Kelyn Rowe and Saer Sene scored first-half goals, but the New England Revolution could not hold the lead and lost 3-2 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.
With the loss, New England (10-11-7, 37 points) dropped out of playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference standings, falling from fifth to seventh. Chicago (11-11-6, 39 pts.) leapfrogged the Revs into fifth place in the standings following the win and other East results that shuffled the standings. The Revolution has six games left to play.
Revs head coach Jay Heaps made three changes to the lineup he put out last weekend against Montreal. With Matt Reis suspended while serving a red-card suspension, Bobby Shuttleworth stepped back in to goal. Stephen McCarthy came in for A.J. Soares at center back, while Sene returned to the right wing in place of Chad Barrett.
Revs almost got on the scoresheet early but Dimitry Imbongo’s header was ruled offside in the seventh minted. But two minutes later it, New England went ahead when Rowe’s 25 yard shot was deflected and beat a leaping Sean Johnson. That was Rowe’s fifth goal in the last five games. No doubt who New England’s player of the year is.
Chicago leveled in the 30th minute when Joel Lindpere threaded a pass through the Revs defense to Juan Luis Anangono, who beat Jose Goncalves too easily to make it 1-1.
As the end of the first half neared, Imbongo and Sene combined to give the Revs a 2-1 lead headed into the interval. Imbongo pulled down Bobby Shuttleworth’s goal kick and worked into space before playing in Sene who slotted a left-footed shot inside the far post past Johnson.
Then the Revs were robbed of a third goal by a horrendous offside decision. Rowe threaded an inch-perfect through to Sene who scored but the goal was disallowed for offside, despite replays showing that Sene was a yard onside when the ball was played.
So instead of it being 3-1 New England, minutes later we were tied at 2-2 when Mike Magee finished off a Patrick Nyarko pass into the box.
The Revolution protested as Anangono was in an offside position a yard and interfered with defender Jose Goncalves from getting to the ball, but the whole Revs defense stood and waited for the whistle that never came. Yes it was a bad decision by the referee, but from six years of age we are taught to play to the whistle, but the Rev defenders never did. And it cost them a goal.
Then Chicago broke New England hearts four minutes from tim when Alex’s shot form outside the penalty area beat Shuttleworth to make it 3-2 lead Chicago. Alex’s shot was not hit particularly hard and you have to think that if Matt Reis had been in goal that he would have saved it.
Overall a poor defeat for New England. Yes they can blame the referee for two bad decisions, but the three goals they gave up were poor. New England have failed to win their last three games, and their much vaunted defense has given up 8 goals in those three games. This is the time of year when good teams (aka the Seattle Sounders) start to play their best soccer of the season. Unfortunately for New England they are playing as poor defensively as they have all season.
The Revolution returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 21, when they hosts D.C. United at Gillette Stadium in what is now a must-win game.