BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Despite pressuring for a late equalizing goal, Philadelphia Union fell 1-0 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday night. Dominic Oduro's 28th minute goal stood as the game-winner, as the short-handed Union remain winless on the season through three matches.
With Philadelphia missing three players to Olympic qualifying duty as well as captain Danny Califf, who didn't make the trip to work on building his strength following offseason knee surgery, the Fire provided most of the scoring chances in their home opener.
The Fire controlled the game in the first half, taking nine shots to the Union’s two.
Oduro put Chicago on the board in the 28th minute of the game, heading home a Marco Pappa cross within the near post to give the home side a 1-0 advantage.
Oduro nearly doubled his total in the 40th minute, when he collected a through pass from Patrick Nyarko before veering around goalkeeper Zac MacMath. Oduro was forced to shoot from a sharp angle and Union defender Chris Albright was able to steer the ball off the line with a sliding clearance.
Early in the second half, Pappa made the Union defense sweat, smacking a hard shot against outside of the post.
Despite the disparity in scoring chances, the Union surged ahead in the final 10 minutes of the match and nearly leveled the score in the 82nd minute, when Gabriel Gomez’s 25-yard free kick was parried away by goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi.
Two minutes later, Gomez again lined up a free kick from the corner of the penalty area. Tornaghi was caught out of position while several players crashed the goal, but the Italian was able to make a fingertip save to preserve the narrow lead.
With the Union pressing, Oduro sprung through the Union defense twice on the counter attack, but one breakaway shot was saved by MacMath and the other opportunity ended with an errant pass.
A late scramble by the Union wasn't to be, as the visitors were unable to find a game-tying goal in the waning moments.
The Union will look for their first points of the season next Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps at PPL Park. The 4:00 p.m. match will be broadcast on 6abc.
HIGHLIGHTS: Chicago 1, Philadelphia 0