Mapp’s goal leads Fire down the road to victory
Justin Mapp’s free kick gave the Chicago Fire a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal Sunday.
Mapp blasted the ball over the wall of defenders and bent it inside the right post after New England’s Jay Heaps took down Chicago’s Chris Armas outside the penalty area in the 35th minute.
The Revolution almost tied it in the 64th minute when Taylor Twellman moved in near the right post and headed a ball that was smothered by Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who finished with eight saves in the first playoff start of his career.
After taking a hard fall in the 82nd minute, New England’s Clint Dempsey limped off the field and was replaced by Jose Manuel Abundis.
Shalrie Joseph made his first appearance for New England since Sept. 13 after recovering from right hand surgery.
The Fire and Revolution will play Saturday at Foxborough, Mass., for the second and final game of their series. Chicago needs only a tie to advance to the Eastern Conference championship against the winner of the semifinal between the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United.