FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Diego Fagundez dashed Chicago's hopes of finishing at the top of the Eastern Conference as New England notched a 1-0 victory in its home finale on Saturday night.
Fagundez scored the only goal of the game in the 17th minute with a curling strike inside the far post. The lead held up for the remainder of the night as the Revs stopped the Fire from generating its usual rhythm and locating the reply required to snatch a point.
New England's victory ended Chicago's hopes of overtaking Sporting Kansas City for top spot in the Eastern Conference and sent the Fire sliding into third place after Lewis Neal's late winner at RFK Stadium handed D.C. United a 3-2 victory over Columbus.
Fagundez opened the scoring with a fine finish after 17 minutes. He collected a deft feed from Kelyn Rowe and scampered between the lines on the edge of the penalty area. The recent Uruguay U-20 callup moved into the space afforded by the Chicago rearguard and tucked his second goal of the season inside the far post.
New England looked the more threatening of the two sides as the first half progressed with decent rhythm through midfield. Kevin Alston blazed over the bar in the 33rd minute to cap off a neat one-two with Jerry Bengtson on the left side of the Fire penalty area.
Chicago attempted to muster a reply before halftime, but the Fire instead entered the interval with a deficit to close.
Patrick Nyarko signaled the Fire's intent to improve seven minutes after play resumed. The ball popped out to him on the edge of the penalty area after yet another Fire corner kick. The Ghanaian winger attempted to restore parity with a drive, but it sailed wide of the mark.
Despite that early foray into the attacking third, the match failed to spark. Rowe and Chris Rolfe also sent attempts wide of the mark as the match entered the final 20 minutes. The surge never arrived as the Revs managed to see the game out and seal the points.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Diego Fagundez (NE)||The youngster buzzed around all night, and his goal was of highlight-reel quality.|
|2||Clyde Simms (NE)||Did the thankless work in the middle to bottle up Chicago's attacks and stop Chris Rolfe.|
|3||Patrick Nyarko (CHI)||Brought energy and speed to what was otherwise a slow Fire performance.|