The fifth consecutive playoff meeting between New England and Chicago plays out its second leg at Toyota Park, with the winner set to host Real Salt
Lake next week in the conference final. SATURDAY
CHICAGO vs. NEW ENGLAND (aggregate: 1-2), 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports
Backline issues plague the Fire, which took a 1-0 lead at Gillette Stadium with an early goal in the first leg but seldom threatened after the first 25 minutes and lost,
2-1. Left back Gonzalo Segares
aggravated a knee injury after coming on as a sub; central defender Wilman Conde
has been disagnosed with a sciatic nerve problem
and his status, too, isn't clear.
Fire midfielder John Thorringto
n, whose range and drive in midfield has been absent for two months as he recovers from sports
hernia surgery, went through a full training session Wednesday and should make the subs' bench, at least.
The Revs can prevail by playing tough 'D' and hitting balls upfield for
and Kenny Mansally
to turn into chances, and maybe aim high balls for Edgaras Jankauskas
, if he's recovered from the flu. Revs coach
has played this game many times before and even though Chicago got the best of New England in last year's playoffs, the Revs may be able to contain Marco
Pappa, Chris Rolfe
and Cuauhtemoc Blanco
, yet must also be wary of Brian McBride
on set plays and crosses into the box.
home record (5-4-6) during the regular season shouldn't be factor in this situation but whatever advantage its players can draw from the home crowd and a favorable, i.e., grass surface must be
exploited. Its 16 goals at home is the lowest total among the eight playoff teams, and its muddled defensive situation probably means one goal won't be enough. Prediction:
Fire 1, Revs 1. (Revs advance) RIDGE MAHONEY'S playoff prediction: