Match preview: Getting back to winning ways against Chicago

Union eager to capture a sweep of the Fire Saturday (7:30 p.m.)

 

Chicago Fire at Philadelphia Union

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pa.; Tickets: purchase tickets

TV: Comcast Network with play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Alejandro Moreno

Radio: None; Online: Watch live via www.mlssoccer.com/live or Follow action via Twitter @TheUMatchday

Referees: Allen Chapman (main), Eric Boria, Kevin Klinger, Kevin Terry Jr. (fourth)

All-time (eight meetings):  Union four wins (10 goals); Fire three wins, (nine goals); Ties: 1
 

 

Defeating a team twice in the same season isn’t easy.

How about accomplishing the same feat in one week?

“No, it’s not easy at all, but the reality is we just need three points,” said Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. “It just so happens the opponent Saturday is Chicago again. We just need a win.”

MacMath played arguably the best match of his young career in a 1-0 victory over the Fire last Saturday at Toyota Park.

But the Union came back and fell 4-1 to the two-time defending MLS Cup winners Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday.

Philadelphia (4-4-3, 15 points) can erase that disappointment with three points against the Fire (2-6-1, seven points) again on Saturday.

“We’re all professional players in this locker room,” MacMath said. “We have to put bad games behind us and come back prepared and ready to play. We left points behind against the (Galaxy), so we need to pick them back up against a team we beat last week. It won’t be easy, but nothing is easy in this league. We have to come back focused and ready to play.”

Defender Sheanon Williams is one of the most competitive players on the Union. He despises losing.

Having the chance for redemption so soon is the perfect recipe.

“For me, playing the Fire for the first time this year will be a completely different game from both teams,” said Williams, who missed the first meeting because of a red card. “Both teams will change their tactics and play a lot differently. Playing at home we want to be on the front foot and get after it. I’m sure we’ll be motivated and I’m excited to be playing again because we need the points.”

The Union also need to re-establish their homefield advantage. The club is just 1-2-2 thus far in 2013.

“It is tough because we try to talk about it make it a home, in front of the Sons of Ben, a fortress,” said steady centerback Amobi Okugo. “But so far, we have only won one in five games. These games are going to come by quick, we need to start picking up wins before the end of the season, because then it will be over. It’s a matter of consistency and playing for 90 minutes. We played a very, very good first half (against Los Angeles) and then they took it to us in the second half.

“We just have to come out with the mentality of playing a full, consistent 90 minutes and we’ll be just fine.”

Getting off to a strong start is a major factor.

“When you fall behind, you’re playing uphill,” Williams said. “We can’t let that happen. We have to keep our foot on the gas from the beginning."

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com