Bridgeview, IL – The Chicago Fire open the home portion of their 2013 schedule on Saturday when the club hosts the New England Revolution at Toyota Park.
Chicago will be hoping for a bounce-back effort after suffering a 4-0 loss to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy. Los Angeles rolled to the victory behind Mike Magee's first career hat trick and a fourth tally from Robbie Keane.
"It's just one game, but we have to look at the game. The one thing I looked at was that the team looked fatigued little bit," Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. "When you are tired, mentally you make mistakes. I think we gave up soft goals based on that. It's good to be going home; we've been on the road for a long time. It's one game, it's behind us and now we have to look forward to the next match."
The Fire will be without several key contributors as defender Arne Friedrich will miss the match due to a hamstring issue, while midfielder Logan Pause will sit out with a quad problem and Victor Pineda is out after undergoing surgery to repair a left meniscus tear.
After having last week off, the New England Revolution will begin their second season under head coach Jay Heaps.
New England struggled last season, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference with 35 points, but have made several moves this offseason to improve the club.
The Revolution pulled off a big splash at the SuperDraft by working a deal with Toronto FC to acquire the first overall selection, which they used on Louisville defender Andrew Farrell.
Farrell, 20, was a star during his three-year career at Louisville. He started 44 games over the three seasons and earned the Big East Defensive Player of the Year honor in 2012. He also gives Heaps some versatility along the backline.
"I think that for this organization to be successful, I can bring some speed on the outside if I play outside back," Farrell said. "I can bring depth within the center back and outside back spots. Sometimes things don't work out but this is a new season and I think everybody starts new."
Honduras international Jerry Bengtson and Frenchman Saer Sene will be counted on to drive the offense in 2013 for New England, while veteran attacker Chad Barrett, who was signed last month, will provide some leadership.
Sene, however, will be out indefinitely after tearing the ACL in his left knee last August, which will leave the scoring burden to Bengtson and Barrett, who returns to MLS after spending the second half of last year on loan with Valerenga in Norway.
Overall, the clubs have met 43 times with Chicago holding a 19-15-9 advantage, but New England took two of the three meetings last season.