By DAVE GUBALA
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill — The Chicago Fire knew they couldn't afford anything less than a win on Sunday afternoon and started the match like a team intent on securing all three points.
The Fire did just that after jumping out to an early 3-0 lead and fending off a late New England rally to post a 3-2 victory at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon.
“There was a lot on the line,” said Chicago Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas. “It was a do or die for both clubs and I think for us, we came out and had a very good start to the game.”
The Chicago Fire managed once again to get on the board bright and early. Logan Pause played Patrick Nyarko a direct ball into the box who was tackled down by Matt Reis and earned a penalty for the Fire. Grazzini buried the penalty to give the 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.
Just four minutes later, the Chicago Fire found the net again. This time, Grazzini played a through-ball to Dominic Oduro who rounded Matt Reis to slot it into the empty net for a 2-0 lead.
“The goalie came out and it was just a matter of seconds whether he was going to go left or right, I went right and put the ball right there,” said Oduro.
“It wasn’t an easy goal but it was worth it with all the running."
The Chicago Fire kept on pressing and increased their lead to 3-0 in the 30th minute. Matt Reis came off his line to clear a loose ball, only to be beaten by a streaking Patrick Nyarko, who buried it into the empty net.
“We were at home, we set the tone, got the early goals, settled down and just tried to play our game and that’s always the key,” said Nyarko.
The remaining 15 minutes belonged to the Revolution, however the visiting side wasn't able to put any balls away with their numerous opportunities.
The second half was one for the Revs to turn around and boy did they come close. Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was constantly on his toes as the Revolution piled chances on him but saw none hit the back of the net.
A late scare from the Revolution haunted the Fire from earning full points as midfielder Ryan Guy scored a brace in the 90th and 92nd minutes to cut the deficit to just one goal for the Revs.
"I was just thinking how many seconds do we have left, so we can get another one and kind of bring it back," said Ryan Guy. "It was bittersweet because I got my first couple of MLS goals but making three mistakes was a big shame."
The New England Revolution pulled one back in the 90th minute with what many thought was a late consolation goal for the Revs. Midfielder Ryan Guy chipped a loose ball into the back of the net after a pinball effect took place in the Fire's box.
Just two minutes later, Revolution made it 3-2. Ryan Guy was found at the end of a low-driven cross and managed to slip it past Sean Johnson.
The Revolution continued pushing but were not able to find that equalizing goal. It was a matter of second before referee Michael Kennedy blew the whistle and called it a game.
The victory puts the Chicago Fire ahead of the San Jose Earthquakes in 14th place on 33 points. The Fire still have a chance to accumulate 48 points this season should they win all remaining games and make a respectable run at a wildcard spot. They travel to Rio Tinto on Wednesday Sept. 28 to take on Real Salt Lake.
As for the New England Revolution, their playoff hopes aren't mathematically dead, but it would take a series of miracles for the Revs to have any chance. Revs host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, needing four wins in their final four, along with plenty of help, to have any hope of making the playoffs.