FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Benny Feilhaber and Kelyn Rowe each scored one goal and assisted on the other as the New England Revolution claimed a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night at rain-soaked Gillette Stadium.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis made three saves to guide New England to its second shutout of the season. The victory was the Revolution’s first regular-season triumph over the Fire since May 6, 2007, snapping a 10-game winless run (0-7-3) in the series.
Rowe – who played 120 minutes in Tuesday night’s U.S. Open Cup loss to the Harrisburg City Islanders – entered the match in the 64th minute and scored what proved to be the game-winning goal just five minutes later. The Revolution rookie then turned provider, setting up Feilhaber for an insurance tally in the 73rd minute.
Feilhaber partnered Shalrie Joseph in central midfield with both Clyde Simms (L ankle tendonitis) and Ryan Guy (R calf tightness) out through injury, while Colombians Fernando Cardenas and Jose Moreno returned to the Revolution’s starting lineup at right midfield and forward, respectively.
New England (5-7-1, 16 pts.) was on the front foot in the opening stages and the home side almost broke through in the third minute when Feilhaber’s 25-yard rocket sailed inches wide of the right post after a clever layoff from Moreno. Chicago (5-5-3, 18 pts.) went even closer in the 17th minute, hitting the woodwork when Gonzalo Segares’ flicked header from Pavel Pardo’s free kick slammed off the face of the post.
Those early chances proved to be the highlights of a quiet first half in which both sides worked hard to adjust to the wet conditions, including swirling winds and sheets of rain throughout.
The second half almost got off to a rousing start as the Fire hit its second post of the night in the 48th minute. Orr Barouch couldn’t connect on Pardo’s right-wing cross, but the ball popped straight to Dominic Oduro, who snapped a powerful header which beat Reis but kicked off the left post.
Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson came up huge in the 65th minute to temporarily keep the game scoreless, denying Rowe in a one-on-one situation. Just moments after entering the match, Rowe was sent clear behind Chicago’s backline by Saer Sène. Johnson advanced off his line as Rowe entered the box and kicked the shot away with a quick reaction.
Rowe got his revenge four minutes later, however, beating Johnson to give the Revs a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season. Feilhaber was the creator, playing the ball into Rowe’s path as he made a darting run from the right wing into the box. Rowe almost lost control of the ball with his first touch, but quickly recovered before poking a shot inside the right post from near the penalty spot.
The roles were reversed in the 73rd minute when Rowe set up Feilhaber for his first goal of the season as the Revs extended their lead to 2-0. It was a give-and-go down the right side which sprung Feilhaber into the box and the 27-year-old midfielder made no mistake with his first touch, blasting a shot low under Johnson.
New England continued to pour on the pressure and almost found a third goal before the 75th minute as both Sène and Stephen McCarthy forced Johnson into quality saves, but further insurance wasn’t necessary as Reis and the Revolution backline held on for the clean sheet.
The Revs will be off next weekend and won’t return to action until Saturday, June 16, when they’ll host the Columbus Crew in another Eastern Conference showdown. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire
June 2, 2012 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
New England Revolution 2, Chicago Fire 0
NE: Kelyn Rowe (Benny Feilhaber) 69
NE: Benny Feilhaber (Kelyn Rowe) 73
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Lee Nguyen, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Fernando Cardenas (Kelyn Rowe 64), Saer Sène, Jose Moreno (Blake Brettschneider 77)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Darrius Barnes, John Lozano, Diego Fagundez, Jeremiah White
STATS: Shots 15, Shots on Target 8, Corner Kicks 7, Saves 3, Fouls 9, Offsides 1, Passes Completed (percentage) 449 (74.8%), Possession 52.1%
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson, Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause (Rafael Robayo 74) ©, Sebastian Grazzini, Pavel Pardo, Orr Barouch (Federico Puppo 77), Dominic Oduro (Chris Rolfe 69), Patrick Nyarko
Substitutes Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper, Daniel Paladini, Michael Videira
STATS: Shots 9, Shots on Target 3, Corner Kicks 2, Saves 6, Fouls 14, Offsides 1, Passes Completed (percentage) 417 (72.7%), Possession 47.9%
* Note that all statistics are unofficial
CHI: Barouch (caution) 60
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistant Referees: Craig Lowry, Greg Barkey
Fourth Official: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: Rain and 65 degrees
New England Revolution: 5-7-1 (16 pts.)
Chicago Fire 5-5-3 (18 pts.)
- Tonight’s match was the 41st MLS regular-season meeting between the two teams and the 60th meeting overall, including MLS Cup playoffs, U.S. Open Cup and SuperLiga meetings
- With the win, the Revs improved their record to 14-18-9 against Chicago in the all-time, regular-season series between the two teams … in all meetings, Chicago holds a 28-22-10 edge in the series
- The Revs are now 10-8-3 at home against Chicago all-time, including a 8-5-2 record at Gillette Stadium
- The win snapped a losing streak of 10 regular-season games against the Fire … prior to tonight, the last in-season win came on May 6, 2007 at Gillette Stadium (3-1)
- The win tonight also snapped a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) at home against Chicago dating back to the win on May 6, 2007
- Tonight’s match was the first of three regular-season meetings between the two clubs this year … on Aug. 18, the Revs will travel to Chicago before returning to Gillette Stadium to host the Fire on Oct. 20
- With the victory tonight, the Revs earned their fifth win of the season, matching the club’s win total of the 2011 campaign when the club went 5-16-13 in the 34-game season
- The Revs earned their fourth home win of the season in just their sixth home contest in 2012, matching the team’s home-game win totals of last season following a 4-7-6 record at Gillette Stadium in 2011
- Kelyn Rowe scored his second goal of the season 69th minute, his first goal since March 31 at LA
- Benny Feilhaber recorded his first assist of the season on Kelyn Rowe’s 69th-minute goal, his first assist since Sept. 10, 2011 against FC Dallas
- Feilhaber later recorded his first goal of the season in the 73rd minute … the goal was his first since Sept. 7, 2011 at Philadelphia
- Kelyn Rowe earned his first career assist on Benny Feilhaber’s 73rd minute goal
- Jose Moreno returned to the starting lineup at forward, his first start since May 2 against Colorado … it marked the fourth time this season that Moreno has lined up alongside Saer Sène at forward
- Saer Sène did not score tonight, snapping his three-game goal-scoring streak
- Matt Reis recorded his second shutout of the season, his first since March 24 in the 1-0 win against Portland … Reis now has 66 career shutouts and is now 10 shutouts behind Zack Thornton for fourth on the list of all-time shutout leaders (76) … Kevin Hartman leads all goalkeepers with 107 career shutouts