Chester Pa. (September 11, 2010) – Sebastien Le Toux continued his torrid season for Philadelphia Union, scoring his 11th goal of the season to help his club earn a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire. With Brad Knighton replacing Chris Seitz in net, the Union secured their first shutout in league play in franchise history, while Justin Mapp notched an assist for the fourth game in a row in all competitions against his former club. The victory extended Philadelphia's unbeaten run to three matches in league play and four in all competitions.
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It appeared as though Chicago struck early when Nery Castillo's expertly taken free kick was headed past Knighton in the ninth minute, but Steven Kinney's apparent goal was waived by an oddside call.
With Philadelphia controlling the majority of possession in the early going, first-time starter Sheanon Williams nearly helped the club get on the board first in the 10th minute with a rifle of a throw-in from 40 yards out into the middle of Chicago’s area, but a collection of Union players were unable to knock it home.
Chicago’s second chance came in the 32nd minute when Freddie Ljungberg found the ball at his feet 10 yards from goal, but his angled blast was stifled by a huge save from Brad Knighton to preserve the scoreless draw.
Philadelphia superiority in the run of play paid dividends in the 36th minute when Le Toux found himself all alone with Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson after receiving a weighted through ball in space from Mapp. Le Toux took one touch into the area to line up a shot from 15 yards away, making no mistake shooting across his body to put the Union up 1-0.
Philadelphia mustered another two chances shortly after the goal, but Le Toux's low cross for Moreno was deflected away by Johnson and Mapp's service moments later failed to connect with anyone on the receiving end.
In the 44th minute, Knighton made another big save on John, who cracked a shot from within the area to the right of the goal. After knocking the attempt over the endline, Knighton punched away the ensuing corner before cleanly nabbing a second consecutive corner out of the air before the half.
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Chicago had two chances to equalize midway through the second half, the first coming in the 65th minute when Knighton came flying out of the box only to lose a battle with Patrick Nyarko for possession. Nyarko sent a low cross into the area with Knighton still out of position, but the Union were lucky that Williams was able to get the first touch and put the service out for a corner. Two minutes later, Nyarko sent another dangerous cross across the width of the goalmouth, but it went over everyone with the Union’s far post exposed.
The Fire had another opportunity in the 76th minute when second half substitute Mike Banner headed a service back across the area to fellow sub Calen Carr, but the Chicago veteran’s header from close-range skied over the crossbar.
Le Toux nearly secured a brace in the 78th minute when he was sent free along the right touchline, but his angled strike found the side netting despite an uproar from the sellout crowd of 18,563.
Chicago was unable to find a late equalizer, improving the Union's record to 6-11-6 overall and 4-2-5 at home. The shutout was the first of Knighton's career. Following the victory, Philadelphia will take to the road for a Wednesday tilt against the San Jose Earthquakes. The match will start at 10:00pm ET.
PHI – Sebastien Le Toux 11 (Justin Mapp 3) 36’
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Dasan Robinson, Deris Umanzor, Wilman Conde, Steven Kinney, Patrick Nyarko, Baggio Husidic (Calen Carr 46), Freddie Ljungberg, Logan Pause, Nery Castillo (Corben Bone 86), Collins John (Mike Banner 57).
Substitutes Not Used: Krzysztof Krol, Peter Lowry, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Andrew Dykstra.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 8; OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 3
Philadelphia Union -- Brad Knighton, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jordan Harvey, Sebastien Le Toux, Andrew Jacobson, Stefani Miglioranzi, Justin Mapp (Kyle Nakazawa 77), Alejandro Moreno (Shea Salinas 69), Danny Mwanga (Fred 55).
Substitutes Not Used: Cristian Arrieta, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo, Chris Seitz.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 10; OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 4
CHI -- Freddie Ljungberg (caution; Dissent) 36
CHI -- Wilman Conde (caution; Reckless Tackle) 47+
PHI -- Andrew Jacobson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 60
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee's Assistants: Bill Dittmar; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Andrew Chapin
Time of Game: 1:52