Tag Archives: Chicago Fire

Revolution and Fire play out to draw

Despite plenty of chances, neither the New England Revolution or the Chicago Fire can find a way to score the winning goal.

By Kevin Koczwara

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Neither the New England Revolution or the Chicago Fire could find the back of the net more than once despite both sides having numerous scoring chances and opportunities to get an important win and three points. Dominic Oduro opened the scoring the 32nd minute for the Fire (2-4-9, 15pts) and New England (3-7-6, 15 pts) responded in the 48th minute through Rajko Lekic.

Chicago and New England occupy spots in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings and they both proved why at Gillette Stadium last night. Neither team could secure a real hold on the game. Both sides enjoyed a plethora of chances that should have resulted in goals, but neither was able to convert.

In the 16th minute Chicago had a great chance as Cristian Nazarit made a clever move to fool Revolution defender Franco Coria and to get himself some space just inside the box. Nazarit had Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis fooled on his shot, but the spin on his out-swinger carried the ball into to the corner of the goal, banging off intersection of the post and crossbar.

New England responded quickly with its own chance, though. The Revolution had a proper build-up and showed a flash of what the team is capable of in the 21st minute when Sainey Nyassi hit a solid cross toward Lekic at the back post. The Revs striker did well to take the ball down and hit a solid effort on a half-volley, but Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was well positioned and punched the ball clear. Both Pat Phelan and Nyassi followed up Lekic’s half-chance as Chicago struggled to clear the ball and gain possession.

Lekic would hit another half-volley attempt in the 28th minute, this time from a little deeper out and courtesy of a long ball from Darrius Barnes headed down by a streaking Kevin Alston. Lekic’s chance forced Johnson into a diving save and almost found the bottom corner of the Fire net. But it wasn’ meant to be.

Despite having the majority of the ball and the chances, the Revolution came away empty handed in the first half. Chicago, on the other hand,  made the best of its chances in the first half. In the 32nd minute Oduro opened the scoring after the Fire cleared a Revolution corner to Patrick Nyako in the midfield. Nyarko sprung Oduro with a diagonal ball into his feet. Oduro had one man to beat, Revs defender Darrius Barnes. He took on the converted left back with his pace and turned him inside out and then slotted the shot home pass a charging Reis.

“I think it was a breakaway from Patrick’s (Nyarko) end. Again, we’ve been working on this transition,” said Oduro. “He saw me make a run, through ball, took the guy on the run, I saw an opening and I just put the ball right there.”

The Revolution would get one more shot at net before the half time whistle though. Nyassi flicked a cross with the outside of his right foot into the box and found the head of a streaking Kenny Mansally in the 38th minute. It looked like a clear goal opportunity with Mansally six-yards out from goal, but he was unable to convert to free header, missing high.

“To be honest, it feels like a loss. We come in at half time one down when we should be three up; we’ve been great defensively this year, tonight we defended terribly,” said Revolution manager Steve Nicol after the game. “But saying that, going forward we created chances. We could have had three in the first half.”

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MLS 2011 Season Preview: Eastern Conference

The New York Red Bulls are clear favorites to win the East. The rest of the conference is open with no clear second favorite. (Courtesy Major League Soccer)

By Ryan Fleming

The Major League Soccer season is swiftly approaching us and it’s that time of year where we have to put up with silly conferences and even a more absurd playoff format. But put those things behind and here comes another year with Thierry Henry, Juan Pablo Angel and Nate Borchers (what’s funny? I’m serious).

The Colorado Rapids are the MLS Champs, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It’s a new season. Here’s the Eastern Conference preview.

1. New York Red Bulls. The most notable loss for the New York Red Bulls is the departure of Juan Pablo Angel to LA. From ‘07/’10 Angel bagged 58 goals, leading his team in scoring throughout his tenure. Despite the departure, NY does have some replacements, most notably Thierry Henry. The former Arsenal great came to the Red Bulls in July of ‘10, when manager Hans Backe was searching for a possible deadly partnership with Angel. Two other forward options for Backe will be United States Men’s National Team youngster Juan Agudelo and Corey Hertzog. With the creative Joel Lindpere linking up with the forwards from the midfield, combined with defenders Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez, NY looks to be a lock at the top of the East.

2 or 9. Toronto FC. The Reds went under a revamping of sorts in the offseason. The team brought in Aaron Winter and former Ajax assistant manager Bob de Klerk. Just last week they imported three Dutch players to provide Winter with some assistance in deploying the old Ajax system of “total football” up in Canada. For me, the Reds boast a team that could do anything. They could totally flop or, end up near the top of the conference. In a football-crazed town like Toronto, losing is no longer an option. Quick reason for concern, Winter spent a lot of time with trialists and didn’t find any real replacements with the departures of O’Brian White, Joseph Nane, Maxim Usanov, Amadou Sanyang, Chad Barrett, Raivis Hscanovics, Martin Saric and Nick Garcia.

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Thierry Henry's positive impact on MLS

The signing of Thierry Henry by the New York Red Bulls is a landmark signing for the MLS. Henry's choice to move to the MLS rather than another European league is a major boost for American soccer. Courtesy David Clerihew/RBNY

By Kevin Koczwara

Thierry Henry started his Major League Soccer career with two assists for the New York Red Bulls in a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo on July 31. It was a bittersweet debut for the France international, his team gave up a stoppage time equalizer, and he missed his chance to opening his scoring account with an opportunity that he has too often back of the net. His missed opportunity might have cost the Red Bulls three points as it would have been the insurance goal the team needed late in the game.

But that was over a month ago and the Red Bulls have Rafa Marquez – its third designated player.

Marquez played with Henry’s at Barcelona the past few years and also found himself on the outside looking in on the Catalan giants squad and decided a move to the MLS was worth a shot. Marquez is Mexico’s captain and a good image for the league’s marketing schemes much like Blanco was for Chicago and the MLS just a season ago. Marquez is a skilled veteran player who will help show the rest of the world that America’s top-flight league keeps getting better.

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Revolution need playoff push

Kevin Alston's (right) long throw-ins came in handy against Seattle. In the second half his throw-in was flicked on by Shalrie Joseph to Chris Tierney who headed the ball into the net to tie the game. Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

By Kevin Koczwara

Major League Soccer doesn’t just crown a champion at the end of the season if the team is at the top of the MLS standings. No, the regular season allows teams to qualify for the MLS cup playoffs. Teams have to finish in the top half of the league to qualify for the end of the season tournament in the hopes of being crowned kings of American soccer.

Currently, the New England Revolution are on the outside looking in at the playoff crowd in 12th position with eight games left to play. Of the eight games remaining on the Revolution’s schedule, three are at home and five are away.

The Revs have a horrid away record this season, and they will need to improve on it quickly if they want to make any sort of push toward a playoff spot. The Revolution is 1-8-1 on the road this season, the one win was a 2-0 victory over last place D.C. United in the second game of the year back on April 3.

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Revs Unbeaten Streak Ends In a Fire

New England Revolution defender Darrius Barnes heads a ball against the Chicago Fire last week. The Revs fell to the Fire, 2-1, to end an eight-game unbeaten streak. (Photo Courtesy Getty Images/RevolutionSoccer.net)

By Kevin Koczwara
The last time the New England Revolution lost a game in any competition was an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on July 2, just before the Major League Soccer All-Star break, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City.

But, like most good things, the Revs’ winning streak had to come to an end at some point.

The Revolution lost two games in the past week as it made a road trip through Chicago and Kansas City.

The Revs lost a tough game on Wednesday to the Chicago Fire, 2-1. The game could have gone either way as both teams tenaciously battled for the much desired three points. If the Revolution had earned the desired result, it would have leapt over the Fire and into fourth place in the Eastern Conference and made up some ground in the Wild Card race for the MLS Playoffs.

What made the loss to the Fire so difficult was the way the Revolution lost the match. It took an 85th minute goal from a virtually unknown forward to seal the match for Chicago and a series of missed calls from the referee to keep the Revs out of the Fire’s net.
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Revs Head to Salt Lake City To Face Defending Champs

Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

By Ryan Fleming

Throughout the New England Revolution’s season there have been hints that times were going to get better. Players coming back from injury, managing a win or a tough point, were some of the faint signs. Then, reality came crashing back down to earth.

The Revolution, who are 1-7-2 in their last ten games have had almost every string of bad luck come there way. That is, except for the recent return of longtime Revs keeper, Matt Reis. Not even Reis could turn a “L” into a “W” for the struggling Revolution.

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Revs Can't Handle The Chicago Fire

Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

By Kevin Koczwara

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Revolution were unable to overcome a first half goal by Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa in the 30th minute and get any points from their match with Chicago, losing 1-0, despite controlling much of the play and enjoying most of the possession.

Neither team waited for the other to take the initiative as both went at one another from the start, trying to get in on goal and get the decisive first goal. New England (3-8-2, 11pts.) struggled to find any space behind Chicago’s (4-3-5, 17 pts.) defense or in the box while, the Fire were able to open the score sheet with a goal from their top goal scorer, Pappa.

Pappa eclipsed his season best for goals when he blasted a shot from 30 yards out past New England’s goalkeeper Matt Reis for his sixth goal of the year in the 30th minute. Pappa was able to find space for his shot after receiving a pass from Fire defender Dasan Robinson in the Revolution’s half, then worked his way into the middle of the field and found no one stepping up on him, so he took his chance on net and it paid off.

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MLS Power Rankings Week 11

By Kevin Koczwara

A lot has changed in the last week around the MLS. Columbus has struggled since losing to Los Angeles and Colorado has jumped a few spots after a good week. Los Angeles is still the team to beat because no one has done it yet.

1. LA Galaxy – Still undefeated and still the best team in the league. They manhandled a good Houston team 4-1 over the weekend to prove that they don’t need their best players to win easy.

2. Real Salt Lake — RSL tied D.C. United, but they made up major ground the last few weeks in the West, and that should be rewarded. But they can’t have too many more slip-ups because the teams in the West are close behind them.

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Week 10 MLS Power Rankings

Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

By Kevin Koczwara

It was a busy week around Major League Soccer. The Columbus Crew lost for the first time this year. Real Salt Lake finished off May undefeated. New England got its first win since April 1o, and Philadelphia and D.C. each got their second wins of the season.

1. LA Galaxy – The Galaxy are tough to score on, ask previously unbeaten Columbus after their weekend’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Los Angeles, who was without their top scoring duo, Landon Donovan and Edison Buddle.

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Week 9 MLS Power Rankings

Courtesy Alison Ciarleglio of APC Studio

By Ryan Fleming

This week, a lot has changed, but the top teams stay the same. Overall I am most impressed with how the Galaxy are playing without two of their best players. The Revs still cannot score and the Sounders aren’t playing to their full potential.

1. LA Galaxy – Even without their best players, the Galaxy continue to win and make me second guess myself. Mike Magee scored his first of the season and the Galaxy continue to roll. They take on a tough Columbus team this Saturday on the road.

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