The New England Revolution and the Chicago Fire sit deadlocked at 0-0 after an action-packed first half full of both glimpses of quality and glaring mistakes for both sides. The Fire had the better of the attacking play, but New England handled the blows and landed a few testers of their own.
Chicago nearly jumped out to a lead through Sherjill MacDonald in the third minute, but the designated player got his shot all wrong and put it over from near the top of the box. New England answered right back with their best chance of the half in the fifth minute, when Jerry Bengtson played in an excellent cross to Kalifa Cisse at the penalty spot, but the midfielder's header was caught and saved by Sean Johnson.
Matt Reis was called into action three times in the first half. The first was a fairly simple save from a fluffed MacDonald chance in the 27th minute. The second, though, required Reis to turn back the clock and make an excellent reaching, diving save on a Dilly Duka blast in the 31st. He also saved a low drive from Lindpere.
The teams came in even on possession for the first half, but Chicago definitely had higher quality of possession. After making inroads in the first 20 minutes or so, it appeared that the Revs started to have communication breakdowns in the final third, and found themselves unable to get into the box with the ball or effect good service to Bengtson. Jerry, for his part, had a varied half, sometimes making good play by chasing the ball down and linking up, and sometimes being isolated on an island.
Lee Nguyen and Juan Toja appear to be having some difficulty linking up and syncing in midfield as both of them float between the hole position behind the striker and the right wing. That will be something that head coach Jay Heaps will need to sort out during the break.
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