An early defensive lapse, more trouble finishing scoring chances, and a freak cross that ended up in the back of the net all spoiled the Chicago Fire’s night at Soldier Field Sunday against the New England Revolution. The Fire lost the match 2-1, dropping three valuable points at home.
The Fire got off to a disastrous start, when Teal Bunbury nutmegged Bobby Shuttleworth for the opening goal of the match in the third minute, off an assist by Tommy McNamara. Francisco Calvo botched a clearance that led to the goal.
“That 1-0 is a goal we shouldn’t concede,” Fire Head Coach Raphael Wicky said after the match. “That first ball Francisco has to clear, and then nothing happens there.”
The Fire responded well after the goal, putting several chances on target, before Fabian Herbers scored the equalizer in the 22nd minute.
“I thought it was positive how we responded,” Herbers said after the match. “You get an early goal, and you come back. That shows courage from the team, that we’re motivated, that we want to win these games, and we have the quality to do that.”
New England took the lead early in the second half, when a Bunbury cross floated long and went into the top corner of the net. Shuttleworth couldn’t get to it, and the Revs went up 2-1.
“To concede a goal like that from Teal Bunbury, where he meant to cross the ball and it ends up in the back of the net, yeah, unexplainable at this point,” Herbers said. “To concede a goal like that, it’s always hard to come back.”
Chicago started the match with designated player/striker Robert Berić on the bench, and Elliot Collier in his place. Wicky said it was a matter of squad rotation, especially with Berić still nursing stitches in his head from the previous match. For Collier, who spent last season on loan at Memphis 901 in the USL, it was a chance to show what he can do.
“First start in a couple years,” Collier said after the match. “That’s a great feeling. I’ve been working really hard to make it happen. But we didn’t get the result, so it’s just back to work.”
Despite the loss—Chicago dominated possession, controlling the ball more than 62 percent of the match. The Fire outshot the Revs 17-9, putting six shots on target to New England’s three. Gastón Giménez was particularly strong, taking 96 touches, and completing 76 passes with a 92 percent completion percentage.
In the end, it wasn’t enough for Chicago, and the Fire dropped three points at home in a winnable game.
“We pushed, we pushed, we pushed,” Wicky said. “We had our little moments. But we couldn’t find a solution to actually score. Look, I’m sitting here again, and I have to say the same thing. If we wouldn’t create, if we wouldn’t have a plan. If I didn’t see the guys are actually trying, and actually playing well, I would have to doubt, and I would have to question things. That’s not the case in my eyes. So I will have to say the same thing over—we have to keep working, and believing in what we do.”
With the loss, the Fire fall to 2-6-2 on the season, good for next-to-last in the MLS Eastern Conference. Next up, the Fire host the first place Columbus Crew at Soldier Field on Saturday, Sept. 12. The time of the match recently changed—it’s been moved up to 2:30 p.m. CT, and will be televised nationally on Univision and TUDN.
Chicago Fire FC: GK Shuttleworth, D Sekulić, D Pineda, D Calvo ©, D Navarro, M Frankowski (D Bornstein, 89’), M Giménez, M Medrán (M Gutiérrez, 89’), F Aliseda, F Herbers (F Berić, 59’), F Collier (M Mihailović, 69’)
Subs not used: GK Sparrow, D Omsberg, D Bronico, D Reynolds II, M Azira
Shots: 17 Shots on goal: 6 Fouls: 8 Offsides: 2 Corners: 5 Possession: 62.2%
New England Revolution: GK Turner, D Farrell, D Bye, D Delamea (D Kessler, 46’), D Büttner, M Bou ©, M Polster (M Rowe, 78’), M Fagundez (M Caldwell, 70’), M McNamara (M Penilla, 57’), F Buksa (F Buchanan, 77’), F Bunbury
Subs not used: GK Knighton, D Mancienne, D Jones, F Manneh
Shots: 9 Shots on goal: 3 Fouls: 10 Offsides: 4 Corners: 3 Possession: 37.8%