Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview

CHICAGO FIRE vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
April 5, 2014 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #37)
4 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; TCN-Phi)

A pair of Eastern Conference clubs looking for a buoying victory meet on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park when the Chicago Fire play host to Philadelphia Union. The Fire are looking for their first win on the new season, reaching a third consecutive draw with a late 2-2 tie at D.C. United last weekend. Union are hitting the road off a home draw of their own, the Montreal Impact coming back for a 1-1 result last Saturday at PPL Park.

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REFEREE: Chris Penso. AR1 (bench): Brian Poeschel; AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 49 games; FC/gm: 22.9; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 13; pens: 15

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: CHI: Orr Barouch
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Fire 4 wins, 11 goals … Union 5 wins, 12 goals … Ties 1
AT CHICAGO (2 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 5 goals … Union 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 7/19: Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m. CT; 10/2: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/11: CHI 0, PHI 1 (McInerney 75)
5/18: PHI 1, CHI 0 (McInerney 3)
8/3: PHI 1, CHI 2 (Williams 60 – Nyarko 9; Magee 75)

  • Union have won the last two meetings at Toyota Park, including a 1-0 victory last May 11 in the only encounter in Bridgeview.
  • The Fire have won each of the last two seasons at PPL Park, including a 2-1 win in the last meeting between the teams, last Aug. 3 in Chester.
  • Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. CHI: P5 W3 L2 D0 … Frank Yallop vs. PHI: P5 W3 L1 D1

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire came back for a third draw in as many games, getting a late goal for a 2-2 result with D.C. United on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. The Fire sit in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with three points from four games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Fire took the lead against the run of play in the 27th minute. Harry Shipp struck a well-placed corner kick toward the far post into the path of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who was left unmarked and made no mistake with his header.
  • But United found the equalizer eight minutes later. From a free kick just outside the box, Nick DeLeon rolled a deft touch back toward Fabian Espindola, and his low, pacey strike past the wall leveled the match.
  • United took the lead in the 73rd minute, once again from a restart. Bobby Boswell found himself on the end of an Espindola corner kick, but his header was cleared from the goal line, His second attempt from the rebound struck the near post, and the ball fell directly into the path of Perry Kitchen, who slammed it into the roof of the net from close range.
  • But Chicago equalized less than 10 minutes later. Second-half substitute Patrick Nyarko collected the ball on the right flank, nutmegged a defender and centered into the path of an onrushing Quincy Amarikwa, who hammered it home from on the penalty spot.
  • Fire head coach Frank Yallop made no changes to the team that, played to a 1-1 result with the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Matt Watson, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Harry Shipp, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Juan Luis Anangono 80), Benji Joya (Patrick Nyarko 56) - Quincy Amarikwa (Chris Rolfe 89), Mike Magee.

TEAM NEWS

  • While the Fire still have yet to win on the season, they did take a point for a third consecutive match with the late draw at D.C. United.
  • “I always look at the positive if I can, and you know we haven’t lost in three, that’s the way I look at it,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “We haven’t won a game yet this season but again, it’s not easy to win games, especially away from home in this league so we are looking forward to playing at home next weekend and hopefully we can get that in.”
  • Quincy Amarikwa scored his second goal of the season, his first since the season-opening 3-2 loss at Chivas USA.
  • “Not dropping points, especially on the road, is huge in this league. If you look at teams that make the playoffs on a regular basis, they don’t lose, they at least get a draw or a win and you know that’s how it goes. And if we can come away with points every single time on the road, I will take them,” said Amarikwa.
  • Jhon Kennedy Hurtado scored his first MLS goal since 2009, when he scored his only previous MLS league goal while a member of Seattle Sounders FC.
  • After conceding one goal in each of the last two games, the Fire allowed two goals vs. D.C. United. The seven goals allowed by the Fire is tied for the most in the league (along with Chivas, Montreal, New York).
  • “I thought [the team’s defensive effort] was good, to be fair,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “I thought it was just a bit unfortunate. The second goal there was a bit of pinball action around … I thought we had some similar situations where we had the ball in their box and things didn’t really fall our way, but that’s just the way it goes. That’s soccer for you.”

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union returned home and gained a point, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with five points from four games.

LAST MATCH

  • Union took the lead in the 35th minute. Jack McInerney beat a defender and found Vincent Nogueira streaking into the area, and he then blasted a shot by a helpless Troy Perkins to open his MLS account in style.
  • But the Impact pulled even with 10 minutes to play. From a remarkable long ball played by Justin Mapp, Marco Di Vaio settled the ball on the left wing, was given time and space to move into the area then beat Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath to his left.
  • Union manager John Hackworth made no changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Aaron Wheeler, Fabinho - Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu - Sebastien Le Toux (Antoine Hoppenot 82), Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana (Leo Fernandes 57) - Jack McInerney (Conor Casey 71).

TEAM NEWS

  • For the second time this season, Union saw a potential victory result in a draw with an equalizing goal allowed after the 80th minute. The Portland Timbers scored in stoppage time for a 1-1 draw in the season opener.
  • “I don’t think we’re the same team as we were last year,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “I don’t want to make that comparison, but we were definitely in similar situations last year and got a similar result. It’s something this year’s team is going to have to get over.”
  • Vincent Nogueira scored his first MLS goal, netting the first-half opener. He’s played every minute of every match thus far in the Union midfield.
  • “I was happy to be able to get a goal; it is always good to get a goal for a new team. … I am just upset about the result,” Nogueira said. “Scoring goals is not my main task but I am always happy to be able to score.”
  • Union have scored exactly one goal in each of their four matches thus far, and have also allowed four goals. They have an exactly .500 record with one win, one loss and two draws.
  • “I thought we could've been more selfish. We could’ve taken on guys 1v1 in many chances … a lot of players were reluctant to go 1v1. That hurt us a little bit,” Hackworth said. “We passed the ball an awful lot, but we passed it when we should’ve taken a guy on the dribble and getting a cross off. We have to have more variety in our attack.”
  • With Austin Berry injured, Aaron Wheeler was given a second consecutive start in central defense, alongside Amobi Okugo.
  • “I don’t want people to look at me as a converted forward, I want people to judge how they judge the other center backs in the league,” said Wheeler. “I want you to be judged as a center back and that is the position that I am playing. I don’t need any soft critics; I am just going out there and trying to do things to the best of my ability.” Said Okugo: “Aaron is first and foremost a soccer player, and he can play any position. Last year he did great as a forward and right now is filling in at center back and he is doing admirably. I feel like he is doing a great job.”
  • Conor Casey made his season debut for Union, coming on in place of Jack McInerney for the final 19 minutes.