A look at the series history between the Union and Eastern Conference foe the Chicago Fire

Union and Fire prep for eighth all-time showdown

 

You’ll always see an entertaining matchup when Philadelphia and Chicago get together.

The series has been split right down the middle since 2010, with three wins for the Union, three wins for the Fire, and just one draw in seven total matches.

Four of the first five games in this series were tight affairs, decided by a single goal. The two most recent matches were up-tempo affairs, with eight total goals and a whole lot of aggressive attacking play.

This Saturday’s matchup in Bridgeview will be the eighth between the two clubs.

1. June 10, 2010 – Chicago 2, Philadelphia 1 (Toyota Park)

Goals: Husidic 14’, Pappa 74’, Mwanga 90’

Philadelphia entered this match on a two-game unbeaten streak, looking to build off the club’s first ever road win, a 3-2 result in Houston.

It was poor defense and a great solo effort from Patrick Nyarko that led to Chicago’s first goal. The Fire winger beat Cristian Arrieta wide, pushed to the endline, and played an easy cross for Baggio Husidic to tap home.

It would prove to be the game winner.

Marco Pappa doubled the Fire lead in the 74th minute, and Danny Mwanga’s stoppage time strike, his third goal in three games, was merely a consolation prize.

2. September 11, 2010 – Philadelphia 1, Chicago 0 (PPL Park)

Goals: Le Toux 36’

This was the first Union win against Chicago and first clean sheet in franchise history.

Goalkeeper Brad Knighton started in place of Chris Seitz for this game. Sheanon Williams and Justin Mapp had recently joined Peter Nowak’s club, which was coming off a win and a draw in back-to-back games.

Ironically enough, it was Mapp who assisted against his former team, playing in Sebastien Le Toux for the game’s only goal. Streaking in from a wide left position, the Frenchman gathered Mapp’s diagonal ball and beat Sean Johnson with a great near post shot.

3. May 21, 2011 – Philadelphia 2, Chicago 1 (PPL Park)

Goals: M. Farfan 64’, Oduro 67’, Ruiz 74’

Who can forget the goal that Carlos Ruiz scored in this game? Most supporters would tell you that it was the best goal scored in Union history.

It was also a game-winner. Pescadito’s crazy volley (with his weak foot, mind you) earned the Union three points, ended a three-game winless streak, and started a four-game unbeaten streak.

Michael Farfan also scored his first professional goal in this game, and the Union extended their home unbeaten run to seven games going back to the 2010 season.

4. August 3, 2011 – Philadelphia 1, Chicago 1 (Toyota Park)

Goals: Paunovic 34’, Pardo 54’

If Ruiz’s goal was the best, then Paunovic’s strike in this game isn’t far behind. Philadelphia’s Serbian forward hit a laser shot in the 34th  minute that beat Johnson from about 30 yards out.

It was good enough to earn the Union a road draw, but debutant Pavel Pardo’s equalizer was the product of both sloppy defending and a bit of ball watching from the Union midfield.

5. March 24th, 2012 – Chicago 1, Philadelphia 0 (Toyota Park)

Goals: Oduro 28’

The 2012 Union had lost their first two games of the season and needed points in Chicago.

It was Dominic Oduro who scored first, his second goal against the Union in as many years. The 28th minute game-winner was a rare header from the speedy forward, scored after Marco Pappa was able to beat both Gabriel Gomez and Roger Torres near the touchline.

Philadelphia’s 3-5-2 formation played fairly well in this game, but could not break down the Chicago defense. Backup goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi had a pair of huge free kick stops in the second half, and the Fire held on for a 1-0 shutout win.

6. August 12, 2012 – Chicago 3, Philadelphia 1 (PPL Park)

Goals: Anibaba 34’ (Own goal), Rolfe 43’, Friedrich 45’, Rolfe 56’

Philadelphia came into this game on a four game home winning streak.

It started well enough, with the Union taking a 1-0 lead on a Jalil Anibaba own-goal. Freddy Adu hit a dangerous driven cross that just barely skimmed Chandler Hoffman’s head. The forward claims a touch, but replay shows the ball landed at Anibaba’s feet and rolled into the net.

It fell apart soon after, when Chicago scored twice before halftime. Arne Friedrich easily headed home a corner kick and Chris Rolfe completed his brace to seal a 3-1 Fire victory.

7. October 3, 2012 – Philadelphia 3, Chicago 1 (Toyota Park)

Goals: McInerney 7’, Gomez 67’, Oduro 69’, Hoppenot 87’

Strangely enough, the third game of the 2012 series was another 3-1 result, this time in Philadelphia’s favor.

Jack McInerney, Gabriel Gomez, and Antoine Hoppenot all scored quality goals, Guillermo Franco was red carded, and the playoff-eliminated Union earned a nice late-season win. 

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com