August 18, 2012
MOVIN’ ON UP
Fire beat Revs, move into third place in MLS East
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill---The Chicago Fire continued their climb up the Eastern Conference table on Saturday night, gutting out a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution at Toyota Park, extending their winning streak to three games and their unbeaten string to four.
|Sherjill MacDonald’s first Fire goal was the game-winner against New England on Saturday at Toyota Park.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The three points give the Fire (12-7-5, 41) one more point than the third-place Houston Dynamo and level with second place New York, both of whom play on Sunday. All three teams currently have played 24 games, but after the weekend, the Fire will have a game in hand on both New York and Houston.
It took only four minutes for the Fire to get on the board, thanks to a generous penalty call by referee Sorin Stoica. Chris Rolfe made a run down the left side and into the area. Revolution defender AJ Soares tried to tackle the ball away from Rolfe, bringing down the Fire forward in the process. Rolfe targeted his penalty kick to the lower left corner, and it settled into the net off the hand of New England goalkeeper Matt Reis.
New England equalized in the 11th minute. Saer Sene ran onto a ball over the top and took it all the way to the end line. Cutting along the line, he put a ball into the area, and Fernando Cardenas slid in to get a foot on it through traffic off the left post.
Sean Johnson made the initial save, but after the ball knocked around, Cardenas swept it into the net while lying on his back.
The Fire took the lead for good in the 25th minute. After a throw-in near the corner flag, speedy winger Patrick Nyarko got past a defender to get to the ball near the end line and chip it into the penalty area, where Sherjill McDonald finished with a header from the edge of the six. It was his first goal for the Fire.
The Fire completely controlled the run of play, outshooting the Revolution 22 to 7, and 7 to 3 in shots on target, and could have won by a far more lopsided margin. In the 19th minute, Gonzalo Segares came close, making an overlapping run in to the area on the left side,but put his shot into the side netting.
Former Seattle Sounder Alvaro Fernandez came close in the 40th minute, but the Uruguayan’s chip from a tight angle grazed the crossbar.
As Chicago gained firm control of the midfield and pushed forward in waves, McDonald squandered an opportunity in the 43d minute, twisting a short-range open header outside the post.
In the 56th minute, Nyarko made a run down the left side, and from a difficult angle along the end line, put a shot toward the near post that Reis blocked. In the 80th minute, Reis leaped to push Arne Friedrich’s 18-yarder over the bar.
In the 90th minute, Dominic Oduro stole a ball from Revolution defender Stephen McCarthy at midfield. While the Revs player rolled on the ground in pain, Oduro broke in on goal and Ryan Guy managed to chase him down, getting a slight touch on the shot, to deflect it wide.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson might have made his best save of the game nearly five minutes into stoppage time, when Soares lofted a long ball into the area. Johnson had to make a full extension dive to grab the ball, keeping it from going into the right side of the net for what would have been a miracle equalizer for the Revs.