New England (6-12-5) at Chicago (11-7-5), 8:30 p.m.
Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - Alvaro Fernandez and Sherjill MacDonald
started together for the first time last week, and the early results look good
for the Chicago Fire.
Fernandez and MacDonald, both designated players, were added during the season
and showed the potential to be difference makers over the rest of the year.
"Those two need to be commended because they've come in and done a great job
for us so quickly," Chicago forward Chris Rolfe said. "They're really easy to
play with, both of them know the game so well, and they know their roles."
Chicago (11-7-5) sits fourth in the Eastern Conference, just five points below
first place with one match in hand on Sporting Kansas City, Red Bull New York,
and the Houston Dynamo - the three teams ahead of it in the table.
The Fire host the New England Revolution (6-12-5) on Saturday at Toyota Park.
With Fernandez and MacDonald settling in already, coach Frank Klopas could put
together a run at the summit over the remainder of the season.
Rolfe, another midseason addition, scored twice last week in a 3-1 win against
the Philadelphia Union as the Fire won their second straight match. MacDonald
and Fernandez did not score, but both did their parts.
Chicago, unbeaten in three matches, will be confident against the Revolution,
who are winless in six, but will have to adjust to the loss of Logan Pause due
Pause, a midfielder, suffered broken ribs and had a collapsed lung against the
Union and will be sidelined four to six weeks. He had started all 23 games for
"We're going to miss Logan," Klopas said.
New England has struggled all season, and lost its most recent game 1-0 at the
Montreal Impact. With just a 1-8-2 mark on the road this year, the Revolution
face a tough task in Chicago, where the Fire are 7-2-2 this season.
The Revs did beat Chicago at home in June, when Kelyn Rowe and Benny Feilhaber
scored in a 2-0 victory at Gillette Stadium. But New England was shut out for
the ninth time last week.
New England defender Chris Tierney believed the team was playing well overall,
but has to put it all together.
"Just that final ball is lacking. I think we're getting into decent spots, we
have good spells of possession, but when we get into that advanced third of
the field it's just about putting the ball on the money and committing to
getting runs in the box and we haven't been doing that lately," New England
defender Chris Tierney said.
"We just have to have that full commitment to lay our bodies on the line, make
those runs, and do what it takes to score goals."
New England is tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference, and sits 13 points
out of fifth place and a playoff spot. A loss in Chicago could all but end any
hopes of a late run this season.