Andre Blake set Philadelphia Union’s all-time record for saves, but it was the goals that were the big story as Haris Medunjanin’s glorious opener was overshadowed by the work of David Accam and Cory Burke.
King David returns
Chicago Fire dealt David Accam away in the offseason and announced that his replacement, Alexander Katai, would be sticking around for a while just before the match began. Apparently, Accam wanted to let Veljko Paunovic know what got away.
After entering for the injured Ilsinho in the first half, Accam was relentlessly aggressive with the ball, and he was close to setting up Fafa Picault before the half-hour mark. Still, this season has been about close-but-no-cigar for the winger, and it was clear he was ready to get his name in lights. After Chicago tied things up deep in extra time, the stage was set. Accam collected the ball, bullied his way through two sizable defenders, and uncorked a blast that hapless goalie Richard Sanchez could only admire as it fizzed past him and spun like a top just inside the far post. Excitement and relief tangoed on Accam’s face as he celebrated his stunning winner with teammates.
Burke bosses the back line
Cory Burke is big, strong, relentless, and, most importantly, scoring goals for a team that needs them. After launching himself at what looked to be a hopeless cause and knocking in the Union’s second goal just before halftime, he was ready on the doorstep to take advantage of Sanchez’s error in the second half.
Both goals were primarily the result of putting in the work to get into good positions, and, impressively, they both came after a seventh minute yellow card that could have taken the wind out of Burke’s sails.
The big Jamaican contributed half of Philly’s four goals, and the low scoring narrative around the team will be discarded as they’ve tallied more than two teams above the playoff line — Columbus and Montreal — despite having a game in hand.
Teens turn it around
After giving up a first half penalty to Alexander Katai, Philly’s young defense shut up shop in the second half. The Fire scored two goals, it’s true, but those were on their only two shots prior to Katai’s 97th minute free kick. If the Union can lock down the defensive third like that in future road matches, they will be a formidable foe the rest of the season.
Additionally, the road win moves Philly into a six-way tie for the second most road wins in the Eastern Conference this season.