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Revolution’s keys to victory over the Fire

The Revolution have gone 6-1-6 since Bruce Arena took over as coach. But over their last three matches, they are winless, with two draws and a loss.

The performances have been impacted by injuries and suspensions on the back line. But with every player healthy, the Revolution will look to get back to winning ways when they host the Chicago Fire Saturday.

New England has struggled against Chicago over the last few seasons, going winless in seven straight meetings. That includes a May matchup in which the Revolution were handed a 5-0 thumping at Chicago in the final game before Brad Friedel was fired as coach.


With a fresh outlook and new determination, the Revolution enter the home stretch and the playoff push in a season that looked lost the last time they played Chicago. Now just 2 points ahead of the Fire in the standings, here’s how the Revolution can widen the gap.

Watch the overlap

Chicago has been deploying an overlap that has worked wonders in increasing the number of scoring chances. Przemyslaw Frankowski has been used out wide, his service and crossing technique paramount in generating offense.

In a recent victory over Philadelphia, Frankowski provided an assist on the opening goal and service on another chance that C.J. Sapong pinged off the crossbar. The Revolution will need to defend the flanks, as the Fire have the strike force capable of tearing through defenses.

“They’ve got a lot of guys who can hurt us,” said Revolution defender Andrew Farrell. “Their record doesn’t tell the full story.”

Let’s be clear

Despite winning three of the last four, Chicago has struggled clearing chances in the middle of the box.

Most of this comes from defenders caught flat-footed or ball-watching and opponents capitalizing with short touch passes or through balls between the center backs.

The Revolution have had success with this with Carles Gil as the point man in the middle and Teal Bunbury and Gustavo Bou making opposing runs on either side of the ball.


No place like home

The Revolution play four of their final eight games at Gillette Stadium, including a pair over the next two weekends. Now is as critical a time as ever to get results at home, especially with the Fire coming in at 1-9-3 on the road.

New England has endured its fair share of struggles at home this season, mostly early. Those dropped points have placed a larger emphasis on winning the final four games at Gillette Stadium.

“We love playing at home,” said Bunbury. “These are 3-point games. We need to win both those games.”

Revolution vs. Fire

■  When, where: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Gillette Stadium, Foxborough.

■  TV, radio: NBCSB, WBZ-FM (98.5).

■  Coaches: Revolution — Bruce Arena; Fire — Veljko Paunovic.

■   Formations: Revolution — 4-2-3-1; Fire — 4-3-3.

■   Goalkeepers: Revolution — Matt Turner; Fire — Kenneth Kronholm/David Ousted.

■   Referee: Alex Chilowicz.

■  Out: Revolution — none; Fire — M Fabian Herbers (shoulder).

■  Miscellany: Chicago F Nemanja Nikolic became the 67th player in MLS history to reach the 50-goal plateau with his 10th career multi-goal game last weekend . . . Chicago is 5-0-2 against the Revolution in MLS play since July 23, 2016 . . . New England M Carles Gil has 5 goals and 7 assists over his last eight games.

Dan Shulman can be reached at; follow him on Twitter @DanielRShulman.