Bridgeview, IL (June 5, 2010) – Despite controlling possession throughout the match, Philadelphia Union fell 2-1 to the Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Toyota Park. Goals from Baggio Husidic and Marco Pappa were enough to hold off the Union, who received a third straight stoppage time goal from rookie Danny Mwanga.
"I believe that we tried to open them up," said Union manager Peter Nowak. "We tried different things -- overlapping over the wings, trying to break them down the middle. Like I said if you set 40 yards with 10 people it’s very difficult to open them up. As I said, this is a good lesson for all of us. We have to work on that because this kind of stuff could happen along the way. I think that the people will start to open their eyes about our team and on the way we play. That’s probably the way the teams will play against us, so we have to be ready for it.”
The Union dictated the tempo throughout the first half, but Chicago struck first. After receiving a pass from Justin Mapp, Patrick Nyarko beat Cristian Arrieta along the left flank, dribbling in to the edge of the six-yard box. With the Union’s defense bearing down, Nyarko found Husidic in front of the net for an easy tap-in goal to put Chicago up 1-0.
"In this game it was tough because we give up an early goal, certainly against the run of play, and now we have to take the game and figure out how to break them down," said coach John Hackworth after the match. "We didn’t do a great job of that tonight. Despite having the ball a huge amount of that game, we didn’t create enough true goal scoring opportunities and we didn’t finish the chances we had."
Chris Seitz kept the Union deficit to only a goal minutes later, one of many big saves on the night for the 'keeper, managing to get his fingertips on a Pappa shot from 14 yards out destined for the upper-ninety.
Sebastien Le Toux nearly equalized before the halftime whistle, but his strike from distance narrowly missed the top left corner of the net.
“There’s a little bit of frustration," said forward Sebastien Le Toux, who assisted on Mwanga's goal. "We had some good opportunities, I had some in the first half. I almost scored in the first half after five minutes. We got some chances again and we played some good balls in but unfortunately we didn’t score.”
Philadelphia came out aggressively in the second half, substituting Danny Mwanga and Roger Torres for Kyle Nakazawa and Cristian Arrieta. But Chicago would get the first chance after the break, nearly taking a two-goal lead in the 47th minute. After a foul by Michael Orozco Fiscal 25 yards away the goal, Pappa’s free kick hit the crossbar, keeping the score at 1-0.
Le Toux registered the first shot on goal of the night for Philadelphia in the 69th minute, blasting a free kick from 40 yards out that forced Chicago goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to make a strong save.
Chicago would strike again in the 74th minute, despite another terrific save from Seitz moments prior. After Seitz’s diving effort denied Mapp from 15 yards out, a blown clearance from Stefani Miglioranzi enabled Pappa to get another look in the box. Pappa converted, slotting the ball into the left corner of the net to give the Fire a 2-0 advantage.
The Union finally got on the board with time running out. After Shea Salinas played a ball to Mwanga at the top of the box, Mwanga headed the ball down to Le Toux, who gave the ball right back to Mwanga in traffic. Mwanga turned and calmly passed the ball into the back of the net to bring Philadelphia within a goal.
The late goal wasn’t enough, as the final whistle blew minutes later with Chicago up 2-1. Union will look to bounce back against the Kansas City Wizards on Thursday night, the eighth away match out of the club’s first ten. The road will get easier from there, as Philadelphia will open PPL Park on June 27th after MLS' World Cup break, with 13 of Philadelphia's final 20 league matches coming at home.
“I think we need to continue to do what we have been doing," said Captain Danny Califf. "I think tonight it was a 2-1 result where we had a lot of good chances and we’re doing the right things. I think we need to continue to believe and believe in the system the coaching staff has set out. Things will turn around. I’m confident in that. We’re a good team. We’re a much better team than we showed."
“Work," Nowak added when asked what his club will do over the World Cup break. "There’s no such thing as being on a break."
CHI – Baggio Husidic 3 (Patrick Nyarko 6, Justin Mapp 2) 14’
CHI – Marco Pappa 3 (Unassisted) 74’
PHI – Danny Mwanga 3 (Sebastien Le Toux 3) 92’
PHI -- Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 22
CHI -- C.J. Brown (caution; Reckless Tackle) 45
CHI -- Brian McBride (caution; Dissent) 70
Philadelphia Union (2-6-1) -- Chris Seitz; Cristian Arrieta (Roger Torres 46), Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jordan Harvey; Shea Salinas, Fred (Nick Zimmerman 82), Stefani Miglioranzi, Kyle Nakazawa (Danny Mwanga 46); Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Jacobson, Shavar Thomas, Amobi Okugo, Brad Knighton
Shots: 11; SOG: 2; Fouls: 10; Corner kicks: 5; Offsides: 3; Saves: 4
Chicago Fire (3-3-4) -- Andrew Dykstra; Dasan Robinson, C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde, Krzysztof Krol; Patrick Nyarko, Baggio Husidic, Logan Pause, Justin Mapp (Peter Lowry 90); Marco Pappa, Brian McBride.
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Banner, Julio Martinez, Deris Umanzor, Corben Bone, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Sean Johnson
Shots: 11; SOG: 6; Fouls: 14; Corner kicks: 2; Offsides: 3; Saves: 1
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; James Conlee
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda