Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Nemanja Nikolic, Matt Polster - Chicago Fire - celebrate together

Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire
2017 MLS Match Preview
Talen Energy Stadium – Chester, Pa.
Saturday, September 23 – 7 pm ET

The Chicago Fire seem to have put their summer swoon fully behind them, with their 3-0 home win against D.C. United last Saturday extending their unbeaten run to three matches. They’ll look to continue that hot streak on the road on Saturday, when they’ll take on the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium.

The Fire’s solid run – they won at Montreal and drew the Red Bulls in their two matches prior to Saturday’s win vs. D.C. – has propelled them within touching distance of New York City FC for second-place in the East. NYCFC now lead Chicago by just three points with both teams having five matches remaining, and a win on Saturday could put the Fire in a solid position to finish in the top-two and avoid the Knockout Round of the upcoming Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.  

The stakes aren’t quite as high for Philadelphia. The Union enter Saturday’s match in 10th in the East, nine points behind New York for the sixth and final playoff spot with just five matches left on the schedule. Like Chicago, Philly are currently on a three-game unbeaten streak, but all three of those matches have been draws. The Union haven’t won a match since Aug. 5 against FC Dallas.

Philadelphia Union

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Ken Tribbett (left Achilles strain); QUESTIONABLE: M Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery recovery), M Fabian Herbers (sports hernia surgery), M Ilsinho (left Achilles tendonitis), D Aaron Jones (low abdominal strain), D Joshua Yaro (right knee sprain)

Projected Lineup
(4-2-3-1, left to right)
Andre Blake – Fabinho, Oguchi Onyewu, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry – Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin – Chris Pontius, Ilsinho, Marcus Epps – CJ Sapong

Notes: Andre Blake was credit with a season-high eight saves in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at New York. The Jamaican international now has eight shutouts in 21 games this year, fourth-most in MLS.

Chicago Fire

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M John Goossens (right ankle surgery), GK Jorge Bava (left elbow surgery), M Daniel Johnson (left MCL injury), D Christian Dean (fifth metatarsal fracture), D Patrick Doody (left hamstring injury), M Juninho (left knee injury), M Bastian Schweinsteiger (calf injury)

Projected Lineup
(4-2-3-1, left to right)
Matt Lampson – Brandon Vincent, Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof, Matt Polster – Dax McCarty, Drew Conner – David Accam, Michael de Leeuw, Luis Solignac – Nemanja Nikolic

Notes: Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolic converted a penalty kick for his second goal in as many games on Saturday, giving him 18 goals for the season, just one behind David Villa for the MLS Golden Boot lead.

All-Time Series

This is the first meeting between the sides this season. The home team won all three meetings between the sides last year.

  • Overall: Philadelphia 6 wins (23 goals), Chicago 7 wins (26 goals), 5 draws
  • At Philadelphia: Philadelphia 4 wins (14 goals), Chicago 2 wins (13 goals), 2 draws


  • Referee: Robert Sibiga
  • Assistant Referees: Adam, Wienckowski, Kevin Klinger
  • Fourth Official: Ted Unkel
  • VAR: Jonathan Weiner