for this game

Fire, Revolution play to scoreless draw

Oct 31, 2008 - 3:35 AM FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Goalkeeper Matt Reis finished with five saves as the third-seeded New England Revolution played to a 0-0 draw with the second-seeded Chicago Fire in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Thursday.

Jon Busch made four saves for Chicago, which will host the pivotal second leg of the home-and-home, aggregate-goal series on November 6.

"We are glad to be going home and use the home field to our advantage," Fire coach Denis Hamlett said. "That is why we fought so hard during the year to finish in second place. We need to get back home and take care of business."

"We knew this was going to be a tough, physical game," Busch said. "I am happy with our defensive effort tonight. All of the guys played really well. We wanted to have a clean sheet tonight after not having one for a while - and we did that tonight."

The Revolution were playing without injured captain Steve Ralston (broken leg) and forward Taylor Twellman (concussion-like symptoms), while midfielder Khano Smith was suspended two matches by the league for what it called "an egregious challenge" on Kansas City Wizards forward Herculez Gomez last weekend.

"It's the playoffs, I hope guys step up," Reis said. "We got to play our best otherwise it's going to be an early exit. Like I said, (Revolution coach Steve Nicol) brought us in, we have a game plan going, and we followed it and we really did good job out there."

"We knew that they were going to put a competitive team on the field," Hamlett said. "They are still the defending Eastern Conference champions. We knew that this was going to be a hard game. We didn't come in here thinking that with missing all these guys that it was going to be an easy game, because if we did that, we would have basically just set ourselves up for failure."

The tightly contested draw was a far different result from the three regular-season meetings between the teams. The Fire notched the victory in all three matches, outscoring the Revolution, 9-1 in the process.

New England, which is 9-0-5 in its last 14 postseason contests at Gillette Stadium, has ousted Chicago from the postseason each of the last three years - including twice in the conference championship. The sides have met in the playoffs six times in seven seasons.

The Fire nearly opened the scoring in the 76th minute, but veteran striker Brian McBride was ruled offside prior to heading a cross from Justin Mapp past Reis and into the net.

"I didn't think I was, but I was told after the game I was by a head," McBride said.

"We defended well. They are dangerous in and around the box," Nicol said. "They have some guile with Blanco and Mapp. That was one thing we were missing tonight, just a wee bit of guile in the final front."

Five yellow cards were distributed in this one. Midfielders Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Logan Pause and defender Bakary Soumare were carded for Chicago, while forward Kenny Mansally and midfielder Mauricio Castro were also issued yellow cards.


    Oct 30 9:56 PM
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    Oct 30 8:51 PM