FOXBOROUGH — While many will — and rightly so — point to five missed Revolution chances to put Chicago away as a massive culprit in Saturday’s 1-1 draw, it was a series of defensive errors which lead to the draw in the first place.
New England had a 1-0 lead — and if the Revs could have finished, they should have had a 2-0 and even a 3-0 lead in the minutes before the Fire tied it — when a ball from the midfield went to the far corner in the Banner End. Chicago’s Djordje Mihailovic went to chase it down, keeping it in play with a touch right at the end line.
Chasing him down was Cristian Penilla.
But as we saw, Penilla didn’t fully close down on the Floridian, giving him time and space on the ball. With that touch to keep it in, Penilla pulled up when he had some four yards or thereabouts to go in order to properly close down.
That gave Mihailovic plenty of time to send in a cross toward the heart of the penalty area.
Three Fire players — including Jonathan Bornstein, the goal scorer — had parked themselves to the north of the penalty spot, when Mihailovic made his move, and Bornstein wheeled between Brandon Bye and Andrew Farrell.
“We didn’t close it down enough,” Farrell said. “Mihailovic had a lot of time to cross the ball. I thought Brandon was going to head it, so it threw me off, but if I were tighter (to Bornstein), I think I would have made it more difficult for him.”
Once Bornstein left his feet, the flick off his noggin was true. Revs goalkeeper Brad Knighton was slightly flat-footed on that, and he reacted too late to make a stop.
In all, the sequence took 10 seconds to finish.
Four minutes later, Chicago almost had a second as a clumsy touch by Penilla, in front of a near-statue wearing Wilfried Zahibo‘s jersey, led to a counterattacking opportunity. A through ball to Przemyslaw Frankowski saw the Polish midfielder split both Henry Kessler and DeJuan Jones.
But Knighton came off his line to deny him.