The New England Revolution needed to bounce back from a very poor performance against Sporting Kansas City, and they did it in the best way possible. Faced with the Chicago Fire at home - the team just ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings - the Revs played a tight and physical game but managed to eke out the 2-0 win and leap-frog the Fire into a playoff position.
It was Juan Agudelo's second-half wonderstrike that gave the Revs the victory. However, the result was not certain until stoppage time, when Kelyn Rowe buried a rebound to give the Revs a two-goal lead. The match also featured the return of Matt Reis and Agudelo to the starting lineup, and the debut of newly-acquired striker Charlie Davies.
The early part of the match started as many Revolution matches have started: slow. Diego Fagundez - who had a rough night overall - had the match's first real chance with a drive from 25-30 yards out with the right foot, but it flashed wide. Chicago's best chance of the evening followed in the 18th minute, as Juan Luis Anangono deked Scott Caldwell and scuffed a shot to Mike Magee, who fired off the post. His follow-up was saved by Matt Reis, who surprisingly started in place of Bobby Shuttleworth.
Kelyn Rowe got a shot on goal in the 38th minute, too, and got a good rip just wide in first-half stoppage time, but the first half was mostly an exercise in boredom and difficulty. The Revs had the possession advantage, but did little with it.
The second half opened up. Rowe had a chance again in the 48th minute, this time knocked away by Bakary Soumare. Rowe was lively, but the goal that was to come would put anything he tried to do to shame.
In the 54th minute, Chris Tierney launched a ball from deep at a rushing Juan Agudelo. Agudelo ran onto it, and with Sean Johnson bearing down on him, he elected to try an outrageous over-the-shoulder hackey-sack-style chip. The ball looped high and tucked under the bar for possibly the best goal any Rev has scored all season.
The Revs dominated the rest of the second half, with few chances for the Fire. However, New England was not capitalizing on their chances, either. There was a sense that Chicago could grow back into the match easily with just one lucky bounce.
Kelyn Rowe put that to rest.
In the first minute of second-half stoppage time, Saer Sene bore down on goal from the right. He attempted to curl the ball around Sean Johnson with his left, but Johnson parried. Unfortunately for the Fire keeper, the parry spilled the ball into the middle of the box, where Rowe buried simply to give the Revs a 2-0 lead and the full three points.
The fireworks didn't end there, however. Bakary Soumare appeared to attack Revolution head athletic trainer Evan Allen after the game, but was settled down by Saer Sene. Unfortunately, a Fire coach got in Sene's face after he calmed Soumare, and Sene responded poorly, shoving the coach. Both Sene and Soumare received red cards.
Charlie Davies made his debut in the 78th minute, replacing Chad Barrett.