News & Notes: Fire

Revs head to Chicago on Saturday for nationally-televised match against the Fire

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Fresh off the team’s 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo last Saturday, the New England Revolution will travel to take on the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday, April 19, in its next match.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET, with the match televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network. 98.5 The Sports Hub will carry the game on its radio network.

Saturday’s match will be the first of three meetings this season between the Revolution and Fire, and the only one played in Chicago. The teams will play their final two matches this season at Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution (2-3-1, 7 pts.) posted a 2-0 shutout victory over Houston last Saturday, extending its home unbeaten run to five matches dating back to September 2013. The Revs have yet to allow an opponent to score at Gillette Stadium this season, posting back-to-back shutouts in its two home efforts. Following Saturday’s match in Chicago, the Revs will return home to host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, April 26.

Chicago (0-1-5, 5 pts.) enters Saturday’s match against New England unbeaten in their last five games – all draws (0-0-5) – after opening the 2014 season with a 3-2 loss at Chivas USA.

TEAM NOTES

Off to the Windy City
The Revs head to Chicago on Saturday, April 19, for the first of three meetings with the Fire, and the only meeting at Toyota Park in 2014 … the Revs have posted a 17-20-9 record all time in MLS regular-season play against the Fire … the two teams will meet at Gillette Stadium on July 12 and Sept. 7 to wrap up the regular-season series … the Revs won the 2013 regular-season series, posting a 2-1-0 record, including a 1-1-0 mark at Toyota Park.

Scoring first counts
The Revolution is one of six teams in MLS who are perfect when scoring their game’s first goal … New England (2-0-0) – with LA (2-0-0), Houston (2-0-0), D.C. (2-0-0), Toronto (3-0-0) and Colorado (2-0-0) – are all perfect and have 1.000 winning percentages when they score first in a match … however, New England is also one of four teams who have lost every match in which their opponent scored the first goal … New England is 0-3-0 when allowing the first goal, joining Kansas City (0-1-0), Houston (0-3-0) and Toronto (0-2-0) in that category.

Two-goal breakout
The Revolution posted a 2-0 win last Saturday against Houston, and it was the team’s first multi-goal victory since Aug. 25, 2013 – a 5-1 win over Philadelphia at Gillette Stadium ... the Revs went a span of 15 games without collecting a multiple-goal win ... in every victory after Aug. 25 until last Saturday – six wins – the Revs only secured a one-goal win in that span.

Defensive finding its way back
After allowing four goals in the season opener, the Revolution’s defense has been on a steadying course ... while the Revs have a team goals against average of 1.33 after Saturday’s shutout against Houston, New England has a team GAA of 0.80 in the last five games – which includes two shutouts (vs. Vancouver on March 22 and vs. Houston on April 12), two one-goal defensive efforts (at Philadelphia on March 15 and at San Jose on March 22) and one two-goal match (at D.C. on April 5) ... the team’s 1.33 GAA is tied for ninth in the league, while its two shutouts is tied for second ... in 2013, the Revs had one of the MLS’ stouter defenses, allowing 1.12 goals per game (to tie for third in the league) and led MLS in shutouts with 14 – a club record.

Alston returns to starting lineup ...
Last Saturday, Kevin Alston made his first start – and first appearance – since the Revolution’s season opener on March 8 at Houston ... in that match, he was forced out in the 20th minute with a hamstring injury, and Saturday’s start was his first action in a month as he missed four games with the muscle strain ... Alston was called into duty at left back – the position he played while in college at Indiana – when Chris Tierney was unable to dress with irritation in his left hip.

… and makes first MLS goal count
In addition to returning to the lineup, Kevin Alston scored his first career MLS goal last Saturday against Houston at Gillette Stadium … Alston’s 68th minute game-winning strike proved to be enough for the Revs as they handed the Dynamo a 2-0 loss … Alston’s only other goal with the Revs came in the Superliga 2010 Final against Monarcas Morelia at Gillette Stadium.

Bengtson opens 2014 account
Jerry Bengtson scored his first goal in 2014 last Saturday in the team’s 2-0 win over the Dynamo … Bengtson came on in the 78th minute and sealed the Revs’ first home win this season with his 91st minute goal … the forward beat Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall to A.J. Soares’ lobbed pass just outside the 18-yard-box, rounded Hall and dribbled in on goal and finished calmly to the near post with a defender taking up position along the goal line … the goal was Bengtson’s first since March 9, 2013, when he scored the game-winning goal in the Revs’ 1-0 win at Chicago.

First points for Bunbury, Kobayashi
Teal Bunbury and Daigo Kobayashi recorded their first points in a Revs uniform last Saturday in the team’s 2-0 win over Houston at Gillette Stadium … Kobayashi and Bunbury combined to set up Kevin Alston’s game-winning goal in the 68th minute … Bunbury now has eight career assists, including three game-winning assists, while Kobayashi has five career assists with two game-winners.

First career assist for Soares
A.J. Soares recorded his first career assist against Houston last Saturday in the team’s 2-0 win … Soares played a long ball over the top of the Dynamo back four that Jerry Bengtson tracked down and finished in the 91st minute … the fourth-year defender out of the University of California has four career goals and has played every minute of every game for the Revs this season.

Back four shows flexibility
Jose Goncalves was forced to leave last Saturday’s game against Houston in the 41st minute with a right quadriceps injury … with the injury, Andrew Farrell slid from right back into the center, while Darrius Barnes came on and played right back ... Farrell played some minutes in preseason at center back, and made his MLS debut at the position at Philadelphia on March 15, when he started in that spot in place of Goncalves … despite the unexpected change, the back four held the Dynamo attack at bay – not allowing a single shot on goal – and posted the team’s second shutout in 2014.

Farrell finds his spot
Andrew Farrell was heralded coming into MLS as one of the league’s and U.S.’ top defensive prospects, and after a stand-out rookie season, is now having a consistently stellar sophomore effort  ... Farrell, who played 32 matches at right back last year, has seen time at both right back and center back this season ... he’s twice been names to MLS’ team of the week – once as a right back and once as a center back – and has been noticeably controlling along the backline this year.

Second shutout for Shuttleworth
Bobby Shuttleworth earned his second shutout of 2014 last Saturday in a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo at Gillette Stadium … both of Shuttleworth’s shutouts have come at home this season … the sixth-year goalkeeper recorded nine shutouts in 2013, including five at Gillette Stadium ... Shuttleworth’s 15 shutouts rank second in club history.

Goncalves goes down
When Jose Goncalves was forced off the field in the 41st minute with a right quadriceps injury against Houston last weekend, it marked the first time in his Revolution career that he did not finish a game in which he started ... Goncalves was one of three field players in MLS who played every minute of every game in 2013, and he had played 90 minutes in each of his previous four starts this season before last Saturday’s game.

Fortress Foxborough
The Revolution has played two matches at home so far this season, and is undefeated in those matches going 1-0-1 … the Revs’ .750 winning percentage at Gillette Stadium is tied for tops in the league, level with FC Dallas’ 3-1-0 mark and Real Salt Lake’s 1-0-1 record … additionally, the Revolution is the only team in MLS that has yet to allow a goal at home this year, having posted back-to-back shutouts at Gillette Stadium … the team’s home goals against average of 0.00 is best in the league by one-third of a goal, in front of Kansas City’s 0.33 home GAA.

Streaking at home
Saturday’s win at Gillette Stadium extended the team’s unbeaten run at home to five matches, dating back to September 2013 … since suffering a 4-2 loss to Montreal (with 10 men for 85 minutes) on Sept. 8, the Revs have gone 3-0-2 in home matches since then:

Match   Result  Score
Sept. 21 vs. D.C.  2-1
Sept. 28 vs. Houston  T 1-1
Oct. 19 vs. Columbus 3-2
March 22 vs. Vancouver T 0-0
April 12 vs. Houston  2-0

Portugal and Mexico set to meet at Gillette
Before the Mexican and Portuguese national teams make their way to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they’ll face off in an international friendly at Gillette Stadium … on June 6, Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal against Javier Hernandez and Mexico in a final tune up before the World Cup … kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m., and tickets are on sale and start at $40.

July 12: New England’s Fitness Event of the Year
International fitness star Shaun T – the creator of best-selling fitness programs INSANITY, Focus T25 and Hip Hop Abs – will make a special appearance at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, July 12, when he leads a live workout on the field before the New England Revolution hosts the Chicago Fire later in the evening … Special ticket packages start at $85 and are on sale now through revolutionsoccer.net/shaunt … packages include a spot in the live workout, a Q&A session with Shaun T after the workout, a meet & greet and group photo session with Shaun T, access to a reserved tailgate area between the workout and the Revs match, and a midfield seat for the Revolution match … special package options are available for fitness fans who want to be closer to Shaun T and work out in the first 10 rows.