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Saturday, September 14, 2013
Revs blow lead twice, fall to Fire

By Brian O'Connell, Special to

Second-half substitute Alex scored late to knock the New England Revolution (10-11-7, 37 points) out of fifth place as they suffered a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Fire (11-11-6, 39 points) at Toyota Park on Saturday.

Alex scored in the 86th minute when he grabbed an attempted Jose Goncalves clearance and ripped a shot from outside the box to score the winner.

The Revolution built an early lead when Kelyn Rowe scored from 25 yards in the ninth minute before Juan Luis Anangono equalized in the 30th minute. Saer Sene put the guests back on top right before the interval with a 45+1 minute strike, but the Fire claimed another equalizer when Mike Magee scored in the 55th minute.

With the loss, the Revolution extended their winless streak to three (0-2-1) and saw the Fire, who snapped their three-game winless streak (0-1-2), seize the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. With Houston beating Philadelphia earlier in the evening, the Revolution sank to seventh place.

What it means: The road to the postseason just got that much more difficult for the Revolution. After losing to Montreal at home on Sunday, the Revolution needed nothing less than three points in Chicago. They got off on the right foot when Rowe scored early, and even bounced back after Anangono’s 30th-minute goal to reclaim the lead going into the half. But the reliable defense that blanked the Fire in their previous two meetings was nowhere to be seen, as Magee and Alex steered the Fire to an important victory. If the Revolution hope to make it to the postseason, they’re going to need the same record-setting defense seen earlier this season return post haste.

Stat of the game: Anangono’s strike at the half-hour mark was the first goal the Fire had scored on the Revolution since Aug. 18, 2012, totaling a span of 364 minutes.

Agudelo’s back: Juan Agudelo, who missed last week’s game with an injured hamstring, came on in the 71st minute for Dimitry Imbongo. He fired two shots, both of which were blocked by Fire defenders inside the box.

Shuttleworth gets start in place of suspended Reis: Bobby Shuttleworth got the start between the sticks with Matt Reis serving his red-card suspension on Saturday. Shuttleworth entered the match with nine clean sheets in 22 games this season, but hadn’t blanked the opposition since a 2-0 win at Columbus on July 20.

McCarthy reclaims his center back spot: Reigning Revolution defender of the year Stephen McCarthy returned to the lineup for after AJ Soares had started alongside center back Jose Goncalves for the past four games. Soares, who was listed as questionable with an ankle sprain on the team’s injury report, was available off the bench.

Sene returns to the lineup: After leaving his midfield unchanged for the previous four games, Jay Heaps called upon Saer Sene, last year’s leading scorer, to man the right midfield spot in place of Chad Barrett. The start was Sene’s first since a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 10. His 45+1 minute goal was his fourth of the season, and his first since July 13.

Back home next weekend: The Revolution head back to Gillette Stadium for a two-game homestand that kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 21 when they host last-place D.C. United. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.