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MLS playoffs

Wright gains redemption, scores late to help Revs stay alive 2-1 over Chicago.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Tuesday, September 19, 2000) -- Three minutes after watching his teamís one-goal lead disappear, Mauricio Wright netted a powerful header with four minutes to play as New England prolonged its Major League Soccer playoff existence with 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire before 10,723 in the rain tonight at Foxboro Stadium.

In recording its first playoff win ever, the Revolution evened the quarterfinal series at three points apiece with the deciding match scheduled for Friday at Chicagoís Soldier Field at 8:30 p.m. (ET). If the winner-take-all affair ends tied after regulation and the standard 10 minutes of sudden-death overtime, an additional 20 minutes of golden sudden death will be played. If that is fruitless, the game and series will be decided in a penalty-kicks tiebreaker.

Dema Kovalenko brough the Fire even at 1-1 in the 83d minute, but, against the run of play, Wright finished a bending free kick from forward Jose Luis Morales to make it 2-0 in the 86th minute. Morales, who entered the game in the 67th minute, sent a curving cross into the middle of the box and Wright rose to head the ball past a diving Zach Thornton inside the left post.

"I feel satisfied after giving up the own goal in the first game," said Wright of his costly error in the Revsí 2-1 loss Friday in the opener. "Our confidence is so high right now, we can beat them in Chicago on Friday."

The Revs struck first after forward Wolde Harris beat Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra to a loose ball down the right flank and then chipped it past the Chicago rookie. Harris ran into open space and played the ball perfectly through the Chicago defense to an onrushing Eric Wynalda at the top of the box. Wynalda took a touch and calmly slotted the ball past Thornton to put the Revs up 1-0 in the 18th minute, the veteran striker's first goal since being acquired by the Revs in a July trade with Miami.

Chicago missed a golden opportunity to even the game at the end of the first half after New England defender Adam Eyre was called for taking down Kovalenko in the box. Fire forward Hristo Stoitchkov rolled the ensuing penalty kick to Causey's right, and the keeper easily dove to corral the attempt. Only one of six penalty kicks against the Revs and Causey this season have been successful.

"A couple of critical plays decided the game and we didn't do well with those plays, including our PK at the end the first half," Fire coach Bob Bradley said . "We didn't do well on their first goal -- our defenders got caught and played a good ball past our guys. Then we put a lot into the game to take it to 1-1, but before we could enjoy it we lost Mauricio Wright and we gave up a goal on a set piece. I thought in the first half we didn't pass the ball real well, and gave up a lot of balls due to the bad passing."

After New England controlled play for most of the second half, Chicago pulled even at 1-1 in the 83rd minute. Kovalenko, who had the game-winner in the Fire's 2-1 win in Game One, ran onto a perfect long ball sent over the top of the defense from second half substitute Tenwya Bonseu and he dribbled unmarked into the box before beating Causey with a low right-footed shot from 14 yards out.

New England had a pair of quality chances after taking a 2-1 lead late in the game. On one, Morales continued his outstanding work off the bench by blistering a shot over Thornton and off the crossbar four minutes into injury time.

New England Revolution 2, Chicago Fire 1

Lineups: New England - Jeff Causey, Mauricio Wright, John Harkes, Ted Chronopoulos, Adam Eyre, William Sunsing, Joe Franchino, Leonel Alvarez, Imad Baba (Jamar Beasley 66), Wolde Harris (Carlos Parra 92+), Eric Wynalda (Jose Luis Morales 67). Chicago Zach Thornton, Tom Soehn (Tenwya Bonseu 67), Carlos Bocanegra, C.J. Brown, Peter Nowak, Jesse Marsch (John Wolyniec 82), DaMarcus Beasley, Mike Sorber (Diego Gutierrez 46), Dema Kovalenko, Ante Razov, Hristo Stoitchkov.

New England - Wynalda (Harris) 18.
Chicago - Kovalenko (Bonseu) 83.
New England - Wright (Morales) 86.

Total shots: New England 14 (Harris 4), Chicago 7 (Stoitchkov 3). Shots on goal: New England 10 (Harris 4), Chicago 2 (Stoitchkov 1, Kovalenko 1). Saves: New England - Causey 1; Chicago - Thornton 6. Fouls: New England 22 (Alvarez 5), Chiacgo 23 (Razov 5). Offside: New England 3, Chicago 4. Corner kicks: New England 5, Chicago 4. Yellow card cautions: New England - Wright 11, Eyre 46+, Harkes 46+, Chronopoulos 46+; Chicago - Gutierrez 73. Possession percentage: New England 57, Chicago 43.

Referee: Ricardo Valenzuela. Referee's assistants: Nathan Clement, Robert Fereday. Attendance: 10,723 at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Weather: Rain, 60 degrees.

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