Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs CHICAGO FIRE
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
August 3, 2013 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #205)
8 p.m. ET (CSN-Phi; My50 Chi)
Philadelphia Union and the Chicago Fire meet for a third time this season in a key match for both clubs as the chase for playoff positions starts on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union come into the match holding onto fourth place in the Eastern Conference, after their 1-0 win at Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend. The Fire are five points out of the postseason spots, starting their road swing with a 1-1 draw at the Houston Dynamo last weekend.
REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Philippe Briere; AR2 (opposite): Daniel Belleau; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 19 games; FC/gm: 25.9; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 8; pens: 1
DISABLED LIST: PHI: Greg Jordan
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Brian Carroll, Raymon Gaddis, Michael Farfan, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Danny Cruz, Keon Daniel … CHI: Daniel Paladini, Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Union 5 wins, 11 goals … Fire 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 1
AT PHILADELPHIA (5 meetings): Union 3 wins, 5 goals … Fire 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
5/11: CHI 0, PHI 1 (McInerney 75)
5/18: PHI 1, CHI 0 (McInerney 3)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, after meeting in a home-and-home series over two weekends May 11 and 18. Union took a 1-0 victory in both games, Jack McInerney scoring the game’s lone goal on each occasion.
- Over the first three seasons, the teams had exactly evenly split their series, each team winning three times, with one draw. Each team had also scored nine goals.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. CHI: P4 W2 L1 D1 … Frank Klopas vs. PHI: P6 W2 L2 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS):
- The game's only goal came after just three minutes. After a corner kick was partially cleared, it was sent back out wide to Sebastien Le Toux, who then delivered a perfect, low cross that found the head of a streaking Jack McInerney at the edge of the six-yard box at the far post.
- Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath finished with six saves to earn his second consecutive 1-0 shutout win against Chicago.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-3-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Bakary Soumare, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll - Danny Cruz (Keon Daniel 64), Jose Kleberson (Conor Casey 71), Michael Farfan - Jack McInerney (Leo Fernandes 90), Sebastien Le Toux.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-1-4-1): Sean Johnson - Wells Thompson (sent off 63), Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Logan Pause - Dilly Duka (Quincy Amarikwa 81), Chris Rolfe (Sherjill MacDonald 53), Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere (Alex 75) - Patrick Nyarko.
Philadelphia Union stretched their undefeated streak to three games, getting the game’s only goal for a victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. Union sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points from 21 matches.
- Whitecaps FC were a man down just eight minutes in, midfielder Jun Marques Davidson headbutting Keon Daniel in the back and prompting referee Baldomero Toledo to reach for his red card.
- Union finally took advantage with five minutes to play. Antoine Hoppenot took a nice backheel pass from fellow substitute Aaron Wheeler and burst into the box before firing past goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
- Union team manager John Hackworth made one change to the team that reached a scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers at PPL Park. Keon Daniel came into the team for the suspended Conor Casey.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot 67), Keon Daniel (Fabinho 65), Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan - Jack McInerney (Aaron Wheeler 82), Sebastien Le Toux.
- Antoine Hoppenot scored his third goal of the season, all off the substitutes’ bench. He has come off the bench for 19 of his 20 appearances this season.
- “Good players make coaches look good sometimes, and [Hoppenot] certainly did that,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “I thought Aaron Wheeler came on and did a great job. I thought Fabinho came in and did a good job. We’re a team that way. Every time we bring a guy off the bench, they’ve contributed this year. Once again, that was the case today.”
- Six of Hoppenot’s seven career MLS goals have been as a substitute, now in the top 20 in MLS history.
- “It’s awesome,” Hoppenot said. “It’s why coach puts me in the game. He wants me to score goals. I’m happy to be able to do it.”
- Aaron Wheeler made his first appearance in three matches and contributed his first MLS assist. His only goal also came when he came off the substitutes’ bench.
- “Any minutes I get I just try to take full advantage of it. I’m always happy to contribute in any way, whether it’s running back to make tackles and stuff like that on the defense or being able to lay off the ball for Antoine to get in the box and score,” Wheeler said. “Any way I can help the team succeed, I’m all for it.”
- Said Hackworth: “I think it shows we don’t go on the road and play for a draw. We made three attacking changes in the second half. We changed our formation. We were trying to get three points. That was important to us.”
- Union kept a clean sheet for a second consecutive match, the second time this season they’ve had consecutive shutouts.
- “Coming away with three points is massive for this team and massive for the confidence for this team,” said goalkeeper Zac MacMath. “We need to continue to do this for the next four games because obviously they’re all against Eastern Conference teams and a lot of points to be had.”
- Keon Daniel made his first MLS appearance since June 23 after missing five consecutive matches, mainly while on national team duty with Trinidad & Tobago.
- “I think sometimes when a team goes down a man I think they get more energy,” Daniel said. “I think we did well, we coped with it, we worked hard as a team and stick together. I think when we stick together it broke their hearts and eventually we got what we needed.”
The Chicago Fire hit the road and gained a result, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Fire are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points from 20 matches.
- Both goals came in a span of three minutes midway through the second half. The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 61st minute when Cam Weaver finished off a well-crafted team goal, turning home a cross from Brad Davis.
- But the Fire were level in the 63rd minute when Mike Magee played the offside line just right, working into a position two yards from goal to tap in Patrick Nyarko’s goalmouth cross.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that rolled to a 4-1 win against D.C. United at Toyota Park. Patrick Nyarko came into the midfield in place of Dilly Duka.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Paolo Tornaghi - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Daniel Paladini 41), Joel Lindpere (Quincy Amarikwa 65) - Mike Magee, Chris Rolfe (Logan Pause 81).
- Mike Magee scored for a second consecutive match, and now has seven goals in nine league matches since coming to the Fire from the LA Galaxy.
- “He’s got a lot of quality and he’s a smart player, but he does a lot of little things also besides scoring that help the team out,” said Klopas. “He’s been fantastic for us, so has [Bakary Soumaré]. I just think as a team we’re in a different place right now and we have a lot to play for. Both of those additions have been big, but I think everyone else has stepped up and I think we have everyone healthy right now and I think that is a positive thing for the team.”
- Said Magee: “We’re hard to beat. No matter what happens it’s a big step for us. We have been kind of looking for a result like this. We have beaten some teams that aren’t in the playoff hunt and we lost to Kansas City, we barely tie Portland, so to come into Houston and get a point like this is definitely a statement.”
- Patrick Nyarko collected his second assist, both of which have come since he moved to a wide midfield position. His first assist came on Magee’s first league goal with the Fire, June 2 vs. D.C. United.
- “To be honest, Patrick does everything. He wins the ball, beats his guy and then plays a perfect ball. I'm a fool if I miss it. It was all Nyarko,” said Magee. “ … I thought we did well to keep the game going, obviously tired legs came about, but we still picked and chose our times to get forward and obviously we didn't want to give up anything in the back, so I thought, other than the first 30 minutes, I thought we played well.”
- Alex made a fifth consecutive start in the center of midfield, but was forced from the field before the first half was complete.
- “He got a knock, it happened in the game on the ankle, he came out. He was having a good game in the middle, but listen it’s all about the team and things like that happen and guys have to be able to get in the game and help and that’s what a team is for. You have to rely on everyone and the guys that came in Danny [Paladini] and Logan [Pause] came in and I felt left it all on the field, and that’s what you want and ask for.”
- Paolo Tornaghi started his fifth consecutive match with Sean Johnson still on national team duty with the USA, and allowed a single goal for a second consecutive game. He’s allowed nine goals in the five starts.
- “It’s a crucial moment of the season. We have to come back from another positive position in the standings, so we have to keep going and maybe in one month, be in the right spot that we have to be in the playoffs,” Tornaghi said.