Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution | MLS Match Preview

CHICAGO FIRE vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
April 19, 2013 (WEEK 7, MLS Game #55)
3 p.m. CT (NBCSN), Free stream at NBCSports.com

Two Eastern Conference clubs aiming to move up the divisional table face off when the Chicago Fire play host to the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Fire have played to five consecutive draws, coming off a 1-1 road tie with Montréal last weekend. The Revolution are coming off their second victory of the young season, a 2-0 home defeat of Houston.

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REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 19 games; FC/gm: 27.9; Y/gm: 4.4; R: 7; pens: 9

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
DISABLED LIST: CHI: Orr Barouch
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (46 meetings): Fire 20 wins, 63 goals … Revolution 17 wins, 63 goals … Ties 9
AT CHICAGO (23 meetings): Fire 12 wins, 39 goals … Revolution 5 wins, 29 goals … Ties 6
RETURN MATCHES: 7/12: New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET; 9/7: New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire, 7 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/9: CHI 0, NE 1 (Bengtson 62)
8/17: NE 2, CHI 0 (Agudelo 54; Rowe 91+)
9/14: CHI 3, NE 2 (Anangono 30; Magee 55; Alex 86 – Rowe 9; Sene 46+)

• When the Revolution won 1-0 last March 9 at Toyota Park, it was their first league win in Bridgeview since 2006, ending a nine-game winless run in league and cup play.

• The Revolution have won four of the last six matches between the clubs, after going more than five years without a league win vs. Chicago. But they have won the last three meetings at Gillette Stadium, and haven’t lost at home to the Fire since 2010.

• Coaches record: Jay Heaps vs. CHI: P6 W4 L2 D0 … Frank Yallop vs. NE: P19 W11 L5 D3

CHICAGO FIRE

The Chicago Fire reached a draw for a fifth consecutive match, playing to a 1-1 result with the Montréal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Olympic Stadium. The Fire sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 5 points from 6 games.

LAST MATCH

• The Impact took the lead in the 43rd minute. From the center of the field, Marco Di Vaio’s one-time pass released an onrushing Jack McInerney behind the Chicago defense, and he finished on the run past goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

• But the Fire equalized in the 54th minute. A Jeff Larentowicz header off a Harrison Shipp corner bounced off the far post, but the ball fell to Mike Magee who hooked it with his left foot to Amarikwa, and he powered home from six yards out.

• Fire head coach Frank Yallop made one change to the team that got a late leveler for a 2-2 tie with Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park. Alex came into the midfield in place of Matt Watson.

• CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Patrick Nyarko (Juan Luis Anangono 88), Jeff Larentowicz, Alex, Harry Shipp (Matt Watson 75) - Quincy Amarikwa, Mike Magee.

TEAM NEWS

• With the draw vs. Montréal, the Fire have now tied five games in a row – one shy of the MLS record of six consecutive draws, last achieved by the Colorado Rapids during the 2011 season.

• “If we keep playing like that, the wins will come. For me as a coach, I could only ask for effort, play and to create chances,” said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. “We’re getting punished for the odd chance the opposition is getting right now. In our last two games we’ve played well enough to win both games, but we haven’t. So we got to keep going and not worry about it.”

• While the Fire have yet to win a game, they have not been shut out on the attacking end this season. Their 9 goals lead the Eastern Conference, and are the fourth-most in MLS.

• On the back end, the Fire are still looking for their first clean sheet of the season, having allowed 10 goals through the opening six games (one off the league-high conceded by Chivas USA and Portland).

• “If we can hold another team to zero goals, we’ll win. We’re scoring goals every game and that’s what you want out of your offense. Collectively as a team, we just need to lock it down and not have any lapses in defense,” said Quincy Amarikwa.

• Amarikwa scored his third goal of the season in draw at Montréal. It already matches his single-season career-high, set last year when he scored 3 goals in 14 appearances, all as a substitute (299 minutes played).

• Mike Magee recorded his second assist in as many games, setting up Amarikwa. He has a goal and two assists in the last two games, involved in each of the Fire’s three goals in that time.

• “These guys play two totally different games, and that brings something different every time,” Patrick Nyarko said. “Every kind of service you provide you know it’s going to turn into something positive just because both of them are different. Quincy will just battle through everything and get there even if the ball isn’t perfect, and Mike is pretty much the smartest runner in the box I’ve ever seen.”

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution remained undefeated and unscored upon on their home ground for 2014, defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points from 6 games.

LAST MATCH

• The Revolution took the lead in the 68th minute. Kevin Alston worked a one-two with Daigo Kobayashi to create on opportunity, and Teal Bunbury’s last touch left Alston with an open chance about 13 yards out that he buried for his first MLS goal.

• The home side capped the win in stoppage time. From a long ball deep in the New England half, Jerry Bengtson was able to sweep in ahead of goalkeeper Tally Hall, pick up the ball on the fly and get into the box behind Hall, burying home past a sliding defender from close range.

• Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made one change to the team that dropped a 2-0 decision to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Kevin Alston came into the back four in place of Chris Tierney.

• NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves (Darrius Barnes 41), A.J. Soares, Kevin Alston - Andy Dorman - Saer Sene (Jerry Bengtson 78), Daigo Kobayashi (Scott Caldwell 71), Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez - Teal Bunbury.

TEAM NEWS

• The Revolution kept a clean sheet for the second time in two home games this season, and extended their home undefeated streak to five games, dating back to last Sept. 21.

• “We’re obviously at home, and we always try to treat this as our palace, and no one’s going to beat us at our home ground. So that obviously weighs in, and we’re a different team than we were there,” said Revolution assistant coach Tom Soehn. “We were missing some guys. We had a little more time to gel together, and today I felt like in a lot of aspects of the game we deserved to win today.”

• The Revolution were already forced into one change in their back four, as Chris Tierney was sidelined with a hip injury. Then late in the first half, José Gonçalves was forced off following a tackle and had to be replaced.

• Darrius Barnes came into the match as a substitute for Gonçalves and went to right back, with Andrew Farrell dropping inside to play central defense.

• “It’s never easy losing your captain and your leader on the field. I thought when we put Andrew (Farrell) back there he stepped up and did a fantastic job. Him and A.J. (Soares) have played there in spring training before, so we have the confidence to put them in, and Darrius (Barnes) did a great job coming in on the right side. The back four even as we made the change did a great job tonight,” said Soehn.

• The Revolution did not concede a single shot on target for the match. “It’s tough to replace José, but I think we did a pretty good job,” said Farrell. “[We] jimmy-rigged something together and allowed zero shots on goal.”

• Kevin Alston, who was making his first appearance after being forced off after just 20 minutes in the season opener after suffering a hamstring injury, scored his first career MLS goal, in his 123rd career league game. It’s the most games any Revolution player had gone without scoring a goal, the 11th-longest streak before scoring a goal from the start of a career in MLS history.

• “It’s amazing to finally break the seal,” said Alston. “It’s six years later and I’m just glad it’s finally here. I can say I scored at least one in my career.” Said Soehn: “They left a lot of space for Kevin to attack. I think Kevin just needs the confidence to really take those spaces. The guy’s fast, has the confidence to beat guys and him scoring is going to help that confidence.”

• Jerry Bengtson scored his first MLS goal in more than a calendar year, since netting March 9, 2013 – vs. the Chicago Fire. It had been 17 league appearances in between goals for Bengtson.

• “It gives me a lot of confidence – for me, as well as the team. Hopefully it’s just the first one. Yes, lots of confidence. Hopefully I can do more for the club,” said Bengtson. “Fortunately, with the (Honduras) national team, my performance has been a lot different. I don’t want it that way. Sometimes it just happens. You can’t stop, you’ve just got to keep working hard and keep putting the effort into it.”