Photo by ISIphotos.com
Three years of playoff disappointments were healed on Thursday with three goals as the Chicago Fire toppled the short-handed New England Revolution, 3-0, at Toyota Park.
Displaying the dangerous offense and stingy defense that has the Fire a game away from the MLS Cup final, Chicago overwhelmed the Revs after the sides played an even first half until Chris Rolfe’s goal just before halftime set the tone for the rout.
The defeat seemed inevitable for a Revs team missing key starters and playing with an injured Shalrie Joseph. After three straight trips to the MLS Cup final, the Revs just couldn’t avoid a rash of major injuries that doomed New England to its first Eastern Conference playoff loss since 2004.
Now the Fire will take on the winner of the Columbus-Kansas City series in the Eastern Conference final next Thursday.
Here are some of the other stories from Friday morning and Thursday to get your day started:
High praise for Guzan after UEFA Cup win
Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill sang the praise of American goalkeeper Brad Guzan after Guzan’s stellar performance in Villa’s 1-0 UEFA Cup win vs. Slavia Prague on Thursday.
"I think he’s a great goalkeeper in the making and I’m delighted he got his work permit, and I think he’s following in a long line of great American goalkeepers,” O’Neill said.
"I thought he was brilliant and all the things we felt we saw in him when he was in America, we’re delighted they’ve come out.”
Here are some highlights from the match, including several quality Guzan saves.
The victory and shutout came in just Guzan’s second appearance for Aston Villa, with the first coming in the Carling Cup.
Onyewu’s Liege tops Sevilla
U.S. national team defender Oguchi Onyewu helped Belgian side Standard Liege post a 1-0 victory against Spanish power Sevilla in UEFA Cup play on Thursday. The victory came in Liege’s first match of the group stage.
Onyewu was the lone American field player to take part in UEFA Cup action on Thursday, with Guzan being the other American to play in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.
These are just a few stories to get your day started. What did you think of Chicago’s performance last night? Impressed with Guzan’s UEFA Cup debut? Can you see Standard Liege making a deep run in the UEFA Cup?
Share your thoughts on these stories, and any other stories from this morning, in the comments section below.