The New England Revolution have flown out to Bridgeview, Illinois to take on the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday night. The Revolution are in the midst of a six-game winless streak, including three straight losses that have them sitting tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Conversely, the Fire are unbeaten in their last three matches, including a 3-1 beating on Philadelphia in Philadelphia last weekend.
Taking a trip into hostile territory - Toyota Park is traditionally a horrendous place for the Revs to play - and expecting to win may prove to be a step too far. However, given the squad's recent troubles, New England simply has to find a way to get a result. Offensively, that will require better play from the forwards, who have failed to finish any chances sent their way. Saer Sene and Jerry Bengtson will probably be leading the line, and will be expected to make a mark on the scoresheet. Fans and pundits have been calling for a switch back to the 4-4-2, and this might be the game to do it.
Defensively, New England just has to hold on. The Fire's attack has rounded into form in the last month or so, and the additions of Chris Rolfe, Sherjill MacDonald, and Alvaro Fernandez augment an already potent team featuring the likes of Marco Pappa, Dominic Oduro, Patrick Nyarko, and Sebastian Grazzini. The back line needs to hold firm and strong, and their positioning has to be perfect; Nyarko and Oduro especially have the kind of pace to punish teams for screwing up.
Darrius Barnes is probable for this match with a right ankle sprain. Blair Gavin, Alec Purdie, and Bobby Shuttleworth are all listed as out, meaning that Gavin still has yet to make his first appearances with the Revs since coming over in the Shalrie Joseph trade.
The Revs are 14-18-3 overall against the Fire since Chicago joined the league as an expansion club in 1998. The worst of that comes away from home; New England is 4-10-6 against the Fire when not in Foxboro. Compounding that, the Revs are 0-5-1 at Toyota Park since it opened.
The match will be televised live on CSN starting at 8:30 PM EST. 98.5 The Sports Hub will have the radio call.
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