FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Revolution finally found a way to beat their oldest rivals Saturday night.
"I thought it was a good game from us," Revs coach Jay Heaps said after his team ended a 10-game MLS winless streak against Chicago with a 2-0 win over the Fire. "I thought from the opening whistle we did possess it well.
"It's like ebbs and flows. Chicago's a good team and they do well on the road, so we knew they were going to come at us and they did. They came in waves and numbers; you could see they were waiting to counter and when they countered it was difficult to defend.
"When you're trying to win the game you have to take those chances and I thought we took our chances well and our backline did an excellent job of keeping them out."
Scoring twice within five minutes in the second half and getting shutout goalkeeping from Matt Reis and a strong defensive effort, the Revolution beat the Fire for the first time in league play since May 6, 2007. The Revs did defeat Chicago in the 2009 SuperLiga competition.
The first half of Saturday night's game, the final match for both before a two-week international break, was played in windswept rain; but the conditions had improved when Heaps sent midfielder Kelyn Rowe into the game in the second half and it was instant offense by Rowe that led to all the offense New England needed.
Rowe, who had a breakaway chance just after entering the game, scored his second goal of the season from directly in front of Sean Johnson in the 69th minute; and then had a hand in Benny Feilhaber's first goal of the year, in the 73rd minute. Feilhaber assisted on the Rowe goal.
Reis registered his second shutout of the season. He had two shots against him hit posts, but he appeared to be there for both.
"It's a bit disappointing, but that's soccer," said Chicago defender Jalil Anibaba. "Even when we can't find the back of the net, we should be able to keep a clean sheet. That's the disappointing thing about tonight.
"I think (the two goals) was just a lack of concentration from all of us. The first one came off a throw-in, and we were a bit slow to react, so 'boom,' they put both goals in the back of the net. We just need to be a little sharper on that end.
"We're normally a much tougher team to play against, and I don't think that was true today. I don't think the competitive aspect was there, and that's very disappointing from my standpoint."
New England improved to 5-7-1 (2-1-1 in the last four games), 4-1 at home. The Fire lost their second straight (their first losing or winning streak of the season of more than one game) and fell to 5-5-3.
The Fire did get the returning Chris Rolfe back from an ankle injury. He saw his first game action after making his return to the team following a two-plus-year absence while playing in Denmark. He appeared in the second half, thus playing in his 150th game with the Fire, and showed some offensive spark.
NOTES: The Fire were without midfielder Marco Pappa, who was called to the Guatemalan National Team. ... This was the 60th meeting all-time between the two teams, who have built up bad blood during the playoffs. The Fire lead the series 28-22-10. ... The teams meet again Aug. 18 in Chicago and then again Oct. 20 back in New England. ... The Fire return from the International break with a June 17 home game against New York, while the Revs resume at home against Columbus June 16.