CHICAGO FIRE vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
July 19, 2014 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #176)
7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; CSN-Phi)
The Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union will be aiming for maximum points in a bid to push up the Eastern Conference table when the clubs meet Saturday evening at Toyota Park. Both teams find themselves outside the playoff positions, separated by three points, yet within immediate striking distance of the top five. The Fire put an end to a six-game winless run in their last match, a 1-0 win at New England last weekend, while Union are coming off a midweek 3-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls.
REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. AR1 (bench): Daniel Belleau; AR2 (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 28 games; FC/gm: 23.9; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 4; pens: 12
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Dilly Duka, Mike Magee … PHI: Maurice Edu, Fabinho, Raymon Gaddis
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: PHI: Zach Pfeffer (U.S. U-20)
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Fire 4 wins, 13 goals … Union 5 wins, 14 goals … Ties 2
AT CHICAGO (6 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 7 goals … Union 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 2
FUTURE MATCH: 10/2: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. ET
4/5: CHI 2, PHI 2 (Magee 16; Anangono 86 – Edu 32; Fernandes 39)
• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Juan Luis Anangono scored the equalizer four minutes from the end to bring the Fire back for a 2-2 draw, April 5 at Toyota Park.
• Union have taken points from the last three meetings at Toyota Park, with two wins and a draw.
• The Fire have won each of the last two seasons at PPL Park, including a 2-1 win last Aug. 3 in Chester
• Coaches record: Jim Curtin vs. CHI: first game … Frank Yallop vs. PHI: P6 W3 L1 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
• The Fire took the lead in the 16th minute. Quincy Amarikwa won the ball on the left flank before squaring invitingly for Mike Magee, who swept home from close range.
• But Union were level in the 32nd minute through a fortuitous equalizer. Vincent Nogueira saw his right-footed drive deflected by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, but right into the path of Maurice Edu, who was able to take the simplest of finishes.
• Less than seven minutes later, Union held the edge. A dangerous, left-footed in-swinging free-kick from Leonardo Fernandes on the right evaded everyone in a crowded penalty area and sailed inside the far post.
• The Fire found an equalizer with just four minutes remaining, when Juan Luis Anangonó rose highest to head Magee’s deep free kick past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath and into the back of the net,
• The Fire could have won it at the death in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time, but Magee saw his penalty, and follow-up, saved by MacMath after Anangonó had been fouled in the area by Aaron Wheeler.
• CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Patrick Nyarko (Juan Luis Anangono 77), Matt Watson (Alex 57), Jeff Larentowicz, Harry Shipp (Dilly Duka 57) - Quincy Amarikwa, Mike Magee
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Aaron Wheeler, Fabinho (Sheanon Williams 46) - Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu - Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, Leo Fernandes (Corben Bone 78) - Conor Casey (Antoine Hoppenot 87).
The Chicago Fire put an end to their winless streak after six games, defeating the New England Revolution 1-0 on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 19 points from 17 games.
• The Fire took the lead after just three minutes. Mike Magee sent a pass up over the Revolution back line and into the box, where Quincy Amarikwa held off a defender and sent a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
• The Revs were gift-wrapped the opportunity to equalize after Jerry Bengtson was brought down in the box in the 84th minute and referee Jose Carlos Rivero pointed to the spot. But Chris Tierney saw his penalty stopped by Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson to preserve the shutout.
• Fire head coach Frank Yallop made four changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Bakary Soumare came into central defense in place of Patrick Ianni, and Matt Watson, Jeff Larentowicz and Quincy Amarikwa all came into the team in place of Grant Ward, Chris Ritter and Logan Pause.
• CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Gonzalo Segares - Alex (Grant Ward 88), Matt Watson (Chris Ritter 77), Jeff Larentowicz, Harry Shipp - Mike Magee, Quincy Amarikwa (Matthew Fondy 71).
• The Fire put an end to their winless run after six matches, their first victory since May 18. The Fire opened the season with eight games without a victory (0-2-6), before winning their only two games of the season before the New England victory.
• “This is probably the biggest week we’ve had all year especially in terms of results. That’s three road games in a very short span of time and we came away with seven points so these are positives to build on and hopefully they carry out throughout the rest of the year,” said Quincy Amarikwa.
• Said Fire head coach Frank Yallop: “It’s a great thing for us to win, in conference, because of the tough week we had, but we did very well. I was proud of the way we played, even though the second half was a little bit ugly and they were all over us. In the end, we were able to seal it out and get a win. We got it done as a group and that’s what is important.”
• The Fire recorded just their second shutout of the season, the first coming in a scoreless draw with Colorado on June 4.
• “It’s almost a sense of relief. We can’t relax yet, you know just those three points have been so evasive for so long,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “We’ve tied so many games. It’s very frustrating. We almost tied there at the end with the PK. We’re getting closer and closer to putting together a complete game. This game for us was great. We played well for 80-plus minutes and it’s just really grinding it out to see the game out in full. We’ll get better.”
• Quincy Amarikwa netted his first goal since May 10, returning to the starting lineup after a one-match absence.
• “Quincy did the same thing against New England at home. He’s a very strong player that knows how to use his body the right way,” Yallop said. “Along with that being said, our squad was rotated a lot during these past three games. Everyone performed well. I tip my hat to them because the full squad of 18 has been doing well and it’s shown in our results.”
• Mike Magee recorded his fourth assist of the season on the Amarikwa goal, now with a goal or an assist in each of the last three matches after returning to the lineup following a four-match absence.
• “[My partnership with Mike Magee] is good. It’s developing. We’re always looking for each other,” said Amarikwa. “We’re usually involved in each other’s goals in some capacity and hopefully it translates into more goals and more assists and more chemistry.”
• Said Yallop: “My big thing is to get after it in the beginning, and we did. Mike [Magee] and Quincy [Amarikwa] were really lively in the first half and it went well. I thought we could have scored more goals, but you know, that’s how soccer is.”
• Johnson made his sixth save of a penalty kick in 21 career attempts faced in league play. Johnson has saved at least one penalty in each of his five MLS seasons.
• Sean (Johnson) has been outstanding these past four or five games. He’s a young goalkeeper and he’s finally starting to have really good performances and he’s also starting to look the part. Things like this make the difference and it was the reason we won,” said Yallop. “Although it was a great penalty that was taken, Sean also made a great save that was able to keep us ahead in the game.”
Philadelphia Union put an end to their brief two-game winless run, defeating the New York Red Bulls 3-1 on Wednesday evening at PPL Park. Union are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points from 20 games.
• Union opened the scoring in the ninth minute. After spraying a pass out wide to Andrew Wenger, Conor Casey received a perfect cross in return in the area and beat goalkeeper Luis Robles to his left.
• Union doubled the lead in the 51st minute. This time Casey played provider, getting a nice little touch on the ball to redirect a Sheanon Williams cross to allow Fred to pounce and drive home a low shot from the center of the box.
• The Red Bulls pulled a goal back nine minutes later when Thierry Henry made a simple pass across the edge of the box for Bradley Wright-Phillips, who was given too much space and calmly finished past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
• But Union restored the margin after Maurice Edu was dragged down in the box by Eric Alexander on a corner kick, and referee Baldomero Toledo whistled for the 68th-minute penalty. Le Toux then converted the spot kick.
• Union interim manager Jim Curtin made four changes to the team that reached a 3-3 draw with the Colorado Rapids at PPL Park. Maurice Edu returned from suspension into the back four for Fabinho, Brian Carroll and Vincent Nogueira came in to the midfield for the suspended Michael Lahoud and Amobi Okugo, and Andrew Wenger started in place of Danny Cruz.
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Ethan White, Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira - Sebastien Le Toux, Cristian Maidana (Fred 38), Andrew Wenger (Danny Cruz 74) - Conor Casey (Aaron Wheeler 84).
• Union won for the second time in four league matches under interim manager Jim Curtin, and for the first time with their new boss in front of the PPL Park faithful.
• “I think the Union made a statement that we’re going to be that team in the Eastern Conference that’s going to be, not just pushing for the fourth and fifth spot, but a team that can play with anybody,” Curtin said. “Did we dig a hole early in the year, yeah we did, but we’re going to fight our way out, we’re right in the mix, fortunately nobody’s really running away with the East right now so you’re a couple wins out of being in a top spot.”
• Conor Casey continued his rich vein of form, scoring his sixth league goal over the last six matches. Casey has scored goals in the last three games in all competitions, and has seven goals in his last seven games overall.
• “He just needed a run of games. He’s a guy that needs to play himself into a comfort level and form. He’ll score goals, he’s done that everywhere he’s been for his whole life,” Curtin said. “ … He recovers pretty well for an older guy and again he’s as dialed into his body as he could possibly be so he knows when it’s right and ready to go and he’ll be honest with me. I trust him and hopefully with a quick turnaround.”
• Fred came off the substitutes’ bench for his third league appearance this season with Union, and scored his first goal in MLS since 2010, when he also netted for Union against the Red Bulls at PPL Park on Oct. 16, 2010.
• “I didn’t expect [Maidana] to get injured and I’m so sorry for him. I think everyone has to be ready to play and help the team,” Fred said. “… I played with Brian [Carroll] in D.C. so it was easy to play with him. It comes so easy to play and then we control the game and we control the midfield. Now we keep trying to win and try to make the playoffs.”
• There was an injury blow for Union when Cristian Maidana was forced off before the halftime break, precipitating the introduction of Fred.
• “Timing-wise it isn’t actually the worst, because if you look ahead we have Chicago, obviously is a huge, huge, huge league game, but after that there’s a little bit of a break so we don’t think it’s too serious,” said Curtin. “But again he’s a guy playing as good as anyone in our league right now, so if we are going to miss him, which I hope we don’t, it’s a big loss.”
• Ethan White maintained his place in central defense, his second consecutive start (and only two of the league campaign), as Maurice Edu returned from suspension again to fill a center back role. Sheanon Williams moved from central defense to right back.
• “Ethan was a beast. That’s two games in a row now,” Curtin said. “ … As a center back I really think highly of that position and he stepped up and did a great job. Maurice Edu needs credit too, he played a great game and helped Ethan White a lot to talking, communicating, organizing. Those two were very solid for us.”
• Vincent Nogueira made his first appearance since June 7, missing three league games with a groin injury.