Philadelphia Union 3, Chicago Fire 1 | 2017 MLS Match Recap
On Saturday night against the Chicago Fire, Pontius scored his first two goals of the season to lead the Union to a 3-1 win at Talen Energy Stadium.
The result snapped a six-game winless streak for the Union, who are on the verge of elimination from the playoff race regardless.
It also ended a three-game unbeaten streak for the Fire, who were without star midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (calf injury) for the third straight contest and remain four points behind New York City FC for a coveted top two spot in the Eastern Conference.
- 10' — PHI — Chris Pontius WATCH
- 55' — PHI — Chris Pontius WATCH
- 64' — PHI — CJ Sapong WATCH
- 67' — CHI — Luis Solignac WATCH
- A LONG TIME COMING: It’s been a rough go of it for Pontius this season after a breakout 12-goal season earned him a 2016 MLS Comeback Player of the Year nod and US national team callups. Despite starting the 2017 campaign with six assists through 11 games, Pontius had been held completely off the scoreboard before breaking a 2,000-plus-minute goal drought early in Saturday's game. With Pontius approaching free agency, confirmed by the attacker himself, building off that brace for the final few games of 2017 could do wonders for the 30-year-old’s confidence and value.
- NEW-LOOK MIDFIELD: As attacking midfielders Roland Alberg and Ilsinho continue to be plagued by inconsistency, Union head coach Jim Curtin went with a new look, starting Warren Creavalle in the defensive midfield behind Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin, both of whom usually play in a deeper role. It’s fair to say it worked well with all three defensive-minded midfielders stifling Chicago’s attack for much of the night while still successfully pushing the attack forward.
- MISSING BASTIAN: The Fire have proven to be a deep enough club to overcome the absence of a player as talented and experienced as Schweinsteiger, rolling to a 3-0 win without him last week vs. D.C. United. But in a tricky trap game vs. a ninth-place Union team that’s been formidable at home, Chicago didn’t generate many dangerous chances aside from Solignac’s 67th-minute goal. And now, even when Schweinsteiger returns, Saturday's result will make it trickier for the Fire to do enough in their final four games to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.
They Said It
Deadpan Warren Creavalle on if he's happy to see Chris Pontius break season-long goalless streak: "Nope."— Ryan Bright (@RBrightUnion) September 24, 2017
- PHI: Wednesday, September 27 at Atlanta United FC (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
- CHI: Wednesday, September 27 at San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
Bid on a Bastian Schweinsteiger autographed jersey. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Children's Oncology Group, whose mission is to find better cures for childhood and adolescent cancer.