After missing out on a pair of chances over the past two weekends, the New England Revolution have another opportunity to clinch a postseason berth.
That would require them earning a rare road win against the reeling Chicago Fire.
Needing either a victory or a draw to punch their ticket, the Revolution seek just their second win in nine years at Chicago on Saturday night, while the Fire will try to avoid the longest skid in franchise history.
After winning six in a row, New England lost 3-0 at Montreal on Sept. 19 and settled for a 1-all draw against Philadelphia last Saturday with a chance to qualify for the playoffs for a third straight season.
The Revolution finished with their most shots on goal (11) since April 25, but Lee Nguyen’s penalty kick accounted for the only score against Union goalie Andre Blake, who had a career-high 10 saves.
"I think part of this games requires a little bit of luck and inches can be the difference," forward Juan Agudelo said. "We just have to keep creating chances and realize that it’s a good thing."
New England (13-10-8), one point back of the Eastern Conference lead, will try to break through against a banged-up Chicago side that has allowed 13 goals during its five-game losing streak. Four of those matches have been on the road, however, and the Fire are 10-7-1 at home across all competitions.
They’re looking to avoid their first ever six-game slide after forward Gilberto had his first career two-goal performance in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Toronto.
First-year midfielder David Accam has a team-high nine goals on the season, scoring three times over his last five matches.
Playing its third match under interim coach Brian Bliss, league-worst Chicago (7-18-6) is dealing with some key injuries on the defense. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson and centerback Eric Gehrig are sidelined for the rest of the season, while defender Ty Harden isn’t likely to play due to a groin injury.
"(The guys are) trying and looking to do the things we’re asking them to do," Bliss told the team’s official website. "I think over the last two to three training sessions that’s getting better each time, the spirit is still good despite the record, so I can’t complain."
Diego Fagundez and Charlie Davies scored in New England’s 2-0 home win over the Fire on June 13 before the clubs played to a 2-all draw at Toyota Park on July 25. Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe scored for the Revolution in that contest, while Shaun Maloney and Razvan Cocis had Chicago’s goals.
New England has had all kinds of trouble at Chicago over the years, getting outscored 27-12 while going 1-10-3 there since a 1-0 loss in the East semifinals on Oct. 22, 2006.
"It’s going to be a tough one, we know," Fagundez said. "But I think if we do what we’ve been doing with fixing (our mistakes), we can definitely get the results and get that spot in the playoffs."