Philadelphia Union held Chicago Fire scoreless for 90 minutes but fell by a 1-0 margin in the club’s second friendly.
Playing at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in sunny Clearwater, Florida, the nearly 120-minute match saw both sides give extended playing time to both starters and reserves as the MLS season kicks off in less than a month.
The opening half saw some midseason physicality as four yellow cards were split amongst the two sides. Chicago Fire FC came out of the gates with a pair of decent scoring chances in the first 20 minutes of the contest but defending MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake was a brick wall to keep the match scoreless. The Union defense was tested in the 19th minute but a combination of Blake and a strong run by Jack Elliott saw a goalline clearance from a quick attack by Chicago’s Robert Beric.
The Union responded with chances later the opening 45 minutes, with strong play on the flanks by Kai Wagner and Olivier Mbaizo. In the 30th minute, Mbaizo picked out homegrown Jack de Vries whose header snuck over the crossbar. Moments later, the right back picked out Anthony Fontana inside the 18-yard-box but both the homegrown and Kacper Przybylko were denied by Chicago goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
As time ticked down on the starters’ 60-minutes of play, the turned up the pressure and generated one final scoring chance just before leaving the pitch. The 59th minute chance started with the Union’s defense as de Vries won a ball near the midfield stripe and quickly started a counter attack with a pass to captain Alejandro Bedoya. The Union captain raced up the pitch and found Kacper Przybylko on the right wing who dribbled centrally into the box but saw his shot go high.
Jim Curtin’s second squad came out young and hungry to against Chicago, pressing and defending over the final 30 minutes of regulation. Both sides battled back and forth with the only action seeing a save from Joe Bendik in the 77th minute.
In the extra period that consisted of 25 minutes of play, Chicago broke through as Przemyslaw Frankowski threaded a pass to Javier Casas Jr. inside the Union’s box. Bendik got a glove on the Casas shot however the shot trickled in.
The Boys in Blue fought back into the contest in the late moments with a pair of chances that nearly bagged an equalizer. Homegrown Quinn Sullivan went from defense to offense on the right side of the pitch, flicking a cross to de Vries but the keeper made the stop. The final play of the match too nearly saw the tying goal but Aurelien Collin’s header was off the mark.
Philadelphia Union concludes its stay in Florida with one more preseason contest as they’ll face off against Orlando City SC once more. Kick off is set for Wednesday, March 24th at 12:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the action through the Union’s live blog on PhiladelphiaUnion.com starting just before kick off.
CHI – Javier Casas Jr. (Frankowski) 100’
PHI – Jose Martinez (caution) 8’
PHI – Anthony Fontana (caution) 31’
CHI – Johan Kappelhof (caution) 37’
CHI – Brian Gutiérrez (caution) 40’
PHI – Kai Wagner (caution) 61’
Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake (Joe Bendik 72’), Kai Wagner (Matt Real 61’), Jack Elliott (Aurelien Collin 61’), Jakob Glesnes (Brandan Craig 61’), Olivier Mbaizo (Nathan Harriel (61’); Jose Martinez (Cole Turner 26’), Jamiro Monteiro (Matej Oravec 61’), Alejandro Bedoya (Quinn Sullivan 61’), Anthony Fontana (Jack McGlynn 61’), Jack de Vries (Paxten Aaronson 61’), Kacper Przybylko (Ilsinho 61’, de Vries 97’).