It was another disappointing road result for the Revs tonight as they fell 2-1 to the Chicago Fire, bringing their 2012 record to 6-13-5 with still only one road win on the season. Meanwhile, with tonight's result the Fire sit comfortably in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference standings and look more than ready to extend their campaign into the post-season.
Jay Heaps chose to shake things up with his squad tonight, benching the likes of Benny Feilhaber and Jerry Bengtson in favor of Fernando Cardenas in the midfield and Blake Brettschneider up top. It just so happens that those two were who combined to provide New England's only goal on the night.
In fact, all three of the match's goals came in the first half. The opening goal happened in just the 5th minute when a sloppy tackle in the box by AJ Soares led to a Chicago penalty kick which was put away by Chris Rolfe, despite tonight's captain Matt Reis guessing Rolfe's direction correctly.
In the 11th minute, however, the Revs found it in them to respond with a goal of their own. Saer Sene was played to the left wing with enough time and space to slip a ball across the net where an ensuing Cardenas was able to deflect the ball towards net which Brettschneider assisted in making sure it eventually found the net. Clumsy as it may have been, the Revolution were given new life with their equalizer and gave it their best to build off of that momentum.
In the 25th minute, however, Chicago fired back with what ended up being the game winning goal, resulting from a poorly defended throw-in in the defensive third by the Revs. Gonzalo Segares played in the ball that looked to go out of play but was redirected into the box by Patrick Nyarko. Newly acquired designated player Sherjil MacDonald was there to bury the goal, his first of the season, and give Chicago the lead and of course. ultimately the win.
The second half saw Benny Feilhaber replace Lee Nguyen who was seen on the sidelines elevating and icing his foot. But Feilhaber offered little in terms of providing the Revolution the spark they needed to turn the match around. Patrick Nyarko continued to wreak havoc on the the left side of the pitch, creating headache after headache for the New Engand defense. In the 56th minute Nyarko penetrated the left-sided defense and fired a shot at goal that Matt Reis was able to save brilliantly.
Other second half subs by New England included DP Jerry Bengtson (for Brettschneider) and rookie Kelyn Rowe (for Cardenas), but neither were able to offer enough to help the Revs equalize. Bengtson, at the very least, put in a very good shift, making himself involved in the attack, but was ultimately ineffective in the end.
Though the Revs had their opportunities, particularly in extra time, the scoreline remained the same and New England is now left to ponder even further the many questions surrounding Jay Heaps' squad as they struggle to find enough an identity to create some momentum and finish the season out strong, even if the playoffs are entirely a pipe dream at this point.
New England will travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Crew next weekend and hope that they can muster some points to help forget their recent string of poor results.