New England Revolution

3 takeaways from the Revolution 3-3 draw against the Chicago Fire

Noel Buck's wonder strike helped salvage a draw for New England.

Revolution soccer takeaways Chicago Fire
Jozy Altidore sweeps in the tying goal in the Revolution's 3-3 draw against the Chicago Fire. Via MLS/New England Revolution

The Revolution fought back to earn a 3-3 draw against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night, prolonging a winless stretch that now spans three consecutive league games (and four overall).

New England fell behind 2-0 following multiple defensive miscues, rallying to tie the score before halftime thanks to a spectacular goal from Noel Buck and a well-worked Bobby Wood header off a corner kick.

In the second half, New England again fell behind on a defensive lapse only to equalize through another corner kick (this time finished off by substitute Jozy Altidore).

Here are a few takeaways:

Lineup changes failed to pay early dividends.

Injuries at all levels — forward, midfield, and defense — forced Bruce Arena into some serious lineup changes against Chicago.


DeJuan Jones started at right back with Brandon Bye out injured, and Christian Makoun (naturally more of a center back) shifted out to the left. Buck began in an attacking midfield “No. 10” role as Carles Gil — injured during the loss to Philadelphia a week ago — was only fit enough to make the bench.

In attack, Arena deployed forwards Giacomo Vrioni and Bobby Wood alongside each other in a departure from the single-striker system.

The result of such sweeping changes was perhaps somewhat predictable: New England began the game looking disjointed. Chicago, despite being the visiting team and fairly far below New England in the standings, held the initiative for the first 30 minutes.

The pair of early Fire goals both resulted from direct long balls. The first, played beautifully by Chicago playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri, looped over the head of New England center back Andrew Farrell. Greek striker Georgios Koutsias made the most of the early opening, depositing the ball into the back of the net with a nice, low finish.

The second goal began with another long ball, as Chicago forward Kacper Przybylko received a cross-field pass before playing in teammate Miguel7 Navarro, whose attempted cross deflected off of Farrell (who was trying to clear the ball) and wound up instead in New England’s net.

Noel Buck jumpstarted the comeback with a wonder strike.

Every week, it seems like Buck, the Revolution’s talented 18-year-old midfielder, does something of notable quality. In several games, these moments have come from subtle or nuanced soccer plays (a timely read, or perhaps a clever piece of positioning).


On Saturday, that moment was loud and an overt. In the 38th minute, with his team trailing 2-0 and looking fairly listless in attack, Buck received the ball outside the box and in plenty of space. Looking up, he then unleashed a left-footed blast that arrowed into the far corner of the net for what was certainly the most impressive goal of his young MLS career.

Buck later shifted into a more withdrawn central midfield role when Gil came on as a second-half substitute, eventually totaling more tackles (five) than anyone else during the game. His development as a player continues to occur on a weekly basis, and given the sheer number of injuries to some of New England’s more dynamic players, his emergence is a timely one for the Revolution.

Set pieces are suddenly an asset.

For a majority of the season (especially in league games), New England has struggled to create chances from set pieces. The lack of headed goals prior to Saturday was conspicuous.

Given the context, it may have been a surprising development that the Revolution found the net twice off of corner kicks. The first came in the 40th minute when Makoun added a perfect near-post flick-on that Wood was able to meet at the back post and send in for a goal to level the score at 2-2.


In the second half, trailing 3-2, New England turned to another corner kick to tie things up. This time, it was Dave Romney who was able to flick the ball on, with Altidore popping up at the back post.

While New England will be disappointed at dropping two possible points at home against a foe that sits lower down in the Eastern Conference, the game provided a few positive points that — if continued — could spell success in the future. Buck’s performance certainly falls in that category, as does the resurgence of successful set pieces.


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