Incredibly, the Fire have mangled two stoppage time penalty kick attempts in each of the last two home games. The result of those two misses are two frustrating draws and four dropped points at home against Eastern Conference opponents.
The numbers are similar to the slanted advantages of last week. Possession was 52-48 to the Fire (it was 65-35 at the half), shots attempted were in favor of the Fire by a 17-4 margin, passing was at 75%, and clear cut chances were heavily in the home team's favor. Yet somehow they managed to tie Colorado's MLS record for consecutive draws with six. They're well on their way to challenging their own MLS record of 16 in a season.
This game can be dissected in many ways. Questionable calls will be argued. Decisions will be questioned. Missed chances will be looked back on with regret. One thing is certain. The Fire just haven't been good enough through seven games to win consistently.
What they have been is just good enough to draw in agonizing fashion.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Only faced four attempts on goal and registered two saves. Wasn't required to do much but his distribution was a touch better. The PK was New England's best chance.
D Greg Cochrane (6) - Sene had nothing going on from the Revolution's right side. Only real negative was getting beat by Bunbury on one play in the 87th, solid otherwise.
D Bakary Soumare (6) - New England had nothing going on up the middle. Soumare even got involved offensively, earning a corner kick with an impressive one time side volley in the 79th. A few bad passes mixed in.
D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (6) - Bunbury and the New England attackers were seldom heard from or seen in dangerous positions. Soumare/Hurtado combination played a very good game.
D Lovel Palmer (5) - Had some issues with Alston getting behind him in the first half. One 40 yard blast on goal in the 53rd was struck well high of the target. Fagundez was relatively invisible however.
M Harry Shipp (6) - A fantastic pass to Amarikwa in the 16th showed his remarkable vision and ability to produce chances. He also dribbled through the defense in creating another chance that probably should have put the Fire up 2-0 in the 27th.
M Jeff Larentowicz (6) - The Fire bossed the midfield and won the possession battle (52-48) for most of the match. Larentowicz had a shot blocked in the 27th that resulted in a corner kick and his rebound attempt of Anangono's pk was blocked. Started the play that led to the Fire's goal with a take away on Fagundez. Larentowicz said after the game that Anangono wanted to take the kick but it's up to him as the captain to call him off. Check out video of his comments here. "Juan steps up and grabs the ball and that's just what happened," said Larentowicz. "As captain and as the one who's made a penalty this year, I should take the ball and take the penalty. That's on me, not Juan."
M Alex (6) - Active in combination before leaving in the 38th with an apparent hamstring injury.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Tormented Revolution defenders throughout the entire match. His shot in the 27th was saved but could have been a second score. Crosses were dangerous and earned several corner kicks. The one downside was the unfortunate inadvertent contact against Alston in the 30th which referee Sorin Stoica felt was worthy of a penalty kick.
F Mike Magee (5) - Not as involved as he should have been with the Fire controlling large portions of this match. Did not register a shot on goal and only had 59 touches. Hit the post on the sequence leading to the PK.
F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - Scored a quality goal displaying strength and speed to give the Fire the lead and continued his high work rate to create another chance or two. His day was marred by two controversial yellow cards. The first was issued for diving. There was contact on the play but there was also some embellishment. The second was issued for a foul that looked worse than it was. There may have in fact been little or no contact but coming in aggressively with a high boot will always draw the referee's attention. Amarikwa is hoping the red card is rescinded allowing him to play in the next match.
M Matt Watson (5) - Honest work as usual but the Fire lose a bit offensively when he replaces Alex on the pitch in the middle.
M Victor Pineda (6) - Came into the match late for Nyarko and his shot led to the penalty kick. Alston blocked the rebound chance with his arm leading to a red card and a penalty opportunity. Pineda was inches away from being the hero.
F Juan Luis Anangono (4) - Entered the match in the 70th minute for Shipp. Largely silent for 20 minutes before his rebound attempt from Magee's shot was cleared off the line by Alston. His penalty kick attempt was horribly and weakly taken. Anangono said after the match that the decision to take it was his.
A bye week, a couple of reserve matches, and a lot of uncomfortable stewing before Real Salt Lake comes to Toyota Park on May 3. RSL defeated Portland 1-0.