Revolution 1, Fire 1May 10, 2009 - 4:10 AM By CHRIS ALTRUDA STATS Editor
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (STATS) - Once again, the Chicago Fire did everything but win the match.
The Fire remained the only unbeaten team in MLS but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday night. It was Chicago's fifth consecutive tie and second straight match it failed to protect a lead at home.
"Teams aren't outplaying us, they came for a draw and got it" said frustrated Fire midfielder John Thorrington. "We're getting punished for the half-chances we allow."
Chicago (2-0-6) had the run of play for most of the match and nearly pulled out the victory, but New England goalkeeper Matt Reis made a diving save on a header from 12 yards by Patrick Nyarko in the closing seconds off a cross by Brandon Prideaux.
Reis' sixth and final save allowed the Revolution (2-2-3) to steal one point after Shalrie Joseph tied the match in the 49th minute. New England avoided its third consecutive loss, but dropped to 0-2-2 in its last four matches.
"For us, it was more about performance," Revolution midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. "We had to make sure it was a 90-minute effort and there was a lot of defending in the second half."
Chicago also missed an opportunity to grab a share of the Eastern Conference lead and remained in third place, two points behind first-place D.C. United. New England moved into fifth, one point ahead defending MLS Cup champion Columbus and New York.
The Fire aggressively pressed for the go-ahead goal in the final 15 minutes as the Revolution sought to preserve the draw, but Thorrington sailed a 12-yard shot over the bar in the 78th minute, and Brian McBride also had a header off a corner kick by Cuauhtemoc Blanco go high in the 85th.
"We moved it well, but they have to finish in the final third and be good defensively in the final third," Fire coach Denis Hamlett said. "Our guys are frustrated. To have the lead and come away with one point is disappointing."
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute. Defender Wilman Conde had a corner kick by Blanco fall to him at the top of the 6-yard box, and Conde quickly beat Reis to the goalkeeper's right for the 600th MLS goal in Fire franchise history, including playoff matches.
Blanco had an opportunity to extend Chicago's lead just two minutes later, but his attempt from 12 yards went high.
New England, which had generated only one scoring chance in the first half, drew even early in the second. Wells Thompson sent a low cross into the middle of the penalty area, where it deflected off Conde's foot right to Joseph on the left side just outside the box.
Joseph, playing forward instead of his customary midfielder's role, quickly settled the ball and ripped a right-footed shot inside the near post past goalkeeper Jon Busch.
"We trained all week with him up front," said Larentowicz. "Shalrie had a lot to handle, it was difficult, but he did a great job."
Joseph's goal ended a 269-minute scoreless drought for New England since he also scored in the 50th minute of a 1-1 tie with D.C. United on April 17.
NEW ENGLAND 1
CHICAGO 1 FINAL
May 9 11:03 PM
- MLS UPDATE
NEW ENGLAND 1
NEW ENGLAND GOAL: Shalrie Joseph in the 49th minute
Revolution 1, Fire 1 2nd - 49'May 9 9:42 PM
NEW ENGLAND 0
CHICAGO 1 HALFTIME
May 9 9:23 PM
- MLS UPDATE
NEW ENGLAND 0
CHICAGO GOAL: Wilman Conde in the 36th minute
Revolution 0, Fire 1 1st - 36'May 9 9:14 PM
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