Chicago Fire 2, Philadelphia Union 0 | 2019 MLS Match Recap

Nemanja Nikolic stayed hot and the Chicago Fire cooled down the first-place Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

Nikolic’s two first-half goals proved to be enough for the 10-man Fire, who played down a man the entire second half but held on for an important 2-0 home win at SeatGeek Stadium. 

Chicago controlled play throughout the first half with Nikolic bagging the game’s first goal in the 38th minute, tapping in a deflected cross from Przemyslaw Frankowski at the near post. 

The striker completed the brace — his fifth goal in four games — with a 45th-minute penalty kick after Union defender Aurelien Collin took down former Philly forward CJ Sapong in the box.

Philly got a lease on life when Nicolas Gaitan was sent off just before halftime, as the Fire midfielder was shown a straight red for a dangerous slide tackle from behind on Jamiro Monteiro

But the Union missed the target on their best scoring chances after the break, as their two-game winning streak came to an end.

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  • 38' — CHI — Nemanja Nikolic | WATCH
  • 45' — CHI — Nemanja Nikolic (PK) | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: With three wins in their last four, the Fire are making a postseason push at the right time, currently sitting just below the playoff line. The Union are far more comfortable with their spot in the Eastern Conference table but could see company at the top soon with Atlanta hot on their heels.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The penalty call on Collin, who recently supplanted Homegrown Auston Trusty in the starting lineup, put the Fire in a great position before halftime. The red on Gaitan could have been equally decisive but the Union just couldn’t take advantage of playing up a man for an entire half.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: It’s gotta be the game’s only goal-scorer. In addition to his good run of form this month, Nikolic now has scored 50 career goals for the Fire — including six in the five games he’s played against the Union.

Next Up

  • CHI: Saturday, August 24 at New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada)
  • PHI: Saturday, August 24 vs. D.C. United (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada)
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