It looked as if a second-half Bastian Schweinsteiger goal would be enough to give the Chicago Fire a timely home victory. But an opportunistic goal by Teal Bunbury with less than nine minutes left in regulation resulted in the New England Revolution climbing back for a 1-1 draw on Saturday night at Toyota Park.
In the 12th minute, Nemanja Nikolic and Antonio Mlinar Delamea collided heads on a free kick, and both teams were left with 10 men temporarily. While a bandaged Delamea returned to the field, Nikolic did not, and Alan Gordon was brought into the striker role. Despite chances for both squads, the first half finished scoreless.
The home side finally broke through in the 63rd minute, when Aleksandar Katai assisted Schweinsteiger for his second goal of the season. It looked as the Revolution might be held in check, but an otherwise-solid Richard Sanchez, pressured by Diego Fagundez in the 82nd minute, lost the handle on a ball he was in position to scoop up. Bunbury pounced on the loose ball to drive home his ninth goal of the year — delivering a road result for the Revs in the process.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Chicago was hoping to get back into the East's top six with a win; a draw leaves them 7th — perhaps it's shaping up to be a four-team battle between the Fire, Orlando, Philadelphia, and a don't-count-them-out-yet Toronto for the final playoff spot? Meanwhile, the Revs gutted out a road result to solidify their playoff position — an encouraging sign for their fans for what might come in November.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Sanchez's momentary bobble gave New England the opportunity needed to equalize — and they seized it. Though the Revs outshot the Fire 18-11, Sanchez did well to keep them off the scoreboard prior to his howler.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Sanchez was the man of most of the match, and Schweinsteiger and Bunbury scored the goals, but Katai — despite missing on some chances he'll want back — brought electric play that got the Fire over the shock of losing Nikolic, and his assist was indicative of consistent penetrating play.