It may not be time to write off the Fire’s playoff chances but this loss makes the task all the more difficult. With an opportunity to move further away from New England and creep closer to the fifth spot in the East, the Fire delivered a dud that dampens much of the excitement generated by a 7-2-3 record in the 12 matches coming into this one. Frank Klopas incorporated both new Designated Players Juan Luis Anangono and Egidio Arevalo Rios into the line-up with Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko missing but they created little more than a ripple of hope en route to a second loss this season to the Revolution.
The playoff race in the Eastern Conference is close enough to assume that it will come down to the wire and every mistake, goal, missed opportunity, and key play will be magnified with the margin of error being razor thin. The Fire once again broke down as a team at the most inopportune time with Juan Agudelo getting behind the defense after a throw in to give New England the lead. With only eleven games remaining there is no more room for error. Time is running out and the road doesn’t get any easier with Sporting Kansas City, Houston, and a trip to Seattle coming up in that order.
The Fire have not only never beaten Seattle but they’re now sporting an inexplicably bad record of 0-9-2 on turf in their last eleven games on the fake stuff.
GK Sean Johnson (6) – Credited with 6 saves on the night but the Revolution weren’t exactly peppering the goal with great opportunities. Victimized by Agudelo’s chip on the first goal and white flag defending on the second.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) – Segares picked up a yellow card for a foul on Agudelo in the 36th that set up a free kick opportunity in a dangerous area. Lost a battle to Fagundez in the 77th that resulted in a shot on goal.
D Bakary Soumare (5) – A strong first half marred by the events of the second half and the conclusion of the match. Started an attack which resulted in a Revolution throw-in deep in their own defensive end in the 53rd. Soumare was the only defender who raced back to get into position to defend but Agudelo’s chip crossed the line before he could clear it. Was shown a red card at the conclusion of the match for a senseless altercation with the New England trainer. He will miss the Sporting KC match on Friday.
D Austin Berry (4) – Like Soumare, he had a strong first half which was negated by failing to get back into position to adequately defend Agudelo’s eventual goal scoring play. Caught ball watching as the Fire pushed for the equalizer and New England put the game away with a second goal.
D Jalil Anibaba (4) – The entire back line can be taken to task for both New England scores.
M Jeff Larentowicz (5) – Decent defensive effort but the Fire have zero creativity or offensive push from the middle of the pitch. An overall passing accuracy of 71% is just too low, especially when the other side is completing 82% and holding the ball for most of the match.
M Egidio Arevalo Rios (5) – Most observers were looking for the box-to-box game that was billed coming into the match but he spent the majority of the match in front of the defenders as Larentowicz pushed up higher. Kept the ball moving when it was at his feet but he was largely invisible as the destroyer while New England won the lion’s share of the possession.
M Dilly Duka (4) – Two nice sequences with Magee early led to chances but his second half produced a flurry of turnovers and his bad miss of a pass in the 53rd led directly to the throw-in resulting in Agudelo’s goal. The Fire needed more from Duka with Nyarko out and they didn’t get it.
M Joel Lindpere (4) – Ineffective and silent for most of the night. If he’s not serving a cross into the box he’s not doing much else.
F Mike Magee (5) – Hit the post in the 18th and forced Reis into a save in the 27th. Almost found Duka at the far post in the 70th. It may be unrealistic to expect Magee to find some magic in every match and playing with Anangono as the lead forward pulled him too far away from the goal where he is most effective.
F Juan Luis Anangono (5) – His deflected shot led to Magee’s post clanger and he managed to hit the woodwork himself in the 41st. On a night when attacking DP’s in MLS made huge impacts Anangono showed he’s still got some work to do.
M Alex (5) – Subbed in for Lindpere in the 63rd but didn’t get much going either.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) – Came in for Anangono in the 63rd and started the sequence which led to the Fire’s last good chance in the 70th minute. Actually it didn’t even get to the point of being a chance as Magee’s pass missed Duka at the far post.
M Daniel Paladini (5) – Subbed in for Duka in the 73rd but New England had the lead and shut down any chance of a game tying sequence.