20220211_Matchdayguide_Preview

MLS Regular Season | Match #34
New England Revolution at Chicago Fire FC
Sunday, October 9 | 2:30 p.m. ET
SeatGeek Stadium | Bridgeview, Ill.

Watch: TV38, myRITV (Rhode Island)
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2 (English), 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese)

CURRENT FORM

New England Revolution
10th in Eastern Conference (10-12-11, 41 pts.)
Last Result | 2-1 win vs. Atlanta United FC

Gustavo Bou ended the Revolution’s 2022 home slate in style, scoring a dramatic 85th-minute game winner to cap the Revs’ 2-1 victory over Atlanta United FC last Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Giacomo Vrioni, making his first MLS start after missing all of August through injury, scored his first MLS goal from the penalty spot as the Revs were able to feature all three of their current Designated Players in the starting XI for the first time.

Unfortunately the Revolution’s playoff fate had already been determined before kickoff of that match, as Inter Miami’s win last Friday night meant the Revs were eliminated from postseason contention. It snaps a string of three straight playoff appearances for the Revs, who’ll finish no higher than ninth in the East.

Chicago Fire FC
12th in Eastern Conference (10-15-8, 38 pts.)
Last Result | 3-2 win at FC Cincinnati

Sunday’s hosts have also been eliminated from playoff contention as the Fire will miss the postseason for a fifth straight year and the 11th time in the last 13 seasons, finishing no higher than 10th in the East. Ezra Hendrickson’s side is coming off an impressive victory, however, having burst out to a 3-0 lead and then holding on for a 3-2 road win over FC Cincinnati last weekend at TQL Stadium.

Goals have been flowing in Chicago’s recent games as a total of 19 goals have been scored in their last four matches, including three straight games that have finished with a final score of 3-2. That’s a departure from the norm this season, as the Fire’s 38 goals scored are second-fewest in the Eastern Conference, and their 47 goals against gives them the fifth-best defensive record in the East.

KEY PLAYERS

Revolution forward Gustavo Bou
There was palpable relief as Gustavo Bou celebrated last weekend’s late winner, a goal that snapped a string of six straight appearances without a goal since returning from injury in late August. Bou’s tally also pushed him into the Revolution’s Golden Boot lead heading into Sunday’s finale, as the Argentine forward (8G, 2A) has a slight edge over captain Carles Gil (7G, 14A), though Gil has a huge advantage in the assists tiebreaker.

With newcomer Giacomo Vrioni making his first MLS start in the No. 9 role last weekend, Bou was deployed in more of a supporting role on the left side, a position that sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena has said is a more comfortable fit for the veteran forward.

Fire goalkeeper Chris Brady
It will be an 18-year-old goalkeeper between the pipes for Chicago on Sunday afternoon, but not Gabriel Slonina, who will depart for English Premier League club Chelsea FC after making 43 appearances for the Fire between the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Instead it will be another Homegrown goalkeeper, Chris Brady, making his MLS debut this weekend at SeatGeek Stadium.

Brady has been on the Fire roster since signing as a 16-year-old in 2020, making 12 appearances with Chicago Fire II this season and allowing just 10 goals for a goals against average of 0.83. He kept five clean sheets in those 12 appearances, saving one of the two penalties he faced.

STATUS REPORT

Revolution
The Revs announced on Tuesday that 22-year-old midfielder Maciel has undergone successful surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon, with his rehab process expected to take approximately 8-12 months. He’s sidelined along with rookie goalkeeper Jacob Jackson (ACL surgery) and August arrival Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (leg).

Left back DeJuan Jones is listed as questionable having missed the last two games with an upper leg injury, while central midfielder Matt Polster (lower leg) is also questionable having come off in the 58th minute of last weekend’s win over Atlanta.

Fire
In addition to young goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina – ruled out with a head injury – Chicago lists six other players as unavailable for Sunday’s finale: Rafael Czichos (yellow card accumulation), Gastón Giménez (right hamstring), Fabian Herbers (right hip), Wyatt Omsberg (left foot), Andre Reynolds II (right knee), and Jairo Torres (left lower leg). Slonina will finish the season as the Fire’s minutes played leader (2,880) as he started the first 32 games of the season, while Czichos ranks fourth in minutes played (2,332) with 26 starts.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

New England Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena
“Well, it’s different, but our approach for the last game is to try to win. I think despite the record this year, we tried to do that in the previous 33 games, so we’re not going to change that. I actually look forward to the game. I think over the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten closer to having a full roster and that’s good to see and we can see a few things that will help us as we move into 2023. There are a number of our players that haven’t had the chance to play on a consistent basis, so we’ll get to see some of them on Sunday for the last time and that will help us figure out some of our planning for next season.”

New England Revolution defender Henry Kessler
“We want to end the season on a good note. I think Chicago is probably thinking the same thing, both teams are eliminated. So, yeah, end this season well, and I think our performance against Atlanta was good so hopefully we can build on that and kind of bring these two performances into next year to hopefully continue to play well.”