BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire may have been the more dangerous side on Saturday afternoon, but the Philadelphia Union have one of the hottest strikers in MLS and he proved to be the difference as the visitors claimed a 1-0 win at Toyota Park.
Forward Jack McInerney scored his league-leading 7th goal of the season in the 75th minute on his first legitimate chance of the game, sneaking behind the Fire back line and poking a shot past Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson (WATCH IT HERE).
The goal held up as the game-winner as the Fire dropped their third home game of the season, while the Union won their third away from home on the campaign.
Playing without natural strikers for most of the game, the Fire created plenty of chances in the attacking third, but failed to finish them off with Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath starring in a six-save performance.
COMPLETE MATCH STATISTICS AND BOX SCORE
Philadelphia created the first chances of the game, but the Fire controlled possession for most of the first half, playing with the unprecedented pairing of Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe up top.
In the 21st minute, Rolfe curled a shot just wide. Minutes later, Nyarko dribbled to the end line and played a cross to Rolfe, whose shot was blocked by Union defender Gabriel Farfan. Daniel Paladini was there for the rebound, but his shot was saved by MacMath.
MacMath again came up big on a shot from the Fire's Joel Lindpere after Nyarko and Rolfe worked to create the opportunity in the 37th minute.
The best chances fell to the Fire's Nyarko in the second half. He struck the post two minutes after the halftime break and then failed to capitalize on a one-on-one breakaway against the goalkeeper in the 69th minute.
OPTA CHALKBOARD: Nyarko's busy day vs. Philadelphia
McInerney made the Fire pay for the missed chances when second-half sub Sebastien Le Toux played him through on a quick restart. The Frenchman lobbed the ball over the backline and the 20-year-old tipped his shot just out of Johnson's reach.
After seemingly regaining their stride with two wins in three games, the Fire have now lost two straight. They've also been shut out in six of 10 games played this season as the attack struggles to get off the ground. Designated player Sherjill MacDonald missed the match with strep throat, while Maicon Santos, who has been hampered with a knee injury, came off the bench.
Another reserve forward, Quincy Amarikwa, had the best chance to equalize late for Chicago when his blistering shot was parried away by the red-hot MacMath.
The two teams meet again on Saturday, May 18 at PPL Park (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE), but the Union will also have to deal with a midweek league match at home against the LA Galaxy on May 15 (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Zac MacMath (PHI)||The Union don't get the road win without their goalkeeper standing on his head with a six-save performance. He was up to par on everything the Fire threw his way.|
|2||Jack McInerney (PHI)||They call it the trait of the great strikers: They're invisible all game, only to show up when it counts and finish the one opportunity that comes their way. He's the top scorer in MLS.|
|3||Patrick Nyarko (CHI)||His skill set was showcased by his emergency move to center forward and his speed and dribbling skills wreaked havoc on Philly's back line. But his finishing let him down.|