Photo Cred: Philadelphia Union
The Philadelphia Union had a rough performance against Cincinnati, but they returned home to the comforts of Subaru Park. Mike Barrera had the match coverage for AATSports Network on this beautiful Saturday night!
Sekulic, Pineda, Czichos, Navarro
Torres, Shaqiri, Mueller
Mbaizo, Glesnes, Elliot, Wagner
Bedoya, Flach, McGlynn, Gazdag
First Half Summary
The Union did well to make their offensive presence felt in the first half, but a yellow card was the first notable activity in the match. Philly was looking to make a push at net, but Uhre was forcefully obstructed by Pineda. He was quickly shown a yellow card in the third minute.
Mikael would continue to be active for Philadelphia, and he had a strong shot on Slonina from the top of the box. The ball then ricocheted toward the surging Carranza, but unfortunately the Union weren't able to take advantage of the loose ball.
Although Philly had been the better team within the first 15 minutes, Chicago almost took advantage of an early chance. Former Union striker Kacper Przybylko setup a great scoring chance in front of Andre Blake, but the MLS All-Star did well to make himself big and keep the Fire off the board. It would have certainly been a deflating goal to give up considering the flow of the match.
Chicago's missed opportunity would hurt them. The Union were the first ones on the board in the 16th minute. A counter attack was setup after Uhre chested a ball down around midfield. He sent it across the field to Carranza, who did well to find Daniel within the box. Gazdag then gathered the ball and sent a chip shot over Slonina. A wonderful team goal by Philly, and an excellent example of how quickly the Union can punish you on the counter attack.
Chicago would come close to drawing the match in the 27th minute. A close range shot was well blocked by Kai Wagner, but the ball bounced free for another Fire shot. Thankfully, Blake was ready to make a routine highlight reel save to keep the clean sheet.
Once again, the Union would take advantage of Chicago's miscues. Czichos allowed a ball to go out by the goal line, as he thought it was last touched by Philly. Instead, the Union earned a corner kick. Kai Wagner sent a long distance pass to the far corner of the box, and the ball bounced its way to Olivier at the top of the box. The right back then sent a header toward the crossbar, which Slonina was unable to secure. Thankfully, Jack Elliott was not ball-watching, and he was front and center for the rebound. Elliott put the Union up 2-0, and he scored his first of the year.
The Union would close out the half and four minutes of stoppage time with the 2-0 lead. Excellent job from Philly to put this one away early.
Second Half Summary
Chicago started out the half with an early chance at goal. After some moments spent around the Union box, a Gimenez header was put on target for Blake. Unfortunately, Philly was unable to keep Chicago away from their net. Jack Elliott soon attempted a clearance, but it was turned over by Chicago. The ball found its way to the right foot of Mueller, and the Fire finally broke through onto the scoreboard. Not the start you wanted from Philly, 2-1 Union.
Philly reacted, and they did it quickly. Only four minutes later, the Union earned their third goal. Daniel sent a leading ball behind the Chicago back line, and Mikael found himself 1 v 1 against Slonina. Chicago's goalie was able to keep Mikael from scoring, but the rebound was chipped into the net by Carranza. Once again, the Union had themselves a comfortable two goal lead.
Earlier in the match, there was some controversy between Gimenez and Ale Bedoya. Gimenez visibly went out of his way to stomp on Bedoya's foot, but VAR was not called. From seeing the reactions on Twitter, it certainly appeared that the fans wanted a red card for Gimenez. A few minutes after the Union's third goal, Gimenez went down grabbing his right leg after he was fighting for a ball. Unfortunately for the Fire, Gimenez was taken off the pitch on a stretcher. It seems like Karma stepped in on that one...
The Union made a handful of subs over the course of the half. Cory, Martinez, Paxten, and Quinn replaced Uhre, Flach, Daniel, and Carranza. Cory, however, stood out amongst the four subs. In the 82nd minute, Olivier Mbaizo led the charge down the right side of the pitch. He then sent a low cross to the feet of Cory Burke, who did well to box out the crashing defender. Burke then turned and sent his shot into the back of the net, notching his 7th goal against Chicago. The icing on the cake is when Cory ran to the sideline and celebrated by eating a banana?! That's a new one.
The Union pushed for the fifth goal, but the head official eventually called the match, and Philly walked off with three points. What an excellent response after the 3-1 defeat against Cincy. That's exactly the performance you wanted from your first place club. DOOP
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323 on Twitter)