Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Chicago Fire

Photo: Ryan Griffith

Cory Burke scored a brace, and C.J. Sapong added goal off of the bench as the Philadelphia Union reached a third U.S. Open Cup Final with a 3-0 win Wednesday over the Chicago Fire.

Burke scored in the 59th and 77th minutes, with assists coming from Alejandro Bedoya both times. Sapong added gloss to the scoreline, tapping in from a Fafa Picault pass in the 77th minute.

Jim Curtin named a strong starting 11. Jack Elliott partnered with Auston Trusty, with Mark McKenzie still unavailable. David Accam started against his former team, and Burke was preferred to Sapong.

After a slow start to the match, the first good chance fell to the Union in the 17th minute. Burke drew a foul about 30 yards out on the right side. Haris Medjunanin stepped up to take the kick, curling an effort over the wall and striking the top of the crossbar.

Philadelphia would come close again in the 22nd minute. Picault lofted a lovely cross into the box cutting back onto his right foot. Burke timed his run well but just couldn’t turn his header on target from six yards out, flanked by Chicago defenders.

Chicago would find a half chance in the 37th minute. A Fire corner kick wasn’t completely cleared and eventually fell to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who took a touch and went for a clever bicycle kick, but his shot was just high and over Andre Blake’s bar.

Richard Sanchez made a huge save for the Fire in the 53rd minute. Chicago failed to deal with a corner kick and the ball fell to David Accam, whose shot was blocked, but the fall fell straight to Alejandro Bedoya. The Union captain fired a shot but a strong reaction save kept the game on level terms.

The Union would take the lead through a brilliant team goal in the 59th minute. Bedoya played a clever give-and-go with Borek Dockal near the top of the area, before dinking the return pass gently over the Fire backline for Burke to run onto. The striker took one touch to settle and tapped in beyond an onrushing Sanchez to give the Union the lead.

Philly came close do doubling their lead in the 70th minute. The ball was recycled out wide to Sapong after the Fire couldn’t clear from a corner kick. Sapong slid a pass along the ground that Jack Elliott couldn’t get a foot to, but the fell straight to Picault, who rifled a low shot just wide of goal.

Burke doubled the Union lead in the 77th minute. Put in on goal from another great pass from Bedoya, the striker again took a smart touch to control the ball before curling a right-footed effort beyond Sanchez for a second goal on the evening.

Sapong added a third with a goal in the 86th minute. Dockal had the ball inside the Chicago box, and the midfielder simply laid the ball off for Picault to run onto at pace, who in turn tapped a soft pass in front for Sapong for a tap home from close range.

The Union advance to the U.S. Open Cup Final for the third time in their history. They’ll travel to either Houston or Los Angeles, who are playing as this article is published. (UPDATE: Houston won, meaning they will host the Union in the final.)


Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Ray Gaddis, Alejandro Bedoya, Fafa Picault, Borek Dockal (Derrick Jones 90′), David Accam (C.J. Sapong 56′), Cory Burke (Fabian Herbers 81′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Warren Creavalle

Chicago Fire

Richard Sanchez, Nicolas Hasler (Drew Conner 85′), Jorge Corrales (Kevin Ellis 74′), Brandon Vincent, Johan Kappelhof, Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Raheem Edwards, Aleksandar Katai, Brandt Bronico (Alan Gordon 72′), Nemanja Nikolic
Unused Subs: Daniel Johnson, Grant Lillard, Jonathan Campbell, Stefan Cleveland

Scoring summary

PHI: Cory Burke – 59′ (Alejandro Bedoya, Borek Dockal)
PHI: Cory Burke – 77′ (Alejandro Bedoya)
PHI: C.J. Sapong – 86′ (Fafa Picault, Borek Dockal)

Disciplinary summary

CHI: Aleksandar Katai — 62′ (unsporting behavior)

Philadelphia Union Chicago Fire
22 Shots 8
7 Shots on Target 1
9 Shots off Target 6
6 Blocked Shots 1
3 Corner Kicks 8
8 Crosses 20
4 Offsides 1
9 Fouls 12
0 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
334 Total Passes 436
78% Passing Accuracy 83%
42.9% Possession 57.1%
41 Duels Won 33
55% Duels Won % 45%
11 Tackles Won 4
1 Saves 4
10 Clearances 15


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    We want the cup. We want the cup. Gotta have that cup.

  2. That’s great news. This SOB season ticket holder moved to Houston two years ago. Look forward to meeting other SOB members in Houston on Sep 26!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Houston had a more exciting win last night (and based on the timestamp of your post, could easily have lost after you wrote that). My blood pressure is glad that the Union’s win was more comfortable.

  3. The Chopper says:

    Solid effort. Rosenberry turned it over too much in the first half and Accam is still a mess, but beyond that the boys came to play. At least Curtin put Accam out of his misery and ours soon enough.

  4. John Mastrippolito says:

    It was a great game and congratulations to the Union. Accam is difficult to watch; his effort is so hit or miss. When he gets his one on one’s he pushes and indeed should have earned a penalty kick late in the first half….but the rest of the time it just seems like he’s standing around not making any runs and being pushed off the ball too easily. He had some bad calls against him, but the effort just doesn’t seem to be there.

    Major kudos to Trusty especially and Elliott on the defense. Burke showed why he’s the starter, and Sapong was a worthy sub. Bedoya, Haris and Dockal proved their value.

    Can’t wait to top Houston in the Final. Let’s go Boy in Blue!

  5. Looked good in that second half. Picault was everywhere, it seemed. Burke had a phenomenal results game, with the 2 goals, obviously. He needs to learn the art of the received foul, though, since it is clear that the refs aren’t buying even legitimate falls like the elbow that he got in the box at the end of the first half. Glad that he was able to fight through. Accam is deep in his own head, it appears. I never saw him look engaged with the offense overall.

    Good to see the boys advance, and now they get to confront the Lancaster Legend, Andrew Wenger, who had a goal himself tonight. Let’s get the Cup!

    • Yeah, the same ‘Lancaster Legend’ that was biting his fingernails as he approached to miss the sudden death shootout PK in the 2015 USOC Final at home that blew the match. Such memories he left us…

      ‘Ronks’ Rosenberry is the kind of Lancastrian that will hopefully make three times a charm for us though. The boys played well yet again in USOC play and are clearly hungry for the silverware. Houston is also a favorable draw and did us a presumptive favor by knocking off LAFC.

      • I watched him dribble a ball straight out of bounds at then PPL, but still remember a home grown player who has done well enough to play at this level for a number of years. I wish all Union alumni well, including him, except against the boys still in blue.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Fortunately he also made his PK last night or the Union would be going to LA midweek.

      • Tim: Yeah, but for Houston’s benefit. That we arguably benefit collaterally from that was more than he intended, and that’s predicting we finally win it where he blew it for us. He’ll be working hard to see three times won’t be a charm for us (doing his job for once I know) whilst having failed us in our own shirt on that subject (didn’t do his job for us).

        Andy: Yeah, I wish him well except when he plays us. Maybe he’s matured enough by now but elsewhere at our expense. That said, IMO he was a bust for us. It wasn’t just needing more experience. He lacked the mental fortitude and drive that ran through our past squads at that time. Chokes like Wenger’s at that moment where it was obvious before he shot the PK that he would fail at a key moment (a USOC final at home for a first trophy) were just symptomatic of the overlying problem at that time (flagging efforts with playoffs on the line, giving up too many early or late goals, blowing 2-0 leads and even a 3 goal lead once, etc, with a ho-hum and fatalistic attitude).
        The current team is much better in that department. They have the proper mental discipline, motivation and vigor for their talent and experience levels to seek more and improve, etc. My concern is having our cash poor ownership that risks not being able to keep the young players that shine from becoming talents in their prime elsewhere.

  6. Great win, well done boys!!! Side note, The ownership proved to me last nite 100% that their ONLY interest is their wallets. I understand this as any professional sports team is a business and if not profitable as with any business it will collapse, I get it. Observation: One parking lot available for free parking so too bad for any fans coming from the north for access in and out of the area (half an hour added time to travel time) or just pay $20 to park close enough privately. It appeared more concession stands were closed than open, so the lines were actually longer than a normal game which as we all know if you hesitate to them at the break, you miss the start of the second half. Gets better, finally finding a tolerable line to wait the 15 minutes for a $5.00 bottle of water, I get told “sorry we’re out of water”…!?!?! OUT OF WATER?!? So back up to my season ticket seat(founding member)late too the start of the second half, pissed off and parched from the 90 degree heavy humidity night… “OUT OF WATER” THNX FOR NOTHING… This is how sugarman operates,he couldn’t gives a rats ass about the paying customers who have helped his investment grow 10 fold in 9 years… thnx for nothing you greedy no good piece of excrement…”OUT OF WATER”… sorry I just had to vent and this shouldn’t detract from the great win last night but the owners continue to thumb their noses at the fans and repeatedly prove their total disrespect and disregards to their dedicated fans, some of the best in the MLS. Hey sugarman kiss my a##…

    • I may be incorrect but I believe USOC matches require vendors and parking to be handled by USSF with the proceeds going to them. Hence the usual shit show at USOC matches

    • The Union don’t run the concession stands. They hire a concessionaire. The concessionaire orders all of the food and beverage for each game. If they run out, that’s on them and not the Union.
      Plus USOC matches are run by the USSF. Hence the sh!t show that they usually are.
      As for the parking. Lots B & C have ample room to fit an Open Cup Crowd. My friend also came the North and arrived around 6:30PM and was able to park in Lot C without a problem.

    • U70 South Jersey Rowdies Elite says:

      Also on parking, last night the Chester yard lot across 2nd on Reaney was $5… the usual price of $10 for the MLS matches is right, too.

    • One of constant complaints I’ve heard from soccer parents after first union game is the concessions. Union may hire the concessions but impression is that union control it. I am guessing they have guidelines and input, especially for events like dollar dog night(when they usually run out before half)
      Prices are ridiculous and could be lowered a bit in interests of keeping fans. Do STH get any benefits, discounts toward food? Maybe offer a loyalty card for non-sth to encourage sales with points leading to discounts or free soda with pretzel purchase,etc.
      Without any local family restaurants near stadium the lack of quality and high prices in stadium hurt chances of creating new returning fans.
      Take a page from minor league baseball…good food reasonable prices part of that environment. $5 bottle of water? Horrible.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        STH get 10% off. So $5 bottle of water is $4.50.

      • Thanks Andy.for past two years We usually bring our own drinks and bags of snacks.yet I have no problem at minor league baseball $25-30 for drinks and sandwiches for 4, half union prices. Movies I have points cards so still spend far less. Union only place I don’t buy in stadium except dollar dog nights when I buy before game. Friends wait until half and get none!

  7. Darth Harvey says:

    Fun game last night. Sprung for tickets at midfield rather than my normal season ticket vantage point from 101. Fun to watch from the new angle.

    “Drag Touch Burke” has a nose for goal that Sapong has not come close to demonstrating this year. It is refreshing to watch a striker get the ball and go towards the goal. Hey Jim… he’s fun… he scores…he should play a lot more…

    What had Chicago so upset after the first goal? They swarmed the ref who he let the “discussion” go way longer than any ref should. I couldn’t make heads or tails of what they were so upset about.

    Also what was the Tifo we tried to raise? Another lame arts and crafts project by SOB…

    • re: point #3. There was a second ball on the field.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I think at this point Burke is the starting striker. The only reason he wasn’t on Saturday was so Curtin could play him last night and again this coming Saturday against New England without being dead by the end of that game (which is clearly more important to the Union’s playoff chances than Portland was).

      • Burke is doing well and should start. I was also glad Sapong got the third goal. He needs to find his mojo again and that certainly helps. If both play at top form (and with Burke young with time to improve his finer touches and positioning), we have some tread on our tires for sure.

  8. Burke. Love watching him play but he has a temper. Thought he was on verve of getting a red card near end of first half . He was knocked down and bounced up after no call from ref and ran recklessly after fire player who passed ball just as Burke reached him. If he hadn’t passed ball looked like burke was going to level him better than any Andre waters tackle.
    Red card would have changed whole outcome.

  9. Congrats to union well played game.
    Burke. Love watching him play but he has a temper. Thought he was on verve of getting a red card near end of first half . He was knocked down and bounced up after no call from ref and ran recklessly after fire player who passed ball just as Burke reached him. If he hadn’t passed ball looked like burke was going to level him better than any Andre waters tackle.
    Red card would have changed whole outcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *