The Fire earned a badly needed three points against a New England side that made things difficult after scoring the first goal of the match as a result of a giveaway by Wilman Conde. Calen Carr marked his return to game action by celebrating the winning goal in the 85th minute.
The Fire was cohesive and enjoyed impressive amounts of possesion in the first half despite coming out of the half tied at 1. New England's Marco Perovic was the most dangerous player for the opposition, sending a dangerous 40 yard shot towards goal that was deflected away by Sean Johnson and picking Conde's pocket in 16th minute. It was difficult to tell if the less than stellar field conditions played a role in Conde's gaffe but players were slipping regularly throughout the match and large chunks of grass and dirt remained on the surface for Toyota Park's ground crew to repair.
The second half saw more possesion but not as many dangerous chances. The Fire held New England in check defensively as well, allowing only one shot on goal in the second half. The Revs battle and always provide a challenge but the Fire were better tonight and deserved the three points despite New England's protests for foul calls near the end of the match.
GK Sean Johnson (7) - Not called on to bail out the team this time but was still strong in goal. A few nice saves and control of the area continue to cement his position as the #1 keeper. Did bobble one bad hop in the first half but it was inconsequential.
D Dasan Robinson (6) - Defended well and supported the attack, particularly in the first half.
D Wilman Conde (5) - Despite the horrific give away resulting in New England's goal he was still present defensively and started coming forward more late in the match trying to push the attack.
D CJ Brown (6) - Perovic was dangerous but Stolica was fairly invisible.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) - Looks like he never left. Solid as always and made a few runs in support that went unnoticed by Fire wingers. Nyassi didn't get much done on his side.
M Logan Pause (6) - Continues to play a solid role as the defensive midfielder. Shalrie Joseph was seldom seen in the New England attack.
M Baggio Husidic (6) - Scored the Fire's first goal after some nifty passing in tight quarters by Ljungberg and McBride found Husidic alone in front of the Revs net. Husidic seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
M Marco Pappa (5) - Another relatively quiet night for Pappa. He missed seeing McBride in front of the net after a nice build up in the 54th minute. A well placed cross would have resulted in an excellent opportunity for the open striker.
M Nery Castillo (5) - Seems to still be a step off while he struggles to gain full fitness. Started the match at left mid and was subbed out at half time.
M/F Freddie Ljungberg (7) - His energy and quality has revitalized the team on the field and in the locker room. If Ljungberg continues this run of form with Nyarko returning and Castillo rounding into shape the Fire will be a team to contend with.
F Brian McBride (6) - His chemistry with Ljungberg is evident. Didn't get on the scoreboard but he did provide the ball that ended up at Husidic's feet for the first goal. Subbed out in the 69th minute for Carr.
M Mike Banner (5) - Came on after the half for Castillo but still seems to miss opportunities despite his speed and hustle. Shot weakly in the 63rd minute instead of passing to a streaking Segares for a chance in the area.
F Calen Carr (7) - Carr came on for McBride and provided two quality scoring chances. His 78th minute cross to Mike Banner just missed connecting. Carr did very well to free himself and get off a shot that resulted in the match winner. He may have been aided by New England defenders screening Matt Reis from a look at the ball until it was too late but he did get just enough on the strike to get it past the Revs netminder.
D Kwame Watson-Siriboe (NR) - Came on in the 89th minute for Pappa.
Fire Post Game
You can listen to Carlos De Los Cobos, Freddie Ljungberg, and Calen Carr answer questions after the match by clicking on the Fire Confidential podcast.
The Fire travel to Houston on Saturday night where an opportunity to pick up more ground presents itself against a struggling side.