BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire kept their playoff hopes alive Sunday afternoon, getting first-half goals from Sebastian Grazzini, Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko to defeat the sliding New England Revolution, 3-2, in front of 14,576 at Toyota Park.
The win is the fourth in five games for the 14th place Fire (6-8-15, 33 points), who now sit six points behind the New York Red Bulls for the 10th and final playoff spot.
The loss is the second in a row for the 17th place Revs (5-13-12, 27 points), who are now all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
The visitors did manage a late two-goal rally courtesy of a late brace from Ryan Guy, but it was the Fire's perfect start that earned the hosts the full points as they scored all three of their goals in the first 30 minutes.
Grazzini got the first, burying a penalty kick into the lower right corner in the fifth minute. Nyarko drew the PK, getting taken out by New England 'keeper Matt Reis while chasing down midfielder Logan Pause’s through-ball in the right side of the box.
Chicago’s dream start continued four minutes later when Oduro scored his 11th goal of the year to make it 2-0. The Ghanaian forward took advantage of some slow defending to score, running unmarked onto a Grazzini through-ball at the top of the box before sidestepping Reis and tapping home.
Chicago’s worst moment of the half came in the 25th minute when Grazzini came off because of tightness in his left hamstring. Midfielder Baggio Husidic replaced the injured Argentine.
The Fire didn’t miss a beat without Grazzini, though, scoring another goal in the 30th minute.
Nyarko got in on the action this time. Oduro started the play, hitting a hopeful through-ball to Nyarko at the top of the box. Though Reis should’ve been able to clear the ball without any trouble, the 'keeper took too long to come off his line and payed the price when Nyarko took the ball off his foot and dribbled in for his first goal of the year.
New England started to come alive after Nyarko’s goal, registering a few good chances before the end of the first half. The Revs couldn’t convert, though, sending a pair of free headers wide and seeing Milton Caraglio’s long-range shot go just over the bar to head into the break down three.
New England midfielder Guy made things interesting with a pair of late goals. He put the Revs on the board in the 90th minute, chipping over Fire goalie Sean Johnson – who was on the ground after colliding with Caraglio – from the top of the box.
Guy made it 3-2 just a minute later, slotting home substitute midfielder Diego Fagundez’s cross from 15 yards out.
The Revs tried to nab a late equalizer, but couldn’t create an opportunity before the final whistle.
The Fire returns to action midweek, traveling to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake Wednesday night. New England are back in action next Saturday, when they’ll host the Seattle Sounders at Gillette Stadium.
CHI -- Sebastian Grazzini 3 (penalty kick) 5
CHI -- Dominic Oduro 11 (Sebastian Grazzini 4, Logan Pause 1) 9
CHI -- Patrick Nyarko 1 (unassisted) 30
NE -- Ryan Guy 1 (unassisted) 90
NE -- Ryan Guy 2 (Milton Caraglio 2, Diego Fagundez 1) 92+
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Franco Coria, Darrius Barnes, Chris Tierney, Ryan Guy, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Kenny Mansally (Kheli Dube 57), Milton Caraglio, Zack Schilawski (Diego Fagundez 71). Substitutes Not Used: Zak Boggs, Ryan Kinne, Otto Loewy, Pat Phelan, Bobby Shuttleworth.
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Dan Gargan, Josip Mikulic, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares, Marco Pappa, Sebastian Grazzini (Baggio Husidic 25), Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause, Dominic Oduro (Orr Barouch 77), Patrick Nyarko (Diego Chaves 66). Substitutes Not Used: Corben Bone, Yamith Cuesta, Daniel Paladini, Jon Conway.
NE -- Franco Coria (caution; Reckless Foul) 27
NE -- Darrius Barnes (caution; Dissent) 46+
CHI -- Dan Gargan (caution; Delaying a Restart) 76
CHI -- Baggio Husidic (caution; Tactical Foul) 86
Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: -Kermit Quisenberry; Paul Scott
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Time of Game: 1:52