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.”