RECAP: Philadelphia Union 1 – 0 Chicago Fire
The Fire got off to the wrong start yet again, allowing Jack McInerney to score his second goal in as many matches versus Chicago this season in just the third minute of play. Things wouldn’t get much better during the half, as Wells Thompson attempted to make a play for the ball but clipped a Union player to earn a yellow card in the fourteenth minute.
For the second straight match, Klopas went with a combination of Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko, more often used as midfielders, up top as strikers. Rolfe would be quite ineffective, and in the fifty-third minute was substituted out in favor of Sherjill MacDonald. Nyarko would not find the back of the net, but was able to generate a few nice opportunities and get shots off.
Yet again, the Fire showed signs of an attack, but struggled to finish, a very common occurrence this season as the club has fallen from the grace of 2012, a season in which the Fire returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Joel Lindpere started off the game very poorly, contributing to the surrendering of the early goal, but settled in as the game progressed, and started an opportunity with a long pass that MacDonald headed to Duka, who ultimately missed the net. Duka would get another great opportunity just a few minutes later, sending a strike deflected out by MacMath, resulting in a header that the Fire failed to convert into a goal.
In the sixty-second minute, the Fire buried themselves as Wells Thompson got his second yellow card to amount to a red, and the road side was forced to play with just ten men on the pitch for the remainder of the match, already trailing by a goal. Playing down a player did not seem to deflate the club at all, as the team controlled much of the match after the fact.
In the seventy-third minute, the Fire were not granted a penalty kick after Sherjill MacDonald was taken down in the box, despite a whistle being blown, as the referees played the advantage despite MacDonald not having the ball and no other Fire players in the area before Union got to it. The referees then called the initial foul that took place outside of the box instead, taking away a potential great goal scoring chance from the Fire.
Quincy Amarikwa entered the match in place of Dilly Duka in the eighty-first minute, just three minutes after Alex replaced Joel Lindpere.
The Fire seemed to have a shot at developing an offensive chance in the dwindling seconds of the match, but the whistly was ultimately blown as the Fire were simply too late. The Fire, with the three points headed to Philadelphia, now sit thirteen points behind the Montreal Impact for the fifth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.