FOXBORO, Mass. -- Juan Agudelo scored in his return to the New England Revolution after missing eight games with a knee injury to help lead the team to a crucial 2-0 win over the rival Chicago Fire in MLS action at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
Agudelo didn't take long to shake off the rust when he netted his sixth goal of the season in the 53rd minute. Kelyn Rowe later put the game on ice when he scored in the 91st minute.
"Juan is a really good presence up there," Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. "He's not afraid to receive it and when he receives it he's actually always dangerous as he holds it."
With the win, the Revolution move to 9-9-6 and leapfrog the Fire into sixth place with 33 points, just three points behind the Houston Dynamo for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The loss puts Chicago in seventh place at 9-10-4 with 31 points.
The goal by Agudelo was set up off a beautiful feed from Chris Tierney. He played a long ball over the top to Agudelo, who let the ball bounce once in the box before flicking it over charging Chicago goalie Sean Johnson (6 saves) with the back of his right heel for the score. A Fire defender nearly cleared the ball out of the net before it crossed the line, but he wasn t in time.
"The ball slowed down a little bit," Agudelo said about his decision to go with the flick. "It was just instinct. I don t know why, maybe a little South American swag."
Rowe touched in his goal off a rebound by a shot from Saer Sene just minutes after missing an open net. It was his third goal of the season.
Revolution keeper Matt Reis, who was also making his return to the lineup for the first time since March 23rd, was solid in net securing the shutout with three saves.
He was tested a lot in the first half by the Fire and was very active off his line, challenging the likes of Chicago midfielder Juan Luis Anangono.
It was a much welcomed return to the lineup for Agudelo because the Revolution had been shut out in two straight games. The skilled Colombian forward was crafty all night creating chances, including a golden one in the 64th minute when he set up Rowe in the box. Rowe fired a shot on net that Johnson had to make a diving save on.
The New England offense moved the ball well with a passing accuracy of 82.1 percent while carrying play for most of the game. Agudelo was the impetus for a lot of that as he distributed the ball well and was dangerous with it in on his foot.
The loss snaps a four-game unbeaten streak for the Fire. They got their best chance in the 18th minute when Mike Magee rang a shot off the post. The rebound was put back on net by another Chicago player but that shot was smothered by Reis.
New England did a good job containing Magee, who leads the Fire with 14 goals. Focusing on him was a big concern for the Revolution.
"That s what Mike Magee has been doing," Heaps said. "He's lethal when he gets a yard of space and that s hard to defend."
Another player like that is Charlie Davies, who made his Revolution debut when he came on in the 78th minute. The former National Team striker is on loan from Randers FC after being acquired via trade with D.C. United last week.
The native of Manchester, N.H., had one good opportunity almost immediately upon entering the game, but came up empty and is still trying to fit in with his new club.
"This is a team where I will really be put in a position to succeed," said Davies, who was involved in a serious car accident in 2009 that sidetracked his career. "The midfielders create a lot of space for the forwards and provide great chances and great service."