Fire Pull Off Huge Win On Road, Down Union 2-1 in Philly
The Fire came into the Philadelphia suburb of Chester, Pennsylvania in dire need of a win to keep their playoff push alive. Leaving 18,295 fans at PPL Park disappointed, the road side drew closer to the postseason, getting to within two points of the fifth place New England Revolution.
Sean Johnson returned to the lineup after missing extended time due to national team duty for the Gold Cup champion United States, and made four saves in the winning effort. The Fire got off to a hot start, as Mike Magee passed to Joel Lindpere, who crossed to Patrick Nyarko. Nyarko would take a quick shot and find the back of the net, giving the road side an early 1-0 lead.
No win in Major League Soccer comes easy, as the Fire faced a relentless Philadelphia attack until Sheanon Williams finally found the back of the net on an awkward bounce in the sixtieth minute to draw the home team level. Fire coach Frank Klopas would respond with a series of offense-oriented substitutions, bringing on both Quincy Amarikwa and Dilly Duka for Chris Rolfe and Joel Lindpere, respectively, in the sixty-seventh minute of play. The duo would cause chaos in Philadelphia’s backline the rest of the way out, and after the Fire brough on Daniel Paladini for Alex, the club was finally rewarded. One minute after the substitution, Mike Magee received a great pass from Patrick Nyarko and managed to put it upper ninety for the 2-1 lead that would hold up for the win. Nyarko had previously set up Magee just five minutes earlier, crossing on the ground, but Magee was unable to catch up to the ball to bury it into the empty side of the net.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time, the Union came close before Hoppenot was ultimately taken down in the box. The Union desperately sought a penalty call, but the referee David Gantar who had previously handed weak yellow cards to both Anibaba and Alex did not cave in this time, and a Sean Johnson kick to the center of the pitch ended the match, as the Fire came through with the tough win on the road.
Houston leads Columbus 2-0 at home, potentially leaving the Fire five points out of a playoff spot. The Fire head home to Toyota Park to take on D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals on Wednesday at 7:30 PM. That match will be streamed live on Chicago-Fire.com, and tickets are as cheap as eighteen dollars for the match with free parking. The Fire then play host to Montreal on Saturday at 7:30 PM in a league match. The highly important match against the Impact will be broadcast on My50 Chicago.