FOXBOROUGH — Carles Gil recovered from injury to spark a Revolution rally in a 3-3 tie against the Chicago Fire before a crowd of 27,293 at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.
Gil entered in the second half and helped set up Jozy Altidore for an 83rd-minute score as the Revolution (7-3-4, 25 points) snapped a three-game losing streak in all competitions. But the Fire (3-4-7, 16 points) controlled much of the action, holding 2-0 and 3-2 leads, thanks to the playmaking of former Premier League midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Fire opened the scoring as Shaqiri capitalized on a Christian Makoun turnover, finding Georgios Koutsias on a run through the middle. Koutsias split Andrew Farrell and DeJuan Jones, took a touch, and finished from the top of the penalty area in the 10th minute. The Fire upped the lead as Shaqiri and Koutsias combined on a long ball, left back Miguel Angel Navarro’s cross going off Farrell for an own goal in the 22nd minute.
The Revolution’s pressing tactics paid off as Noel Buck took advantage of a turnover to convert a 30-yarder into the upper right corner of the net in the 38th minute. Bobby Wood headed in the Revolution’s second goal off an Emmanuel Boateng corner in the 40th minute, the sequence was set up on a Makoun pass to Boateng on the left wing.
The Fire’s Maren Haile-Selassie broke the deadlock off a Kei Kamara layoff in the 79th minute. Altidore entered as a substitute in the 81st minute, then scored two minutes later off a Gil corner kick, headed on by Dave Romney, his first goal for the Revolution since March 12, 2022.
Gil sustained a thigh injury in the first half of the Revolution’s 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union, but returned to training on Thursday.
Observations from Saturday’s game:
▪ Defining moment: Buck’s goal showed the Revolution could be resourceful enough to contend without Gil. Buck took the initiative, firing away instead of trying to break down the Fire defense. The Revolution had squandered breakaways in the 29th and 32nd minutes, failing to attempt a shot.
▪ Difference-maker: Shaqiri, the highest-paid player in the league ($8.1 million annually), controlled the pace with precision and vision in midfield. Shaqiri combined with Koutsias on the first two goals and his quickly-taken free kick led to the Fire’s third goal. Shaqiri and Gil competed against each other once in the Premier League (Shaqiri’s Stoke City taking a 2-1 win over Aston Villa) and have played to three ties in MLS.
▪ Tactical: The Revolution’s 4-4-2 alignment morphed into a 3-5-2, Jones moving to the right wing, Farrell advancing out of the back. The change helped the Revolution counter Chicago’s left wing threat via Navarro. The Fire provided support for Shaqiri with all-out defending from all positions.
▪ Statistical analysis: The Revolution held the Fire to three shots on goal, Djordje Petrovic making his only save on Kamara in second-half added time. The Revolution committed 14 fouls (to four for the Fire), indicating they were chasing the game at times. Though the Revolution improved their unbeaten streak against the Fire to nine games (3-0-6) since 2019, this result felt like a wasted opportunity for a home win.
▪ Road ahead: The Revolution visit Atlanta United Wednesday and New York City FC next Saturday. The Revolution failed to capitalize on their only home match of the month, falling to 4-0-3 at Gillette this season.
▪ What they said: “I think we played our best soccer in the first half after 30 minutes and there’s no excuse for that. Second half, I thought we played well, conceding a third goal was poor on our part, and coming back after that was kind of incredible. To get a point on a night where we just made too many costly mistakes we should feel fortunate to walk off the field — although on the evening we played all right but just a couple of really lame plays on our part.” – Revolution coach Bruce Arena.
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.