Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union | 2016 MLS Match Preview
CHICAGO FIRE vs. PHILADELPHIA UNION
Toyota Park | Bridgeview, Illinois
Saturday, September 3 | Week #26 | MLS Game #268
8:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE)
A key contest in the shape of the Eastern Conference playoff chase is ahead when the Chicago Fire play host to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire sit nine points behind the red line in the conference with nine games to play, returning home following a 6-2 loss at D.C. United last weekend. Union have moved into third place in the East, three points out of the top spot, after winning a second game in a row in a 2-0 defeat of Sporting Kansas City last Saturday evening at Talen Energy Stadium.
- The Fire conceded a club record-equaling six goals – achieved previously on the final day of the 2003 season – falling 6-2 to D.C. United on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. Michael de Leeuw did net the Fire goal while adding an assist.
- Union won their second game on the trot, snapping a three-game winless run at Talen Energy Stadium, defeating Sporting Kansas City 2-0 on Saturday evening. Roland Alberg scored his ninth goal of the season – all over the club’s last 13 matches – while also setting up the second.
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, each winning on their home ground. Roland Alberg netted a hat trick and Union held off a late comeback for a 4-3 win June 22 at Talen Energy Stadium; Kennedy Igboananike scored the game’s lone goal six minutes into the second half to give the Fire a 1-0 win April 2 at Toyota Park.
- The Union win in the last meeting snapped a seven-game winless streak in the league series. The Fire had won three matches, with four draws, since the last Philadelphia victory in the series, May 18, 2013 in Chester.
- The Fire have won the last two meetings at Toyota Park, their first wins at home vs. Union since 2012; Philadelphia had won two of the four Bridgeview meetings in between, with two draws.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Eric Boria; AR2 (opposite): Logan Brown; 4th: Marcos de Oliveira
MLS Career: 218 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 76; pens: 77
SUSPENDED: CHI: Khaly Thiam (through Sept. 3)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Raymon Gaddis
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Matt Polster, David Accam -- PHI: Brian Carroll, Ken Tribbett, Tranquillo Barnetta
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHI: David Arshakyan (Armenia; 8/31 at Czech Republic; 9/4 at Denmark); David Accam (Ghana; 9/3 vs. Rwanda; 9/6 at Russia); Collin Fernandez (Peru U-20) -- PHI: Alejandro Bedoya (USA; 9/2 at St. Vincent and the Grenadines; 9/6 vs. Trinidad & Tobago); Andre Blake (Jamaica; 9/2 at Panama; 9/6 vs. Haiti)
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Fire 6 wins, 23 goals -- Union 6 wins, 23 goals -- Ties 5
AT CHICAGO (9 meetings): Fire 4 wins, 10 goals -- Union 2 wins, 9 goals -- Ties 3
4/2: CHI 1, PHI 0 (Igboananike 51)
6/22: PHI 4, CHI 3 (own goal 11; Alberg 15, 46+, 56 - Accam 2; Cocis 69; Thiam 80)
- Coaches record: Veljko Paunovic vs. PHI: P2 W1 L1 T0 -- Jim Curtin vs. CHI: P6 W1 L2 T3
LAST MEETING (MLS):
- The Fire took the lead after just two minutes. David Accam won the ball in midfield, raced past a defender into the penalty area then poked an angled shot past Union goalkeeper Andre Blake for the opener.
- Union were level in the 11th minute when Roland Alberg sent a shot toward goal that bounced off Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson, ricocheted off the post and then deflected off defender Jonathan Campbell into his own goal.
- Alberg then gave Union a two-goal lead by halftime with a pair of goals from rebounds. In the 15th minute, a Tranquillo Barnetta shot from outside of the box hit the post, eventually coming back to Alberg who buried the ball in the back of the net. Then during stoppage time, Alberg saw a first opportunity from a shot saved by Johnson blocked by a Fire defender, but he regathered the ball and put it home.
- Union made it 4-1 in the 56th minute when Alberg completed his hat trick from the penalty spot, converting after Chris Pontius was dragged down after a run into the box.
- The Fire pulled back to within one on a pair of goals from corner kick. Razvan Cocis snuck in at the near post to touch home a ball played in from a short corner in the 69th minute, then Khaly Thiam was able to turn one home with 10 minutes remaining, but it wasn't enough for the visitors.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake - Keegan Rosenberry, Ken Tribbett (Joshua Yaro 46), Richard Marquez, Fabinho - Roland Alberg (Warren Creavalle 77), Brian Carroll - Ilsinho (Sebastien Le Toux 72), Tranquillo Barnetta, Chris Pontius - Fabian Herbers.
- CHICAGO FIRE (3-4-1-2): Sean Johnson - Eric Gehrig (John Goossens 60), Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof - Michael Harrington (Rodrigo Ramos 46), Khaly Thiam, Michael Stephens (Alex Morrell 85), Brandon Vincent - Razvan Cocis - David Accam, Kennedy Igboananike.