The New England Revolution have let mistakes creep into their game and punish them again on Saturday night as they prepare to take the pitch in the second half against the Chicago Fire trailing 2-1. The Revolution did some good things in the first half, but defensive errors have again proven to be their undoing.
Chicago was off to a dream start in the fourth minute when A.J. Soares took down Chris Rolfe in the box to concede a penalty. Rolfe converted it himself to put the Fire in the lead. The error really began, however, just before that, when Clyde Simms lost the run of Rolfe into the box and left him free to receive the ball, stranding Soares.
New England fought back in the 11th minute with a scrappy goal from Fernando Cardenas. The Colombian celebrated his sixth start of the season - and first in well over a month - by bundling home a deflection after a Saer Sene cross.
Once again, though, mistakes hurt the Revolution as Chicago found a way to take the lead. The Fire earned an attacking throw-in at 25 minutes, and the Revs inexplicably shut off. While most of the New England defense was walking around and paying no attention to the ball, Patrick Nyarko made a slashing run into the box and beat Kevin Alston to the throw-in before delivering a cross to the head of Sherjill MacDonald, who was only loosely marked by Soares. The Revs have talked about the issues they've had with staying focused for a full 90 minutes, and that goal was an example of the problem.
Prior to the second goal, it did look as though the Revs were beginning to control the play. The midfield saw a lot of the ball, but the Revs seemed to have issues finding the final ball. Stephen McCarthy nearly had a goal off a free kick in the 23rd minute, but his header was wide.
For the second half, New England has some positives to build on. They had the better of the possession in the first half with 56%, and if they can continue to win that battle, they will put themselves in good positions to get back into the match. Most importantly, here, the Revs need to stay focused defensively. If they give up another goal, they're as good as dead. Also, Chicago has been dominant in the air since their second goal, so the Revs need to be careful about conceding corners or free kicks.
Benny Feilhaber has come on in place of Lee Nguyen, and with Jerry Bengtson on the bench, Jay Heaps has some attacking options at his disposal to ignite the offense. New England needs to become more incisive in the final third both with their runs and with their passes to have any hope of creating decent chances.