The Philadelphia Union salvage 3 points after another sloppy game with a 1-0 victory over Chicago Fire FC on Saturday night. On a cold 40-degree night, the Philadelphia Union welcomed the Chicago Fire to Chester, PA. This tough-fought matchup started off chippy right from the rip. A bad foul by captain Alejandro Bedoya put Chicago in a great position to strike first just 1 minute into the game. The free kick was played in by the second highest-paid player in the MLS, Xherdan Shaqiri, and put just wide of the net by Fire Defender Rafael Czichos.
This was not the way Philly wanted to start game 3 of the regular season. Especially after the struggles they have had lately. Minutes later, Julian Carranza had a chance to put the Union on the board when he played a beautiful corner kick off his right foot that had Firekeeper Chris Brady beat. Still, Gaston Gimenez was in a position to clear the ball out of the line for Chicago.
With all the concerns fans might have about Philadelphia’s play so far this season, the biggest concern came in the 29th minute. The reigning goalkeeper of the year made an amazing save on former Union striker Kacper Pryzbylko’s header. He came up visibly in pain holding his groin. When asked about an update on Andre’s injury in the press conference, Curtin said: “ With a groin injury, I always fear the worst. Again, Andre has been a quick healer in the past but we don’t want to speculate to much until we get pictures.”.
Keeper Joe Bendik replaced Blake and will be counted on to help this Union team win games until Blake returns from his injury. The Union continued their poor play. They ended the first 45 minutes the same way they did their last four halves of play with zero doops. That makes that three straight contests they were held scoreless in the first half.
The Second Half
With temperatures falling to start, the second-half tragedy struck for the Men in red in the 50th minute. Fabian Herbers was shown his second yellow of the game. He was sent off the pitch, dropping Chicago to just ten men with 40 minutes to play. Even with the man advantage, the Union still couldn’t capitalize on or build any dangerous attacks. That’s when Head Coach Jim Curtin turned to Philadelphia’s biggest offseason acquisition, midfielder Joaquin Torres for a spark. Torres brought that spark.
His speed and ball control started putting Chicago on their heels. After 20 minutes of play, that spark finally paid off. Torres got the ball right outside the box, cut in, and took a shot on net that took a bad hop in front of the Fire goalkeeper. It found its way in the back of the net giving the Union the 1-0 lead and the victory. No matter how you look at it, the Union got the 3 points in a game they didn’t play well. That is important early in the season with a team still trying to get their footing. Philadelphia extended their home unbeaten streak to 25 games Saturday night. The Philadelphia Union salvage 3 points after another sloppy game with a 1-0 victory over Chicago Fire FC.
Looking Forward to Alianza
Another short week means another CCL game for the boys in blue. Tuesday will mark Philadelphia’s 4th game in 11 days. Alianza comes to Subaru Park for the 2nd leg of the Concacaf Champion League’s 1st round. The question for this matchup is what starting lineup Jim Curtin will go with. Considering the last game vs. Alianza saw him give eight players their first starts of the year. After a 0-0 draw on a terrible field in El Salvador, Philadelphia will look to get back to form on Tuesday. They will look to advance past a weak Alianza team at home.
My name is Diego Bianchi born and raised in Philadelphia. I’m a sports analyst, writer, and show host covering Philadelphia sports for Edge of Philly Sports. I also am a credentialed media member covering the Philadelphia Union for EOP. My passion for sports started since forever ago. At least, it feels like that. Thanks to my amazing family. I love doing this every day. You can catch me every Monday night on the Sully Squad at 6 PM on Edge of Philly Sports.