Head Coach Jim Curtin turned a few heads before the match when the starting lineup had an inverted triangle in the midfield, as Haris Medunjanin and Alejandro Bedoya playing above Warren Creavalle in the formation. But in his post-match press conference, Curtin said it was essentially the same 4-2-3-1 the team had been playing all season. Throughout the night, more often than not, there was a second player next to Creavalle in the formation. However, in certain instances, that triangle did flip, mainly to put additional pressure on Chicago's Dax McCarty, who Curtin said was the Fire's most important player on the pitch.
"To be honest, it's still a 4-2-3-1," Curtin said. "It was a difference of a yard or two in either direction. If you go back and watch the tape, as we will as well, by design we always had someone next to Warren. The best thing about the formation is there can be fluidity in it. With what Chicago likes to do, we thought it was important to invert the triangle a little bit in some moments to get pressure to Dax McCarty, who to me is the engine of that team. Yes, on paper it looks a little different, but still the same formation, same ideas, same principles."
Pontius Breaks Through
One of the Union's strongest players on the night was Chris Pontius, who potted his first two goals of the season for his seventh career multi-goal game and second in a Union kit. Curtin said he was happy for Pontius, who always put in the work, but didn't always translate to the scoresheet. He also added the two goals can serve as a confidence booster as the team heads down the stretch.
"Happy for Chris," Curtin said. "It was never through lack of effort. We asked him, tactically speaking, on Accam's side to do a lot of dirty work. Doubling down on him. I thought Chris did a good job in that regard. Happy for him in terms of confidence moving forward and like in many instances, when these guys get one, they usually get another, and he could have had a third. Happy for Chris. He's done a decent job for us on the assist side, and happy for him to get two goals."
Sapong's Continued Success
Another vital player for the Union in the win was CJ Sapong, who scored his 14th goal of the season in the match. Curtin praised not only his offensive abilities, but also his willingness to play a gritty game and work hard on both sides of the ball. His 14th goal tied a Union single season record, and also set a milestone for his career, as it was his 50th in MLS.
"CJ, again, has been a guy in and around the goal, and if we get him service, he executes," Curtin said. "We've talked at nauseum on how much defensive work he does, and the fighting for every inch out there for his teammates and how unselfish he is. He's a true team player, a true team striker, and the goals are a product of guys getting him service. His movement on the night was good. Happy for him and those individual accomplishments. As the team has success, individual accomplishments are nice. But at the end of the day, all these guys want three points."