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Soccer Wed Aug 18 2010

Chicago Fire v New England Revolution Liveblog

Happy Wednesday all. Since it's hard for many to trek down I-55 midweek for these 730pm kickoffs, I figured I'd oblige with a liveblog of tonight's action, especially considering the recent hype surrounding the new look Fire.

I'll be back with more closer to kickoff, but for now dig the vid above and enjoy Section 8's memories of this 2008 drubbing of New England.

And, if you're so inclined, email me your favorite picture of Freddie Ljungberg (or whatever else is on your mind): Mine is this one.

6:50 Starting for the Fire (5-5-6, 21pts): Sean Johnson (GK), Dasan Robinson (D), C.J. Brown (D), Wilman Conde (D), Gonzalo Segares (D), Marco Pappa (M), Baggio Husidic (M), Logan Pause (M), Nery Castillo (M/F), Brian Mcbride (C) (F), Freddie Ljungberg (F)

For the Revs (6-9-3, 21 pts): Matt Reis (GK), Kevin Alston (D), Emmanuel Osei (D), Darrius Barnes (D), Cory Gibbs (D), Sainey Nyassi (M), Shalrie Joseph (C) (M), Pat Phelan (M), Chris Tierney (M), Ilija Stolica (F), Marko Perovic (F)

Fire bench: Dykstra, Kinney, Krol, Watson-Siriboe, Banner, Lowry, Carr
Rev bench: Shuttleworth, Sinovic, Griffiths, Schilawski, Smith, Linck, Mansally

The major news for the Fire, then, is that Segares - back from one year in Cyprus - is starting at left back over Krystztof Krol. Also Mike Banner has been replaced by Castillo, who coach Carlos de los Cobos said he didn't start against the Red Bulls last week because of fitness.

7:15 We're a mere quarter hour from kickoff now - it's probably a good time to get some pregame info out there. Toyota Park is filling in slowly, the crowd won't be anywhere near the record breaking 21,868 of last weekend's game against the Red Bulls. Not to worry, though, GroupOn had a deal for it so you can bet a sizable number of twentysomethings will be over at the Party Deck, crushing Miller Lites and Tweeting, or something.

Oh right, the game. The pitch looks, actually, a bit bumpy. Nothing like the terrors of new Wembley, but there are dozens of divots visible at the goal mouths. Judging by his frustrated cleat jabs at the ground during the warm up thus far, it looks like Revs keeper Matt Reis isn't too happy.

7:25 As the players head into the tunnel to change into their cleanest of match time underwear, it's worth revisiting some of the drama that came up this week regarding defender Krol. As we posted earlier:

According to his wife, Patrycja Mikula, Fire player Krzysztof Krol wants out of Chicago. "we had a big talk, neither of us wants to stay in chi, eventually we want to move to Cali cause he also loves it there," she said in a tweet that has since been deleted.

With the Fire barely halfway through the regular season, it remains to be seen whether this is just idle talk from a bored Playboy model (NSFW), or if Krol is making noise for a trade. With his position at left back in question with the return of Gonzalo Segares, Krol's future with the Fire may be at a crossroads.

7:39 Well, the twentysomethings are still crushing Miller Lites, Section 8 is in full voice - it's go time. Great stat: The Fire are 5-0-2 when scoring the first goal and 4-0-2 when leading at the half. On the other hand, they're 0-5-3 when allowing the first goal. The Fire start the game going towards the Party Deck, which is kind of like the hallowed Highbury clock end, only sponsored and filled with delicious, delicious beer.

2 minsFire get a bright start as Freddie beats a man in the box on the goal line. Corner for the Fire. For the record, Castillo is starting wide left for the Fire, a bit different from the central role he was used to in his glory days, so let's see how he adjusts. Freddie starts behind Mcbride, and Pappa is out right with Nyarko still injured. That makes the Fire formation the very hip 4-2-3-1, and I expect them to play just as good as Barcelona, if not better.

3 mins The corner is headed over.

6 mins Freddie and Husidic are pulling the strings for the Fire, but for now it looks like the Revs are happy to sit back and let them come. They haven't had the ball in the Fire half yet.

7 mins After twisting C.J. Brown like some kind of reed, Perovic shoots from some 30 yards. It's tipped over by a surprised Johnson, and the corner comes to nothing. Good move by Perovic, that was.

9 mins Oh my poor, poor fingers. This is end to end stuff early: Perovic was played in by Joseph but Johnson was really quick off his line to deny him, and then on the other hand Pappa played a ball into the Rev box that was this much too high for Castillo, who was wiiide open at the back stick.

12 mins Freddie does that old Walter Payton stuttah and wins a freekick, which he plays with a bit too much loft into the box, and it's cleared. Oh, and Phelan's tackle on Freddie's stuttah got him a yellow card. Hell yeah I just like typing stuttah.

15 minsThese teams DO NOT like each other. Another tough tackle from a New Englander (New Englander? Is that right?) leads to a small scuffle around half field. The Fire take the free kick...

16 mins GOAL! 1-0 New England, Marko Perovic. Conde slipped at the back in otherwise harmless possession - remember the pitch looked shoddy in warmups - and a grateful Perovic took the ball round Johnson and slotted home like it was nothing. Which it wasn't really. That was against the run of play - let's see how the Fire new boys react.

20 mins The Fire respond well as Pappa overhits Castillo again. The stadium is getting more full too, as the sun sets, and besides the goal it's actually quite a beautiful night. Also, Segares has gotten stuck in a few times so far. He looks like he never left.

23 mins Everything the Fire do offensively goes through Freddie. This time he got the ball out wide, took his defender inwards and slotted Husidic in - his cross was deflected out for a corner, which is deflected across to the other side, sent in again, and nothing comes of it.

24 minsJohnson does really well to keep a dangerous straight away free kick out, even after bobbling it. Though the free kick was from a good 40 yards out,could've taken any kind of deflection or bounce.

26 mins Sardonic cheers as the Revs's Gibbs picks up a yellow. They're definitely looking to get physical with the Fire, but they've gotten two cautions in the first 30 mins.

31 mins Castillo's creeped inwards a little bit the past 10 minutes. It's definitely getting into McBride's space, but the Fire's responding by playing some balls over the top into space. It just might work against this Rev offisde trap.

32 mins GOAL! 1-1 Chicago, Baggio Husidic. More scrappy playmaking from Freddie at the corner of the box and some terrible defending by New England ended with the ball squirting right into Husidic standing open some 10 yards from goal. He could do nothing but take the ball, turn, and slot it into the corner - I mean, what else would you expect him to do? Fire are back in it.

37 mins The field is really tearing itself up now, as Joseph commits yet another foul in midfield. The players are slipping and the ball's bouncing around like Blagojevich's head during a press conference.

38 mins Actually, the only thing messier than the field has been some of the tackles. Castillo gets a yellow this time for what looked like an elbow on the far side. There was the usual shoving, shouting, conferencing with the ref-ing, and now everyone's holding hands and sharing their oreos. Great let's play on.

41 mins Another Rev lays on the floor for a while and they get a free kick, which Conde heads clear.

43 mins This time a tackle looked to have done some real damage. Perovic clattered into C.J Brown and immediately called to the Fire sideline for medical attention. Section 8 is cheering his name, but C.J. doesn't look too hot as he's helped off the ground. He's walking fine, if with a little help from the staff, but I'd bet he comes back on.

45 mins Two minutes of extra time, and the near side ref's assistant calls play back after a gorgeous Freddie through ball. Castillo was definitely in on goal, and he looked to be onside. Tough call.

45+ mins C.J. is back on the field, btw, he looks okay.

Aaaaand that'll do it for the first half. Here's another super sexy image of Freddie from his Calvin Klein underwear modeling days. I'm going to get a glass of scotch water. See you in a few.

Some quick halftime thoughts: New England really only had that one chance, but they converted it. They look most dangerous when they commit players forward - a Freddie-led counter attack is a dangerous one - but it's not like the Fire are peppering Matt Reis's goal with shots.

Also, the stadium is quite full. Love that Chicagoans are coming out.

Some halftime stats: 4 shots for each expected, the Revs lead in the fouls committed territory 11-4...3 yellows for NE (Phelan, Gibbs, Perovic)...2 yellows for Chicago (Conde, Castillo).

45 mins Tweep! Peep! Cheeeeep! However you want it, the second half is underway - Fire attacking the Section 8 side. The Party Deck twentysomethings sway in unison.

47 mins Segares finds himself forward and shoots wide after Freddie dribbled into about 41 circles in the Rev's half. It's fun to watch, and it's definitely beneficial, but no one's going to remember Freddie's play if he doesn't get something solid - an assist or goal - out of his hustle. Then again, the hustle is really great.

49 mins As I was saying, Freddie fights for a corner, which turns into a couple Fire shots, but nothing gets all the way to goal.

50 mins As the Revs come forward through Nyassi, and Johnson makes a great save on an absolute blast from Joseph, I should probably add that Castillo was replaced by Mike Banner at halftime. Not a bad second appearance for Castillo - he never quite got the service he deserved.

54 mins I dare say - the Revs are actually passing the ball around and not slide tackling Fire players. They spread it out wide, but the cross is overhit. And now the Fire come forward through Freddie and Pappa, but Banner's cross is pooped on by Pappa. That's right, pooped on. He hit it over.

56 mins More good work by Freddie on the far side wins the Fire a corner, and his service is good, but cleared. The ball is swung back in, and Dasan Robinson is sort of blinded by Conde and boots it over. They were both onside and inside the 6, though. One of them should've scored.

61 mins Some good possession by both teams now. Segares ends a long period of possession for the Fire with a shot low to Reis's left, but the bald Rev collects easily...and promptly kicks it all the way to Fire goalie Johnson.

63 mins The Revs come forward after some Fire midfielders jogged back too slowly, and Stolica takes a slightly less than terrible shot from the corner of the box - it's wide.

65 mins Tonight's attendance: 14,056.

66 mins Pappa gets free from Gibbs on the far side and plays a slow arcing ball into the box. Reis has a wee bit of trouble collecting it, but dribbles it confidently with one hand against the bumpy Toyota Park turf. Now he's getting some medical attention. Really, nothing much is happening. Go get another scotch some popcorn or something.

69 mins Subs! Fire: Carr for McBride. NE: Griffiths for Phelan and Sinovic for Gibbs. Maybe they'll bring some, how do you say, ACTION to this second half.

71 mins (sort of) Kanye West just tweeted: "God is dope yo." I mean, we're all just playing for second place, aren't we.

73 mins Nyassi endeavors to do something now down this near sideline for the Revs, and he wins a corner. That, however, comes to nothing.

75 mins More good work from Nyassi against Segares. I wonder if Segares is feeling it here in his first game back. Nyassi's cross is overhit. Without McBride, the Fire are having some trouble getting the ball forward - Johnson's long kicks are being collected by the Revs with ease.

77 mins That was better. Freddie got free down the left and a fortuitous bounce from Banner's feet, but all he managed was a tepid effort that Reis saved easily.

78 mins As Freddie's been so as the Fire offense. He got into the box and played Carr out wide as Banner sprinted down the other side. Carr's cross was too quick for Banner, who might have just knicked it if he had dove for it. But that's easy to say sitting up here without a post and a goalie's fist waiting to bust my forehead open.

80 mins The fans are getting antsy now, and it should be said that the players are responding with a bit more urgency. Segares is pushed high up on the left side and Husidic/Pause look to be riskily venturing forward too.

82 mins Freddie's ceaseless cutting and twisting at the top of the NE box is just torturous. Finally he's hacked down about 25 yards from goal. It's a great opportunity, but Pappa's shot hits the wall.

84 mins Johnson punches clear an early Revs cross and a NE player is spread out on the ground. Didn't look like there was any contact - is he milking the clock or was he a victim of the Toyota Park pitch?

85 mins That player was goalscorer Perovic, and he's totally fine. I would go with option A above, then.

86 mins GOAL! 2-1 Chicago, Calen Carr. Toyota Park is loud again! I like it better this way. The Revs gave up the at midfield, the ball squirted to Carr, and in a great individual run, he went right at the NE defense, who definitely shouldn't have been backing up so much. Finally he cut in and ripped a shot from about 20 yards and it deflected past a helpless Reis. If the Fire can hold on for 5 minutes or so, the points are theirs.

88 mins A corner for the Revs comes to nothing. Freekick foul Chicago, and wow it's the Fire taking their time. Also, Fire sub: Watson-Siriboe for Pappa.

90 mins Some late drama! Petrovic Stolica charged into the Fire box and was taken down, but no penalty! Corner kick is hit allllll the way for a throw in on the far side.

90+ mins NE is pressing now, sending ball after ball into the Fire box. And across the field, unrelated the the play, Freddie is getting into it with Barnes. A minute later Freddie receives the ball, turns Barnes, and Barnes gets a yellow for some extra curricular stuff. Somehow, Freddie looks classy even when he's mixing it up with someone.

90+mins Any second now...

WHISTLE NOISE! That's it! Full time: Chicago 2 New England 1. Some late heroics, plenty of bad will (which, by the way, is continuing as the players are using the "good game let's handshake it out" time to yell at each other), and, most important, all three points for the Fire.

This was fun! For au revoir, one more photo of sexy Ljungberg.

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Jake / August 18, 2010 7:48 PM

I was disappointed by Freddie's looks. Especially after months of hype. I'd still take Beckham's stubble. Yea I said it.

Josh / August 18, 2010 8:09 PM

We hear a lot about how important the
"designated player" is in MLS--Becks, Henry, Freddie, etc ad nauseum.

It seems that most of the big market teams have them--why don't the Revs? There are never any murmurs about them going after one, either.

I mean, unless you count Taylor Twellman five years ago (I certainly don't)

Josh / August 18, 2010 8:12 PM

When your goalie is your biggest name/most industrious player (ok, tied with Shalrie), you've got problems.

Josh / August 18, 2010 8:33 PM

"Actually, the only thing messier than the field has been some of the tackles"

ACTUALLY, nothing gets messier on the field than lionel messi.

Pete / August 19, 2010 1:47 AM

Messi...heh heh...

Pete / August 19, 2010 1:52 AM

Why the HELL would they start Segares instead of Krol?! If the Fire think that he's better than Krol then he SHOULD leave as soon as he can as they obviously don't know how to evaluate talent!

GUAY / August 19, 2010 5:16 PM

@ Jake - it seems like you have the hots for several of the imported players...are you some kind of obama-type marxist? show your love for home-grown players like pause...AMERRRRICA...if you dont like it here, run off to somewhere like London and the "EPL"

cafe boston / August 30, 2010 7:58 AM

Why does the New England Revolution acadamy program seem like it is just a premier team with a special name. Do they have any intention on developing this into something that can really benifet the team? I would rather spend $1m a year on development programs then getting a DP.

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