The Chicago Fire’s recent home woes came to end Wednesday night, defeating arch rival New England Revolution 2-1 in dramatic fashion at Toyota Park. It was the first home victory for the Men in Red since a 2-1 decision over the Philadelphia Union on June 5.
Calen Carr, playing in his first match since a tilt against the Revolution in October of last year, provided the late heroics for the Fire, catching keeper Matt Reis off guard in the 85th minute for the game-winner. The 27-year old took a pass from Freddie Ljungberg, dribbled around one defender on the left side and pushed a ball through the legs of another from 18 yards out. The ball, which wasn’t kicked terribly hard, seemed to surprise Reis on the near post for the score.
New England opened up the scoring in the 16th minute after a rare miscue from defender Wilman Conde. The Columbian who is widely considered one of the best center backs in the league, took a bad touch and fell to the ground when attempting to recover. Marko Perovic took control, dribbled around keeper Sean Johnson, and put it into the back of the net from the left side.
The tying goal was brought on by Baggio Husidic in the 32nd minute. A Brian McBride pass bounced off a defender to land at the feet of the former Illinois-Chicago standout, who put on a clinical finish from six yards out for his fourth score of the season and first since June 5.
Despite not scoring on the night, Freddie Ljungberg put on what may have been his best performance of the season. The Swede was a constant threat and a real problem for the New England defense, which was playing much of the evening on their heels.
The match degenerated into a physical affair fitting of the rivalry tag. The chippy play saw 21 fouls called, 18 of which on New England. The Revs were also booked for five yellows to Chicago’s two. However, Chicago wasn’t punished for the most nefarious action on the pitch, which had newcomer Nery Castillo elbowing the head of defender Kevin Alston towards the end of the first half.
The Fire will next match-up with the Dynamo in Houston on Saturday evening.