By IAN HOLLIDAY
The Philadelphia Union dominated early and held on late to earn the first shutout in club history. A 36th-minute Sebastien Le Toux goal was the difference as the Union defeated the Chicago Fire, 1-0, at PPL Park on Saturday.
For the Fire, now winless in five matches, the loss is another blow to the club's playoff chances. Chicago remains at least six points adrift of San Jose (depending on the 'Quakes result later tonight) in the race for the final wild-card spot, and the Fire no longer has the games in hand it once did.
Le Toux's goal was well deserved for a Philadelphia side that had controlled possession for most of the first half. The Fire looked to have stopped a Union break, but Dasan Robinson was unable to control an errant Alejandro Moreno pass, and the ball fell to Justin Mapp, who fed a wide open Le Toux. The Frenchman took two touches and drove a low shot past goalkeeper Sean Johnson at the near post.
Collins John had a chance to equalize five minutes later, but his hard shot was right at Union goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
Things got better for the Fire in the second half with the additions of Calen Carr and Mike Banner providing pace on the flanks and Freddie Ljungberg moving to a more central midfield role. The best chance of the second half came in the 76th minute when Kinney sent a cross to the back post for Banner, who redirected it across the goal mouth for Carr. The substitute had an open goal in front of him, but he couldn't keep his header down, and the ball sailed harmlessly into the crowd.
The Fire lmost opened the scoring against the run of play in the ninth minute when Steven Kinney headed home a Nery Castillo free kick, but the linesman ruled both Kinney and John offside.
Both teams will look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive on the road against teams currently in playoff position next week. The Union visit San Jose on Wednesday, and the Fire play in Salt Lake on Saturday.
Here are the highlights from tonight's game:
What did you think of the match? Impressed with Philadelphia's performance? Disappointed with Chicago's form in a vital match?
Share your thoughts below.
JacMac, Mwanga, and I think Okugo as well are all Generation Adidas players and therefore do not need to be protected
As a Fire fan I can agree he’s not quite the goon that Fred is but Conde has been a thorn in our defensive side.
Am I the only Fire fan here that thinks Collins John is overrated and should be warming the bench?
Yeah,I can’t say how embarrassed I was by Fred’s antics yesterday. It’s just been getting worse with him and he just doesn’t have the skills to “put up with” that sort of stuff.
If I was making the Protected 11 list, it’d be:
Le Toux, Mwanga, JacMac, Okugo, Gonzalez, Mapp, Wlliams, Miglioranzi, Nakazawa, Knighton…
that’s only 10 so whomever else as I don’t care really. all the rest can go imo.
Torres is a loaner, wouldn’t mind keeping him. Fiscal, don’t care if he goes back to San Luis.
Much respect form a Fire fan.
Union Fan here and I must say I really hope Fred gets traded or taken in the ex draft. The man brings so little to the game for being our highest paid player. That dive and the injury he faked yesterday are not Union soccer.
Seattle and San Jose are going to be a lock to make it soon, the way things are going.
Toronto plays SLC this week. The lose that they are 5 points down with an extra game played.
Conde is a goon
So, how’s Castillo working out for you guys?
Agreed. That was clearly a dive and the referee was right there to see it.
Fred should have been booked for the dive at the end.