Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview
CHICAGO FIRE vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
May 11, 2013 (WEEK 11, MLS Game #94)
12:30 p.m. CT (NBC SN; TSN2)
The Chicago Fire return to league play after a weekend off when they entertain Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Fire are coming off a 2-0 loss at the Montréal Impact in their last contest. Union hit the road following a fractious 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC last weekend at PPL Park.
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 14 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 6; pens: 5
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: CHI: Jeff Larentowicz (through May 12) … PHI: Sheanon Williams (through May 12)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Daniel Paladini
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Conor Casey
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Fire 3 wins, 9 goals … Union 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 1
AT CHICAGO (4 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 5 goals … Union 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 5/18: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET; 8/3: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/24: CHI 1, PHI 0 (Oduro 28)
8/12: PHI 1, CHI 3 (own goal 34 – Rolfe 43, 56; Friedrich 47+)
10/3: CHI 1, PHI 3 (Oduro 69 – McInerney 7; Gomez 67; Hoppenot 87)
- This is the front end of a home-and home series between the clubs over the next two weeks, though Union have a home match vs. the LA Galaxy in between (May 15).
- The teams have exactly evenly split their series over the last three seasons, each team winning three times, with one draw. Each team has also scored nine goals.
- The teams ended their season series a year ago with 3-1 victories at the other’s ground, the Fire winning at PPL Park on Aug. 12, and Union returning the favor Oct. 3 at Toyota Park.
- Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. PHI: P4 W2 L1 D1 … John Hackworth vs. CHI: P2 W1 L1 D0
The Chicago Fire lost for a second consecutive match on their travels, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Montréal Impact on April 27 at Stade Saputo. The Fire are in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points from 8 matches.
Highlights: MTL 2, CHI 0
- The Impact finally broke through in the second half. A long pass from Wandrille Lefèvre from the right reached Andrea Pisanu, who fed Romero on the left wing. Romero tricked his way past Chicago right back Logan Pause and curled a beauty to the top right corner for the 57th-minute opener.
- The game then took a turn in the 64th minute, when Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz was sent off for tripping up Pisanu on a run toward goal.
- Impact striker Di Vaio wrapped up the game with a low, delicate finish in the 76th minute after newcomer Daniele Paponi served him a ball in the area.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that got a late goal for a 1-0 win against the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park. Daniel Paladini came into the side in place of the suspended Wells Thompson.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Logan Pause, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Jeff Larentowicz (sent off 63), Daniel Paladini - Patrick Nyarko (Dilly Duka 84), Chris Rolfe, Joel Lindpere (Alex 77) - Sherjill MacDonald (Maicon Santos 66).
- The Fire were shut out for a fourth time this season in the loss to Montréal, after scoring a goal in four consecutive games following a 334-minute goalless streak to open the season.
- “I thought it was a very unfortunate game, it started off well, and in the second half, when they scored, it went down from there,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “We changed our defense because of the Impact’s two forwards and obviously they are playing at home so they went in more aggressively in the second half, so they ended up putting two in the back of the net.”
- With Wells Thompson suspended for the Impact match after a ruling by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, Logan Pause dropped back to play right back.
- “[Logan]’s played there before and we didn’t have any other options,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “[Dan] Paladini was in good form and my other option was Mike Videira and he’s had enough concussions. We put a right back that is experienced and has played that position before.”
- Said Pause: “I think, individually being involved in both goals, I feel like I could have done better. It was not good enough defending for me and I felt like I let the team down a little.”
- Pause will likely return to the central midfield spot he’s patrolled for so long after Jeff Larentowicz’s appeal of the red card he received against Montréal was not upheld.
WATCH: Fire look to bounce back
There were no changes in the Fire front six, with Sherjill MacDonald starting for a seventh consecutive game as the target striker.
- “The red card was the knife in our chest,” winger Patrick Nyarko said. “Even after the goal, we have the team, with the confidence we're playing at, we can come back. I don't think Montreal played their best game, so I feel like we were in the game. But I felt like the red card just took everything away from us.”
- Alex made his first appearance, coming off the bench for the final 13 minutes, since making his lone start of the season March 24 vs. Chivas.
Philadelphia Union returned home from a two-game road swing and reached a 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC last Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union sit in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from 9 matches.
Highlights: PHI 2, SEA 2
- Sounders FC opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Eddie Johnson headed in a corner from Mauro Rosales. Union goalie Zac MacMath appeared to block the initial shot but was inside the goal line when he did so, and the goal was given.
- But Danny Cruz and Union struck twice within a minute. In the 50th minute, Cruz roofed a rebound into the upper corner on a rebound of a Conor Casey header that hit the post.
- Then Cruz again beat Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning on a rebound – this one from a long-range Jack McInerney shot that took a favorable bounce off the crossbar – to give Union the lead.
- But Seattle tied the score in the 64th minute when Rosales scored his first of the season on a left-footed shot following a cross from Leo Gonzalez and through ball from Mario Martinez.
- In the 85th minute, both Seattle’s Lamar Neagle and Philadelphia’s Sheanon Williams were sent off after a scuffle in the Union penalty area. Then in second-half stoppage time, Sounders FC went a man down when DeAndre Yedlin was sent off following a late tackle on Michael Farfan.
- Union team manager John Hackworth kept the same team for a third consecutive match, maintaining the group that lost 2-0 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-3-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams (sent off 85), Jeff Parke (Gabriel Farfan 46+), Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll - Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot 72), Keon Daniel, Michael Farfan - Conor Casey, Jack McInerney (Sebastien Le Toux 87).
- It was a second consecutive draw at PPL Park for Union, who have now won just once in four home matches, taking five of a possible 12 points.
- “We’re doing our absolute best to limit the chances that the other team gets. Maybe we just need to do an even better job to not let them get anything. Credit to all the guys and the work that they put in to get back in the game,” said midfielder Brian Carroll. “You’re never satisfied with a home draw, but everyone put in a great work rate, intensity, and there’s nobody that you can really point to or anything negatively at all.”
- Union have allowed two goals now in three consecutive games, and have conceded multiple goals in five of nine games for the season. They have allowed 1.56 goals per game, fourth-highest average in MLS.
- “We’ve limited the shots on goal to about less than three a game, but the chances that we’re giving up are clear chances, and the other teams have been doing a good job of capitalizing on them. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” said Amobi Okugo. “Defensively, I thought we did well today, but they had two good chances—three good chances, and they capitalized on two of them. If we could just limit the chances that they get, maybe we can get a shutout, or keep them to one goal.”
- Union will already be forced to make on the back line after Sheanon Williams was sent off late, but another could come in center back Jeff Parke, who suffered a hamstring strain that forced him off the field just before halftime.
- “We feel comfortable playing with whoever’s back there,” said Okugo. “At practice we work on all different types of formations, and different people, whether it’s me and (Bakary Soumare), me and (Jeff Parke), or Parke and (Soumare). Hopefully, we are going to come out ready.
- With Parke’s injury, there was a readjustment to the back line, with Gabriel Farfan coming on. “We switched (Raymond Gaddis)—once (Jeff Parke) went off with his injury, (Sheanon Williams) came inside with me and Ray tucked in. He was on the right,” said Okugo. “(Gabriel Farfan) was kind of playing hybrid, or left mid—he came back when needed … once we got the second goal, we dropped Gabe back.”
- Said Union team manager John Hackworth: He continues to work hard. He is a guy that I trust immensely on a personal and professional level and he is a really good player. He is competing right now with his brother for playing time, but when called upon today he did his job and he did it very well.”
WATCH: Union preview the Fire
Danny Cruz recorded his first career two-goal game in Union’s 2-2 home draw with Seattle Sounders FC. Cruz has scored two goals now in each of the last four seasons, moving from D.C. United to Union midway through last year.
- “We need goals from everybody—forwards, midfielders, defenders, set pieces, through the run of play,” said Carroll. “To see someone like (Danny Cruz), who’s been knocking on the door for a while, given a few chances, I’m happy to see him put two in one game … maybe it’ll relieve (Jack McInerney) a little bit and give him an extra bit of space to start creating some more goals.”