A pair of defensive mistakes resulted in two crucial points left on the table for the New England Revolution, as the Revs managed only a 2-2 draw against the visiting Chicago Fire on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Despite an 18-8 edge in shots and a 65.8-percent possession advantage, the Revolution again failed to maximize points on their home pitch. New England is now 0-2-3 in its last five home games.
Aleksandar Katai opened the scoring in the 19th minute, taking advantage of a sloppy turnover. Revs defender Brandon Bye seemingly intercepted a pass attempt, but then almost immediately kicked the ball back to Katai. The Fire midfielder then made a strong run into the box and fired the shot into the net for his 11th goal of the season.
The Revolution didn’t generate much on attack in the first 45 minutes, though the halftime substitutions of Juan Agudelo and Guillermo Hauche (making his MLS debut) suddenly brought the offense to life. New England controlled the pace of play and finally broke through in the 62nd minute when Scott Caldwell buried a rebound to equalize the game.
Just five minutes later, however, Chicago (7-15-7, 28 points) again took the lead on another Revolution error. Michael Mancienne made a poor touch on a Raheem Edwards cross to the front of the net, resulting in Mancienne knocking the ball past his team’s keeper for the own goal.
New England (8-10-11, 35 points) again evened the score when Cristian Penilla took a pass on the left side from Agudelo in the 70th minute. Penilla drew two defenders and goalkeeper Richard Sanchez to his side of the box, and still managed to spin around and knock a shot past the crowd and into the net.
While the Fire salvaged a point from the game, the result all but officially eliminates them from playoff contention. Chicago is 12 points back of sixth-place Montreal with only five games remaining in the Fire’s schedule.
The draw also kept the Revolution from gaining valuable ground on the Impact for the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. New England remains five points behind Montreal, though the Revs have a game in hand over the Canadian side.
Chicago defender Bastian Schweinsteiger was substituted out of the game in stoppage time with a possible head injury. The former German international was shaken up after taking a stray arm to the head from Hauche while both were chasing for a loose ball, and he was removed a few minutes later after falling to the ground on a non-contact play.
—Field Level Media