are few people that can stop me. I just kept being aggressive, and kept finding the holes and kept playing the balls in. Unfortunately we couldn't convert, but you know, one of these days. Hopefully next time it will be a couple and we can breathe easy."
• After returning between the posts on May 28, goalkeeper Sean Johnson has recorded shutouts in each of his last three games. The Fire have a 286-minute shutout streak alive and did not allow a single shot on goal to Columbus.
• "I think we wanted to focus on a couple of things, be better at defending as a team and not giving up goals on set pieces which we had in the past," said Klopas.
• Baggio Husidic also returned to the lineup for his third start of the season, his first since May 21.