FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Rookie Kelyn Rowe came off the bench to register a goal and assist, sparking the New England Revolution to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night at a rain-soaked Gillette Stadium.
Rowe entered the fray in the 64th minute and poked home five minutes later to break the scoreless deadlock. The UCLA product then played a quick one-two to prompt Benny Feilhaber's first goal of the season in the 73rd minute and secure a 2-0 victory over the Fire.
The pair of second half goals sent the Revs to their first win in three league matches and their first victory over Chicago in 11 MLS attempts since May 6, 2007. Meanwhile, the Fire fell to a third straight road defeat.
Neither side found its rhythm in an opening stanza with plenty of midfield play and scant end product. New England enjoyed the majority of possession and kept the ball better than Chicago did, but the visitors produced the superior opportunities in front of goal.
Fire defender Gonzalo Segares saw his bid for a second goal of the season denied by the outside of the right post after 17 minutes. Pavel Pardo exposed the Revolution's frailties on set pieces with his delivery into the penalty area. Segares rose highest to head toward the back post, but the effort hit the outside of the goal frame and bounced away.
Chicago offered a couple of other bids – including a Dominic Oduro chip after 29 minutes – without altering the score line before the halftime break.
Oduro hit the post three minutes after play resumed as Chicago started the second half brightly, but the Revolution turned the game after Rowe clambered off the bench to replace Fernando Cárdenas on 64 minutes.
The rookie midfielder probably should have scored on a 1-v-1 after Saër Sène played him through a minute after he entered the fray, but he soon atoned for that miss by scoring the opener and slotting Feilhaber through for the killer second.
A quick piece of work off a throw-in laid the foundation for the Revs' first goal. Sène quickly located the open Feilhaber in the middle third. Feilhaber's pass hit Rowe in stride as he cut in front of Segares and stabbed the ball inside the near post for his second goal of the season.
The 20-year-old Rowe connected with Feilhaber again four minutes later to double the advantage. The duo combined on the right side of the penalty area and a neat one-two slid Feilhaber in behind the line with the U.S. international midfielder polishing off his first goal of the season.
A dose of consolation for the away team came from Chris Rolfe, who saw his first action for the club since his return after a spell in Denmark. However, there was little that the second-half sub could do to change the outcome.
No team had recovered more points from losing positions than Chicago entering the match (14 points, according to Opta), but the Fire, who were missing offensive catalyst Marco Pappa to Guatemalan national team duty, couldn't muster yet another comeback in the late stages and suffered a second straight defeat.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Kelyn Rowe||Always impressive when a rookie can impact a match like Rowe did. He raised the overall quality of a sputtering Revs attack with his runs and passing skills.|
|2||Benny Feilhaber||When he has talent around him to combine with, he shines. Feilhaber could not lift Revs on his own in first half, but he played a key role after the whole team turned it up a notch late.|
|3||Sebastian Grazzini||Although Sean Johnson made some key saves, Grazzini was the best player for the Fire and the one with the clearest ideas of any of the 22 players before Rowe came on.|