By JEFFREY KRAUSE
BRIDGEVIEW, IL.- Fans at Toyota Park were treated to plenty of goal-scoring action early and often in Saturday night's Chicago Fire-New England Revolution, with three goals coming in the first 15 minutes of the match. Luckily for most of those fans, the Fire came away with the edge during that flurry, as they continued their recent hot form with another victory.
Chicago forward Chris Rolfe and new Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald both tallied goals to help Chicago win their third straight game, beating New England Revolution, 2-1.
The Fire are now 7-2-2 dating back to June 17th. Conversely, New England extended their winless streak to seven games.
For the first time since the April 21st match against Toronto, Chicago received goal production from both their forwards. MacDonald opened his Fire account heading home a Patrick Nyarko cross for the game winner in the 15th minute. The Dutch striker helped Chicago regain the a lead they would not relent after Fernando Cardenas equalized for New England thanks to some sloppy defending from Chicago just minutes earlier.
In spite of taking three points from the match, Chicago head coach Frank Klopas saw room for improvement.
"At the end of the night, I didn’t think that we were particularly good with the ball. We had a lot of turnovers and were sloppy with our passing. On the other hand, we created a lot of chances," Klopas said after the game. "Even though we were ahead in the stats in possession, we were not sharp. We need to finish our chances. It’s great that we’re creating, but we need to focus in the final third and put teams away."
Chicago scored first when Patrick Nyarko, streaking up the sideline, found Chris Rolfe charging into the box. Rolfe beat his defender, but was brought down just outside the six-yard box, drawing the foul and ensuing penalty in the fourth minute. Rolfe beat New England goalkeeper Matt Reis to the left corner, giving Chicago the lead. The goal, Rolfe's 41st in his MLS career, was his third goal in two games.
New England drew even in the 11th minute, when a long ball from the Revolution back line was tracked down by Saer Sene. Sene was given time and space to collect the ball and send it into the box, as Chicago RB Jalil Anibaba tracked back slowly on the play. After Chicago was unable to clear the ball from danger, Fernando Cardenas slotted it home to bring New England level.
Chicago ultimately had the last word, however, with MacDonald's game-winning header just minutes later.
"When you get a lot of chances, you're going to score. At first you think about your game. Today, I didn't have the best game. I'm happy to have scored the goal, but I'm not satisfied about my game today. I'm happy that the team won, but I have to get better," MacDonald said. "I get too many chances. I have to improve a lot, and get in shape. But I'm happy that we won today, it was a difficult game."
With Saturday night's win, Chicago moved into a tie for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, at least temporarily. The Fire's 3rd straight win draws them even with New York Red Bulls, as both teams sit behind league-leading Sporting Kansas City with 41 points each (the Red Bulls play Portland). The Houston Dynamo, currently sitting on 40 points, take on Columbus Crew tonight.
Here are the match highlights: