for this game

Fire strengthen playoff chances with win

Oct 7, 2007 - 4:06 AM By Rusty Silber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois (Ticker) - Scoring goals has been the missing link for the Chicago Fire. Fortunately, they scored just enough on Saturday.

Chad Barrett scored in the 60th minute to power the Fire to a 2-1 victory over the visiting New England Revolution at Toyota Park.

Over a stretch that included four straight draws, Chicago (9-10-9) has continued to stay in the playoff race for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Columbus Crew (7-11-10) despite the lack of offense that has resulted in three consecutive one-goal draws.

"There's no way to hide the fact that there's a lot of pressure," Chicago Fire coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "I kept telling the players to have the mental strength of handling the pressure."

Barrett scored the game-winning goal in the 60th minute on a 20-foot blast into the upper corner after Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis had knocked forward a shot from Fire forward Paulo Wanchope.

"Paulo missed a great shot," Barrett said. "The ball rolled right back to me and, if I missed that, I should've been crucified."

The win was quite important to Chicago as the Crew lost to FC Dallas (13-11-4) earlier in the day to move five points ahead of Columbus with two matches left on the schedule. However, the game was of much less significance for New England (14-7-7), which has already clinched a playoff spot.

"Coming back from a one-nil shows a lot of strength with this team," Osorio said.

"It went the way that we thought it would, (the Chicago Fire) needed the win," New England coach Steve Nicol said. "If we could've capitalized on a second goal, then things would've been a lot different. We just got caught at the wrong end of it."

The Revolution scored first in the 24th minute, courtesy of Jeff Larentowicz's 25-yard strike for a 1-0 advantage.

Chicago evened the game at 1-1 before halftime in the 45th minute, when Chris Rolfe struck a 30-yarder from a Chad Barrett service from the right side for his sixth goal of the season.








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