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MLS- New England Revolution

Chicago Fire at New England Revolution: Match Night Commentary

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The 2008 MLS playoffs are about to kick off tonight with the most familiar of playoff match-ups as the New England Revolution play host to the Chicago Fire at RFK Gillette Stadium (8pm, ESPN2). (Sorry DC fans, guess it feels weird having playoffs without RFK).

The Revs have beaten the Fire in the past three playoffs, but the task will be extremely difficult this time around without Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston, who are both out due to injuries. Throw in red card suspensions to Khano Smith and Gabriel Badilla and the Revs will face Chicago without four key starters.

I will be providing commentary throughout the night. Whether you will be watching the match, or want to follow the match here, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the match (commentary after the jump):

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FINAL– That’s all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on the match in the comments section below.

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FINAL– Revs put together a respectable performance and definitely tested the Chicago back-line a few times, so anybody expecting New England to get blown away should think again.

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FINAL– New England 0, Chicago 0. Even game and the Fire will feel comfortable going home needing a win to advance. Then again the Fire’s home record wasn’t exactly dominant.

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90th minute– Revs corner. Peligro.

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88th minute– Wow, Chicago dodges a bullett as the Revs took a few shots at goal from close range. Busch making a few good saves in that sequence, did well to get in the way and keep it scoreless.

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87th minute– We’re still scoreless and neither teams looks close to scoring.

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76th minute– McBride’s goal is waived offside. Tough one

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69th minute– Blanco is up after being ‘hurt’.

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64th minute– Soumare with a handball, not intentional though.

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60th minute– Castro’s kick goes right to Busch.

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59th minute– Larentowicz taken down by Pause at the edge of the penalty area and draws a yellow on Pause and free kick from the right top corner of the area.

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56th minute– Chicago needs to try and find McBride with passes so he can hold it up and find Mapp and Rolfe on runs. Neither Heaps or Parkhurst is going to knock McBride off the ball so they need to get McBride more involved.

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53rd minute– Nice sequence from the Fire but Blanco can’t do better with a close-range look.

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51st minute– If you’re following the commentary feel free to say so in the comments section.

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50th minute– McBride does well to hold the ball up but his teammates were too busy ball-watching instead of making runs to get open.

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48th minute– Okay, so the knee to the cheek was a hard one.

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47th minute– Albright caught Blanco with a slight knee to the butt cheek and Blanco is acting like he got stabbed.

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46th minute– We’re back.

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HALFTIME– So far, Shalrie Joseph has been imposing in central midfield, Blanco has been relatively invisible, Justin Mapp has been inconsistent, the Revs Africans have been active but not sharp and the center backs for both sides have avoided mistakes.

What will turn this game? Joseph and Castro need to deliver the quality pass to spring a Dube or Mansally because neither of them is creating a chance on their own. For the Fire, some patience and smarter player with possession will lead to quality chances. New England’s defense is far from impenetrable.

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HALFTIME– Few chances and neither team really took control.

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46th minute– Chicago has a nice counter working but Segares sends a weak shot wide to finish it off.

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45th minute– Not enough creativity from Chicago in the first half, which is a bit disappointing.

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43rd minute–  Mansally with a yellow card for a bit of a rough challenge on Rolfe. Not sure if it was yellow worthy, but referee Alex Prus wanted to calm things down there.

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40th minute– Castro is really starting to work down the left flank for New England. If Prideaux isn’t careful, Castro could burn him.

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39th minute– Nyassi with a great speedy run into the box, but his shot is just a bit wide. That’s what he needs to do instead of trying to cross balls in.

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38th minute– Dube with a nice shot attempt from long range, that misses just a bit high.

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37th minute– You have to love the loud f-bombs near the TV field mic. Another by-product of an empty stadium.

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36th minute– Mapp is starting to get better with his passing, though his shot just now was awful.

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34th minute– The Fire look better the past few minutes, showing more in the attack.

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27th minute– Revs counter off a Fire short corner but it ends without a shot on goal.

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25th minute– Conde with a nice dribble forward, but he and Mapp can’t connect on the final pass. Mapp has not looked good early on.

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23rd minute-If the Revs score first tonight I have a feeling the Fire will start to feel some real pressure. The memories of the past three season’s playoff eliminations could start to weigh on the Fire.

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22nd minute– The Revs are taking it to Chicago. This young and speedy team looks confident.

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18th minute– Revs are showing some real bite and hustle in the first half. Chicago looks a bit timid, well except for that Soumare foul. And there is Conde with a nice elbow to the back of Kheli Dube’s head.

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17th minute- Soumare gets a yellow for a crunching tackle on Mansally. Got there a bit late and Revs have another free kick.

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16th minute– Blanco has a shot blocked off the line by Parkhurst.

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15th minute-Nyassi keeps looking for the cross. Doesn’t make much sense since A) he can’t cross that well and B) there’s nobody on the Revs who is going to get on the end of his crosses.

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13th minute– Chicago free kick on a clear make-up call, or just a bad call. Fire can’t do anything with it.

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12th minute– As a rule, a two-handed shove in the back isn’t a "good tackle".

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12th minute– Castro and Joseph need to find Mansally and Dube  with space to run at Conde and Soumare. Their speed can create problems for Chicago’s center backs, but they need to get some service.

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10th minute-Wow, an empty stadium looks even worse in HD.

Another Revs free kick. Danger. Nope, blocked.

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8th minute– Chicago needs to show some patience. It’s clear the Revs will struggle if the Fire can make sharp passes. Mapp trying to sell a dive isn’t the way to test New England’s defense.

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4th minute– Castro’s free kick forces a save from Busch. Nice shot. Revs corner.

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3rd minute– Interesting to see four African-born players on the field for this match. Three for the Revs and Bakary Soumare for Chicago.

New England free kick.

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2nd minute– Revs going with a speedy lineup, but we will see who does the creating.

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1st minute– We’re off and the crowd is buzzing. Okay, not really.

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PRE-GAME– Here is the Fire’s lineup:

———–McBride——–Blanco—————-

Mapp————–Blanco——————Rolfe

————-Pause——-Thorrington———–

Segares—Soumare—Conde———–Prideaux

——————–Busch————————–

PRE-GAME– Here is New England’s lineup:

————Mansally—-Dube——————–

Castro——-Joseph—-Larentowicz—-Nyassi

Tierney—–Heaps—-Parkhurst—–Albright

——————–Reis——————–

87 comments
  • Isaac

    The injury on Mensally(or Dube) looked fine, but i cant remember a single game where Blanco hasn’t been ‘injured’.

    Like

  • mikeK

    Certainly a foul. This game’s getting chippy now. Now it’s interesting. It seems there’s a reasonable chance for a red card now.

    Like

  • Drew

    the crowd sounds like it’s a high school game. the wnba has gotta draw better than this. it’s too bad.

    Like

  • eric

    That last Fire attack look like it had some intent, but Joseph put an end to all that. And I don’t care how bad that shot was, at least NE is trying so go at goal.

    Like

  • eric

    What a header, even so. Good to see Chicago showing life.

    BTW, Ives, some of my comments aren’t showing up…

    Like

  • Isaac

    AWWW the flag is up……That looked perfect. Great ball from Mapp great header from McBride.

    Like

  • mikeK

    Nice camerawork, panning around at the fort just standing around. Seriously guys, it looks cold, jump around and stuff, you’ll be warm, yeah?

    Like

  • mikeK

    Wait, is Wynalda telling the kids watching to not help opponents up, or am I misunderstanding him?

    Either way, it’s quite the assumption that there are kids watching.

    P.S.- Oh I wish Joseph signed with Celtic.

    Like

  • mikeK

    Seems like comments are delayed, both in here and in your commentary. Maybe Ives is taking a bit of sleep though, I wouldn’t blame him. He’s not missing much out of the ordinary.

    Like

  • Isaac

    Sometimes the Revs fans are more interesting than the actual revs seriously guys do something.

    Like

  • Ethan

    Rolfe is a much better forward than he is a midfielder, and the Fire needed him next to McBride tonight, although, it could have been their strategy just to hold tonight. He needs to play up top in Chicago for sure.

    Like

  • Ethan

    Rolfe is a much better forward than he is a midfielder, and the Fire needed him next to McBride tonight, although, it could have been their strategy just to hold tonight. He needs to play up top in Chicago for sure.

    Do many people think New England should lose their team? Or Kansas City?

    Like

  • rorvis

    Huge result for the Revs, since they haven’t put up a fight in weeks. For a Revs fan, I can’t believe we are actually still in it. Yes, a draw at home is usually not good, but we are so out of sorts, this is a plus. at least we can pretend we have a team for the next week.

    Like

  • matt

    That was the worst game I have ever seen. Both teams really know how to hold on to the ball, both managers really know how to use that long ball strategy, and both teams must really work on diving in practice because there was a lot of that going on. Makes me wonder why no fans showed up?

    Like

  • Tim Crawford

    I think these comments are a bit harsh. It was a hard-fought, gritty match. I understand there were no goals scored, but tactically, you could see the playoff fever causing both teams to get frantic around their own area and play very tactical games. I think it was just a very defensively sound game. Anyone watching the Revs has to say that they weren’t likely to score based on recent performances, but both teams were really defensively sound, and I think that deserves some credit. There are different types of soccer matches, and this one still deserves its own type of credit. I’m sorry the poor American soccer fan seems to need 5 goals to make a game interesting. In regards to the fans, this is why it’s a bad idea to make two cold weather cities play on weeknights.

    Like

  • George Griffin

    The comment just above is spot on. This was playoff soccer at it’s best between two teams that really don’t like each other. This match was all about who would win the defensive battle. Next Thursday should be an epic battle.

    FWIW, one of the reasons the attendance was low beside it being mdweek and a very cold night, this was not a game where season ticket holders got in as part of their season ticket package.

    Like

  • brett

    ive got 2 things i disliked…

    1) Mapp: doesnt give 100%… doesnt play defense…. shys away from EVERYTHING… gave up too many balls… HIS ONLY POSITIVE WAS THE CROSS TO BMB WHICH WAS RULED OFFSIDES…. hope PAPPA starts next game😡

    2) Dennis Hamlett: ok, so ive been a “it’s his first season as a coach” kind of guy this season, but what was up with the lineup?? we’ve done this lineup before and failed… NE was down on starters, they were playing some of their bench players and we come out with a lone forward and rolfe on the side?? we should have stuck to our guns, thrown rolfe up top wih BMB and stuck Thor out right….

    DH failed the fire last night…. there is no better way to put it…. NE came out more physical and the game became sloppy all around… congrats to NE for stopping the fire from rolling, they figured us out last night… now they have to come to TP and try to get a result… dont expect it though…. the Fire are going to come out guns blazing b/c we are at home…. last night was a nightmare…

    Like

  • skawars1

    -We sucked. They sucked. That game was just bad. It’s the kind of thing that gives the MLS a bad name.

    -Conde was the best player out there. Who is going to replace that guy next year?

    -Blanco needs to go. I can’t take it anymore. He is such a diving little #$%&*. Between him diving and the whole fan comments thing this season, I’ll drive him to his next club.

    -Last but not least. NE fans you suck!!! A playoff game and all you can muster up is 5 thou and some change. Watch next week to see how its done. “The Chicago Way”

    Like

  • Fumar

    I have to disagree, this was chippy rugby match because that’s how it was called. the ref let too much go and that’s why these teams were beating each other phyisically and turning the ball over. Yes, Blanco flops, but he’s also excpetional at simply holding the ball out of reach and getting hacked. He gets a lot of calls, but he also doesn’t get many because of his reputation.

    If the ref would have called it tight early on this would have been a much more open match. Also Rolfe played on the wing in the game he had a hat trick, but he pushed inside much more in that game. it seemed like the Denis told him to stay home and defend, thus there was no counter attack and no one going forward when we had the ball.

    Mapp’s a pansy out there and had no business in a physical game like last night’s. We need to get someone in there that will challenge for those balls, like thorrington. That said I think thorrington in the right back position and pushing up is the best place for him, he’s much more dangerous than brandon prideaux

    Like

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