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7:30 pm ET (HDNet; FS-NE; FS-Chi)
The bottom two teams in the Eastern Conference play for the second time in three days having settled nothing in their first meeting on Sunday in Chicago, drawing 1-1 before the largest-ever crowd to see a Fire game in Chicago. The Revolution return home having won just once in six matches, five points behind the Fire, who now haven't won in five games themselves.
REFEREE: Alex Prus. SAR (bench): Richard Eddy; JAR (opposite): Bahij Salman; 4th: Erich Simmons
MLS Career: 75 games; FC/gm: 30.7; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 15; pens: 27
Games involving Revolution: P19 W6 L12 T1; FC/gm: 31.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 6; pens: 5
Games involving Fire: P10 W5 L3 T2; FC/gm: 32.5; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 2; pens: 5
INJURY REPORT: CHICAGO FIRE - OUT: MD Jesse Marsch (R ankle cartilage damage); DOUBTFUL: DF Evan Whitfield (R groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Ante Razov (R ankle sprain); MD Chris Armas (R knee inflammation) ... NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: DF Carlos Llamosa (L knee sprain); FW Joe-Max Moore (R knee sprain); DF Rusty Pierce (R quadriceps contusion); MD Jose Cancela (R hip strain); DOUBTFUL: GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); GK Adin Brown (concussion); PROBABLE: MD Shalrie Joseph (L hip flexor/quadriceps); MD Jose Cancela (R hip strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: NE: Marshall Leonard (18 CP)
The teams play for the second time of four meetings this season, the first of two at Gillette Stadium - and in the return match of a home-and-home series over the past three days. They'll conclude the season series with two games over the final four weeks of the season, a Sept. 25 contest at Soldier Field, then a meeting at Gillette Stadium in the season finale (Oct. 16).
On Sunday evening at Soldier Field, the teams traded goals a minute apart early in the second half as they played to a 1-1 draw.
Damani Ralph blasted a penalty home off the hands of Rev 'keeper Matt Reis after Andy Williams was clipped in the area to give the Fire a 49th-minute lead, but then the visitors raced to the other end off the kickoff and won a free kick - from where Steve Ralston curled home a world-class effort from all of 30 yards that left Henry Ring helpless in the Chicago goal.
Last year, the Revolution were one of just two teams (D.C. United the other) to win the season series against the Fire, winning both games at home while getting a draw in the two games at Chicago. The teams played first to a 1-1 draw at Cardinal Stadium on April 13 (Beasley 35 - Twellman 41) in the season opener for both teams, then on May 17, the Revolution strolled to a 3-0 victory in Foxborough (Twellman 18, Heaps 49, Ralston 56).
The Fire claimed their only victory of the season against New England on July 19 in Naperville (Gray 8; Mapp 34; Ralph 51 pen - Twellman 90), but the Revolution ended a two-month winless run in impressive fashion at home on Aug. 30, a hat trick from new signing Chris Brown highlighting a 5-1 win (Brown 6, 63, 66; Kamler 44; Heaps 88 - Williams 14).
Even despite the lack of success last season, the Fire have won four of the last nine meetings between the teams with two draws.
While the road team failed to win last season, the year before, the home team failed to win - the Fire winning both games in New England and the Revs winning one at Chicago, with the second game there a draw.
Ante Razov leads the Fire's all-time records against the Revolution with 5 goals, 3 assists. Jesse Marsch is next among current Fire players with 0 goals, 7 assists - all but one with the Fire. Only one other current Fire player has more than one goal v New England, Andy Williams (2 goals, 3 assists).
Taylor Twellman leads the Revolution's all-time scoring table against Chicago with 5 goals, 1 assist - in just seven games played. Three of those goals came last season. Jay Heaps has 3 goals, 2 assists v the Fire (2 goals, 1 assist with New England), while Steve Ralston has 2 goal, 6 assists (2 goals, 2 assists with the Revs). No other current Revolution player has more than one goal v Chicago.
Coaches record: Dave Sarachan vs. NE: P5 W1 L2 T2 ... Steve Nicol v CHI: P7 W3 L2 T2
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Revolution 6 wins (0 shootout), 27 goals ... Fire 6 wins (0 shootout), 25 goals ... 5 draws
AT FOXBOROUGH (8 meetings): Revolution 4 wins (0 shootout), 15 goals ... Fire 3 wins (0 shootout), 11 goals ... 1 draw
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
"Sometimes you don't play well and you get a result and other times you have a good night and you don't win,'' said Revs coach Steve Nicol. "We can't cover the fact we didn't pass the ball well tonight. I think we obviously could have scored two or three goals tonight, but then, they could have as well.''
Nicol made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids the previous weekend in Denver. Taylor Twellman returned to the lineup for the first time since May 29 when he suffered a hamstring injury, partnering Pat Noonan in attack. Brian Kamler also made just his second start since the same game, as Jose Cancela (injury) and Felix Brillant were replaced in the team.
Here's Nicol's team (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Steve Ralston, Jay Heaps, Avery John, Marshall Leonard - Richie Baker (Andy Dorman 72), Clint Dempsey, Joe Franchino, Brian Kamler (Felix Brillant 56) - Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman.
"We didn't play well, we didn't pass the ball well," Nicol said. "We put Pat in for Pepe [Cancela] and it really didn't work, so we went back to the 4-4-2 to pep it up a bit. The ref called fouls that weren't fouls, for both teams, so instead of a football game it becomes something else."
Said Noonan: "We got out with at least a point, but we need to catch up to them. They are the team we are chasing for the moment. We are going to have to find a way to beat them on Wednesday.''
That meant a second consecutive game at right back for Steve Ralston. "The more times I play there the better I feel," Ralston said. "I am never isolated because Richie [Baker] or Jay [Heaps] are always there to help. But I would rather not play there, because I never played there before and I am not a natural defender. But as long as I am playing I am happy. My first choice is the midfield because I am comfortable and confident in that position.
Twellman was left as a lone ranger for long periods at Noonan pulled deeper into midfield, mirroring the tactical scheme the Revs played against Colorado. "I thought it was a good night,'' Twellman said. "I worked hard. Obviously, I was up there alone most of the time. But it was a good effort. I was a little winded at the end.''
Twellman lasted the full 90 minutes, while Kamler was taken off after 56 minutes - though he also suffered a bloody nose in an early collision with C.J. Brown's elbow. "I've just got to rebound and play a little bit stronger Wednesday. I thought I could go more. It was the coach's decision. I had no problems. He felt I was falling back a little. I've just got to keep working on my fitness," Kamler said.
Said Nicol: "Getting through the game is important at the moment. I don't care who you are. If you are out six or seven weeks, it's going to take a couple of games to get back.''
The New England Revolution gained points for just the third time in the last eight matches, snapping a two-game losing streak on the road with the 1-1 draw in Chicago. The Revolution remained in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 13 points from 15 matches, five points behind the fourth-place Chicago Fire and nine points out of first place.
Fire coach Dave Sarachan made four changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew the previous Saturday. C.J. Brown and Orlando Perez returned to the lineup as Sarachan went with a back four, Evan Whitfield suspended for caution point accumulation. Scott Buete came into midfield as both Chris Armas and DaMarcus Beasley were with the U.S. national team. Dipsy Selolwane came into attack for the injured Ante Razov.
Here's Sarachan's team (4-4-2): Henry Ring - Kelly Gray, C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin, Orlando Perez - Justin Mapp (Nate Jaqua 81), Scott Buete, Logan Pause (DaMarcus Beasley 60), Andy Williams - Damani Ralph, Dipsy Selolwane.
"At home, you want to win the game and get the three points," Sarachan said. "One point is a little disappointing, but I was pleased with the way we competed. The final third could have been a little cleaner, but New England sat back and made it hard on us to try to get some space."
After playing the full 90 minutes for the U.S. national team, Beasley came on as a substitute in the league match for the final half hour. ''We have to keep fighting, and we definitely want to play better,'' Beasley said. ''We don't seem to have the urgency right now. It's a long season, and we're halfway done.''
Said Sarachan: ''I heard DaMarcus tell the other players he wanted to play 180 minutes in both games. ... We decided to play it by ear, and he said he wanted to play for us. You don't have to talk DaMarcus into playing ever. He's always ready to go.''
However, Armas was lost to the national team - and any thoughts of double duty - with a knee injury suffered during training.
The doubleheader with the U.S. national team drew a crowd of 39,529, setting a new Fire record.
"I was disappointed after the penalty kick that we couldn't keep the momentum," Sarachan said. "We gave up a free kick right away, but you have to give Ralston credit. It was a nice kick. There's nothing you can do when a guy hits it over the wall. Ring can't protect that corner."
The Chicago Fire saw their winless streak extended to five matches, still managing to halt a two-game losing streak with the 1-1 draw against the Revolution at home. The Fire remained in fourth place in the East with 18 points from 15 matches, five ahead of New England and just four off the pace of the leading MetroStars.