Entering the match, the Fire had the best record in the Eastern Conference since the trade for Mike Magee. After falling 2-0 to the New England Revolution on the road, the same is still true, but the club’s playoff chances are a lot cloudier.
The first half saw each side have the upper hand for extended periods of time, and the Fire managed to find both the goalpost and the bar, but were unable to bury a shot into the net. Arévalo Rios made his team debut, but fellow designated player Juan Luis Anangonó was arguably the best player on the pitch throughout the first half of play. Segares earned a yellow card int he thirty-fourth minute just outside the box, but New England was unable to convert the free kick.
Neither team managed to score in the first half, but New England would waste little time in the second. The Fire defense as a whole was pushing forward, and Juan Agudelo took advantage, chipping the ball over Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and into the back of the net. Bakary Soumare nearly made an excellent recovery, clearing the ball away from the net just after it crossed the line. The referees ultimately made the correct call, awarding New England the goal, but the play serves as a prime example of why instant replay technology should be instituted in leagues around the globe. FIFA currently has a protocol for installing such technology, but due to time constraints, Major League Soccer may need to wait a few more seasons.
The Fire responded with a pair of substitutions in the sixty-third and sixty-fourth minutes, bringing both Alex and Quincy Amarikwa into the match in place of Joel Lindpere and Anangonó, respectively. Though Agudelo would leave the match in the sixty-eighth minute as Sene entered and the Fire brought on Paladini for Duka five minutes later, the Fire were unable to find an answer for Agudelo’s goal that would stand as the game-winner. Kelyn Rowe would add to the lead in the first minute of stoppage time, securing the 2-0 victory for the home side.
Due to the emotional turmoil, the Fire will be shorthanded for Friday’s match against Sporting Kansas City. Fire coach Frank Klopas was ejected late in the match, and after a post-match confrontation, both Bakary Soumare and New England’s Sene were handed red cards and one-game suspension.
With the win, the Revolution leapfrogged the Fire into sixth place, and the fifth seed Houston Dynamo lead Seattle 2-0, turning the Fire’s chance to move into a playoff spot into a scenario in which the club will sit five points out should the score hold up.