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Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-0 Chicago Fire

photo: 215-pix

Marco Fabian and Anthony Fontana were both on target as the Philadelphia Union defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 on a steamy night in Chester.

Fabian tallied with a brilliant finish in the 11th minute from a well-worked set play and Fontana stroked home his first MLS goal of the season in the 65th to seal the victory.

Jim Curtin made just one change to the team that lost 4-0 in Salt Lake City last Saturday, with Kai Wagner returning from injury to start at left back. C.J. Sapong and Fabian Herbers both started and went 90 minutes for Chicago.

Philadelphia would take the lead in just the 11th minute through a brilliant set play routine straight off the training ground. Brenden Aaronson was fouled near the corner flag on the left side. Haris Medunjanin lined up to take the free kick, and laid a pass back to the top of the box for Wagner, who touched a pass into the path of Fabian, who struck first time with venom into the top left corner from 20 yards.

Fafa Picault would force Kenneth Kronholm into a good save in the 57th minute. A cross into the box was nodded down by Kacper Przybylko and Picault was the quickest to react. Picault fired a hard shot from a tight angle that Kronholm did well to get a hand to and push away.

Anthony Fontana, only in the match for four minutes, would double the lead with a goal in the 65th minute. Good work from Kai Wagner saw the left back stay with the ball as be broke into the box and fire a cross that was deflected. The ball bounced straight into the path of Fontana, who made no mistake and fired home from 7 yards.

Philadelphia are next in action when they travel to Montreal to take on the Impact next Saturday (8 p.m.)

Three Points

  • The right result: It wasn’t especially pretty, but a fairly straightforward 2-0 victory over lowly Chicago was exactly what the Union needed after a rough outing last week in Salt Lake City.
  • Well-worked: The Union haven’t felt especially dangerous from set plays this season, but Marco Fabian’s goal was a brilliant training ground move that ended with a thumping finish from the midfielder.
  • The kid’s alright: Fontana was in the right place at the right time to double the Union lead and secure the points.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Ray Gaddis, Haris Medunjanin, Brenden Aaronson (Ilsinho 77′), Alejandro Bedoya, Marco Fabian (Anthony Fontana 60′), Fafa Picault (Warren Creavalle 90′), Kacper Przybylko
Unused Subs: Joe Bendik, RJ Allen, Aurelien Collin,  Andrew Wooten

Chicago Fire
Kenneth Kronholm, Brandt Bronico, Jorge Corrales (Grant Lillard 42′), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Johan Kappelhof, Francisco Calvo, Nemanja Nikolic (Aleksandar Katai 70′), Djordje Mihailovic (Diego Campos 70′), Przemyslaw Frankowski, Fabian Herbers, C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: Andre Reynolds, Richard Sanchez, Marcelo, Jeremiah Gutjahr

Scoring Summary
PHI: Marco Fabian – 11′ (Kai Wagner, Haris Medunjanin)
PHI: Anthony Fontana – 65′

Disciplinary Summary
CHI: Brandt Bronico – 7′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Kai Wagner – 19′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Fafa Picault – 84′ (time wasting)


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    comfortable ‘clean’ sheet
    then way too sloppy closing it out. an area to concentrate on once the games matter as zlatan argued.
    like to see brendan on the ball more and attacking but with haris I guess it’s just not realistic.
    now 4 points from Montreal and DC are an imperative.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Obviously the biggest negative was Wagner’s yellow card since now he has to miss the next match. I was across the field and it looked a bit soft. Can anyone with a better view confirm if it was deserved?
    Also, I assume the long delay after the Fontana goal was checking if Wagner was onside when he received the initial pass.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Referee wasn’t being gullible about “accidental” fouls most of the evening.
      Wagner clipped his man’s heel as he was about to break away. Wasn’t especially violent, but the ref refused to buy that it wasn’t a deliberate tactical foul.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Thanks, Coach. I wasn’t sure if there was contact or if the Chicago player just slipped on the turf.

  3. The golazo was just in time for Fabián’s birthday. ¡Feliz cumpleaños a ti, Marco!
    Congrats to the team on the shutout win. Looking forward to Monteiro’s return.
    Who replaces Wagner at LB?

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Real if he’s fit for 90. I just don’t think it happens. Learning not to question Curtin as much though. Just wish Bedoya could get a rest

      • Real played 90 for Bethlehem so he’s ready. No excuse not to start him next week.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        In re: Real v. Montréal next tSaturday.
        Decision will be heavily influenced by the expected / possible / likely match-up. Platting was mentioned by commentators as having resumed training. I do not think of the other Impact flank players easily.
        Real got only his fourth yellow last night in Louisville in the 1-0 win, so would still be eligible to play on those grounds.

  4. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I’m aware Fabian will never see this comment, but I’d like to say it anyway: I’m sorry. I’m not overreacting to the goal, although it was fantastic. I think I’m more excited about the fact that he looked confident going forward and did his job as a #10. Maybe he could stand to shoot a bit less but he made huge contributions to the win.


    Liked what I saw from Aaronson tonight. When Monty comes back the spot is obviously his, but I could see Aaronson taking minutes from Bedoya, for his own good. Or even Monteiro sliding to the 6.


    When (and possibly if) Monteiro comes back, Ilsinho becomes full strength, Marco develops chemistry late like Dockal, and Wooten is the best case scenario of what we expect from him, we reach that next level. There’s a lot of ifs in there but all of those scenarios are imaginable, aren’t they?

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Oh I should also point out that Kai had his best game all year, in my opinion. Welcome back, Machine.

      • It was average at best for me. Not that he played bad, but he did have a few mistakes. He played damn near perfect in an earlier match or two, IMO.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Honestly, I can’t say I see the same thing. From what I saw, he took away that side of the field time and again. It even appeared like they kept going after him to test him early, maybe because of his injury I guess.

      • Like I said I don’t think he played bad, and average was probably harsh from me, so I’d say good instead. I just thought he has had better games.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        He’s definitely contributed in that way before, certainly not an outlier. I’ve noticed he still seems to struggle with crosses. Imagine if he improves in that area

  5. Through all the great moves Ernst has made so far and with all the well deserved praise for Kai Wagner…does anyone just shake their head in disbelief that Ray Gaddis is still our right back? Overall, mission-accomplished performance but obviously eagerly awaiting Monteiro’s return. Midfield is so much more dynamic with him. Rooting for Atlanta win or draw Sunday vs DC to give us 3 point lead in East.

    • The Truth says:

      Last night had to explain to my sports-aloof family why Ray Gaddid doesn’t attack. If it’s noticeable to them it’s a problem. In this modern era, full backs must contribute. Gotta wonder how Rosenberry woulda looked.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Then subtract the Garber bucks they got for him from the pursuits of Monteiro and Wooten. Me, I trade Rosenberry for Monteiro any day of the week.

    • @ Coach. I agree. Monteiro alone makes up for the loss of Rosenberry.
      @ Jamie. Yes, next year they need to come up with a RB that can attack and still get back. Ray is a nice guy and team man, but not enough speed or tactical awareness to push up and get back reliably.

  6. Way to beat the heat and the Fire with a clean and efficient win. 3 points!

  7. I see what ya did there ^ LCB…well played.
    Nice outing and bounce back for the boys in blue. IT.WAS. HOT in the stands…felt real sorry for those guys on the field.

  8. Soccer for All says:

    For me I thought the best two performances were by Fafa and Elliot. Fafa brought the energy somehow in the very hot conditions and Jack was excellent in the back.

    I also thought that Fabián’s performance was much improved – he was on the ball more and created some chances.

    My concern was during the mid to latter part of the first half. We were conceding a lot of possession and, once we got the ball back, we seemed to give it back rather easily by trying to play over the top or by rushing clearances. Hope that with Monteiro returning soon that they are able to play from the back with better possession.

    As Jim Curtin stared it was a solid “professional” performance

  9. Great game. Glad Sappong is on the other team. Really miss Monteiro. He helps so much coming back on D and controls the ball so well. Takes pressure off of other players in MF because he so fit. Wonder if there is any chance they can keep him after the loan. Or is that too much of a conflict with young players they already control?

  10. I knew people were giving up on Fabián way too soon.

    Now, watching the 15 minute highlights, the thing that concerned me was that the Fire got off 3 good headers on the U. A better team scores at least one of those, maybe more.

    This was a very nice victory, especially given the horrendous heat & humidity. But aerial defense is still a problem (and will show up especially on set pieces).

    • HopkinsMD says:

      Good observation about the aerial defense. I’d expect Zlatan to have buried at least two of those.

    • I’ll be honest I’m still not impressed with Fabian. I won’t argue with the goal and it’s beauty. He still doesn’t do enough for me. I also think he’s too selfish. With a full roster to choose from, I think Jim can put a better team out there without him in it, and I believe Jim has already this year. Fabian still needs to do a lot in my mind to earn being here next year.

  11. I’ll be happy they won, at home, against a lowly team, on an oppressive night. Anything beyond that is gravy or pass over any concerns.
    Good: Smart set piece goal, scored early set them up a commanding position. Brought Fontana in (needed) and got a goal (gravy). Fafa and Wagner did their thing. Elliot and Predroya did theirs.
    Bad: They did look a little sloppy at times and should’ve been scored on.

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