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Match report: Chicago Fire 0-2 Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union notched their first win in MLS of the season with a 2-0 win at Soldier Field in Chicago. Cory Burke gave the Union the lead in the 51st minute with a well struck volley and then Jakob Glesnes assured the points with a close range header in the 60th minute.

Jim Curtin made two changes from the Union’s midweek Champions League match. Jack McGlynn made his first MLS start on the left side of midfield, with Anthony Fontana moving to the bench and Jamiro Monteiro going to the top of the diamond. Cory Burke came in to partner Kacper Przybylko as Sergio Santos was the man to make way.

Philadelphia would work the first chance of the game in the 14th minute. The Union did well to cycle the ball in possession and worked a ball out to Oliver Mbaizo where the right back had room to cross. Mbaizo delivered a fantastic curling ball that Burke met from 8 yards with a powerful header, but it was straight at Bobby Shuttleworth who saved strongly. The rebound was just out of reach for Alejandro Bedoya.

Both teams would work a series of half chances as the half rolled on. McGlynn had two decent chances arriving late on the left side but couldn’t find a finish. Andre Blake was forced into two saves, but both shots came from outside the box and did little to trouble the goalkeeper.

The Union would take the lead in the 51st minute. Mbaizo’s long throw in into the box was headed down by Burke into the path of Monteiro. Monteiro did ever so well to hold off his defender and then loop a pass back to Burke, who made no mistake firing a first time volley into the top corner from 8 yards away.

Chicago should have equalized just a minute later in the 52nd minute. Kai Wagner tried to push forward and cut out a Fire pass to the wing. Wagner missed on the ball and the cross came in, but Robert Beric could only direct his shot wide right of Blake’s goal from 8 yards out.

Philly would go up 2-0 through Glesnes first goal of the season. Monteiro’s corner kick from the right side was only half cleared by the Fire. The ball came out to Wagner on the left side, who whipped in a ball from the left corner of the box that Glesnes simply had to direct in with head from close range.

Andre Blake made a superb save on Nnamdi Offor deep into stoppage time to keep his clean sheet. Offor struck a hard half volley from the right side that Blake strongly pushed away as the shot looked destined for the top corner.

The only blemish on the match for the Union was a 90th minute skirmish between Sergio Santos and Boris Sekulic. The two came together as Santos looked to chase down a long ball over the top. Both players put their heads together and earned a yellow card, but Santos will be be lucky if he doesn’t receive additional discipline for what looked like a hand to Sekulic’s face.

Philadelphia returns to action on Wednesday when they host the New England Revolution at Subaru Park (7 :30 p.m.)

Three Points

  • Job Done – It wasn’t pretty, but the Union were the better side over 90 minutes and walk away from Chicago with their first MLS win of the season.
  • McGlynn – 17 year-old Jack McGlynn made his first MLS start and looked comfortable on the left side of midfield.
  • Flach-ness Monster – Leon Flach made his second consecutive start in the holding midfield role and covered a ton of ground. Flach has been everywhere in his first six games with the Union and has been a revelation coming over from Germany.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Olivier Mbaizo (Matt Real 79′), Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McGlynn (Anthony Fontana 61′), Jamiro Monteiro, Cory Burke (Sergio Santos 61′), Kacper Przybylko
Subs: Matt Freese, Aurelien Collin, Cole Turner, Quinn Sullivan

Chicago Fire

Bobby Shuttleworth, Francisco Calvo, Wyatt Omsberg (Jhon Jairo Espinoza 71′), Jonathan Bornstein (Miguel Navarro 57′), Boris Sekulic, Luka Stojanovic (Alvaro Medran 57′), Gaston Gimenez, Johan Kappelhof (Mauricio Pineda 45′), Robert Beric, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Elliott Collier (Nnamdi Chinonso Offor 57′)
Subs: Gabriel Slonia, Brian Gutierrez, Javier Casas, Alex Monis

Scoring Summary

PHI: Cory Burke – 51′ (Monteiro)
PHI: Jakob Glesnes – 60′ (Wagner)

Disciplinary Summary

CHI: Johan Kappelhof – 26′
CHI: Wyatt Omsberg – 48′
CHI: Boris Sekulic – 90+2′
PHI: Sergio Santos – 90+2′
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya – 90+6′
PHI: Jakob Glesnes – 90+7′


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Very disappointed in the way the team finished the game. In addition to Santos being stupid, Bedoya and Glesnes weren’t much better, with both taking needless yellow cards in stoppage time. The team should have finished with 0 yellows but ended with 3 (the Disciplinary Summary above is missing the yellow Santos got).
    The petulance of this team in stoppage time ruined an otherwise fine performance.
    That being said, it was nice to see Curtin using some squad rotation with McGlynn and Burke.

  2. All in all positive I would say. We need to get back on track in MLS and we did. We started of strong with plenty of chances – we shoulda finished – though we did slow down and start missing some passes and transition opportunities. We looked like we knocked off a lot of rust, but not all of it.

    Mbaizo growing into the starter role more and more. His crosses always make the defense work and he is starting to make less mistakes on the ball – but still misses some passes. His dribbling also allows us to release pressure since he is capable of beating his man in the final third or his own third.

    Monteiro is a great player, and of course he had the beautiful assist but I would like to see more if he plays the 10. Right now he is as capable of an ill advised dribble through 3 people or a overly complicated backheel as he is a key pass. I’d like to see him simplify things more in that 10 role.

    McGlynn looked the part in his first start. He was also popping up in both the final third and the defensive third and his best play of the game was drawing that foul to stop the Fire attack.

    Bedoya is still the man, but I don’t think he beat anyone to the ball all game. He still has elite positioning and IQ and is still great in the final third combining with Mbazio but I feel like he is slowly starting to lose some bite in the middle third.

    Depth is coming around. Real has played LB, CM and RB so far this season and that indicates Curtin at least sees him as an option to grind out wins. Fontana is still getting sub minutes but at the 8 as well, and he looks fine there too. With McGlynn establishing himself as part of the rotation too, things are coming together.

    I still think we need that final piece, and for me that is a consistently dangerous striker. Maybe Gadzag is that guy.

  3. Cliff Notes says:

    They show again how much they need real help at the top of the diamond. The forwards are streaky, and can come around with better service-but the ability to give a pinpoint pass is just so missing…..even when the press does its job to give them the free space.

    August is a long time to wait for Gazdag & Vodhanel.
    Santos will likely get extra games for the headbutt & swipe, taxing the already thin depth ever further. Flach has been their most consistent performer to date.

  4. Eddy Ray says:

    Glad about the win, but the Fire are pretty bad, so I’m not sure how much to take away from this. I would rather miss the playoffs this season in MLS in exchange for a CONCACAF Champions League trophy. A shame that MLS is selling it’s best young players to European sides. And, people get all excited about it, but my own reaction is quite the opposite. The quality of play in MLS is much improved over the previous decades, of course, but it has now plateaued and will stagnate from here on out unless that changes. I just wish that Jim had leveled Heinze the other day. Nonetheless, I am about to celebrate. DOOP!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      +1 on Jim decking Heinze.

      • UnitedPenn13 says:

        What was that all about anyway? I saw them talking at the end of the match but I was wondering what the issue was.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Heinze didn’t want to shake Curtin’s hand after either game and then tried to give Curtin a hard time about the Union wasting time. Curtin lambasted him in the press conference. Definitely worth going back earlier in the week to try and find a link to the press conference.

    • Champions League trophy? That’s a fever dream. Beat Club America and either Cruz Azul or Monterrey? Never happen. The only reason we’re in the semis is because we drew another mls side in the quarters. We should be concentrating on MLS games and standings now.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Spot on. I chuckle with people thinking about the Club World Cup. I tend to think many of these folk don’t watch a good deal of Liga MX. I do. I love the league.
        Your point stands. No way they get past CA let alone then beat Monterrey or Cruz Azul.
        Congrats on the semis. Take some Tylenol and quell the Fever Dream.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        A Champions League win is not necessarily likely, but it is certainly possible. What the Union probably need is a performance from Blake like he had along with Atlanta along with a successful counterattack or two.
        For this to work, though, they have to be willing to accept yielding 60-70% possession.

      • Some guy says:

        Lol. This take is just as ridiculous. It’s Club America. You are acting like they are playing Real Madrid. Sure, America will be favored, but the Union could easily get lucky and advance.

      • Hmm, don’t agree at all. If they can survive the onslaught of that 1st Atlanta leg (where Atlanta had a decided advantage with the turf), they can surely put forth a solid effort at Azteca. Many will say there’s no comparison,but Portland had their chances and could have made that 2nd leg much more interesting. Not saying Union won’t be heavy underdogs, but just survive that 1st leg and who knows.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        There is no time in the August schedule to do any training at altitude.
        The Azteca is 7,200 feet high. That’s a snort more that a mile an a third high – 1.36 miles to be precise.
        The Union’ system is based on high consumption of oxygen. Based on descriptions of CONMEBOL WC qualifying at altitude in Bolivia a nd Peru, th Union will start to really drag after about 20 minutes.
        There is a reason FIFA has banned internationals being played at more than 8,000 feet or thereabouts.
        It takes 2 weeks to adapt.

      • It’s only three matches left to win the CCL and we don’t need to win all three given the home and away semis against CA. That’s definitely doable.
        . .
        Plus we’ll be in better form by that time whilst they have had the down time.
        . . .
        We’re obviously an underdog but they aren’t top European teams and even if they were it’s now a three match knockout setup.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        As usual OSC … you second level think it.
        I’m on the record to
        just give themselves a chance back in Chester.
        But to think they are going to advance against America the best snigger MX team rove the first MLS winners of Champions League is a Fever Dream for sure.

  5. Glad they won. Wish I could have watched it.

    Not sure why the team or league can’t do something about the streaming rights. Can’t watch it on YouTube TV, even though they were a jersey partner not long ago. And 6 ABC’s signal can’t be picked up on digital antenna in NW Philly. (Channel 17 comes in fine). Funny that I easily could watch the NWSL cup match, Chelsea / City, but not my local team.

  6. A road win is always good. It could have looked a little better if they had scored early . Hoping for some home wins sooner than later.
    McGlynn looked decent for his first start. And Flach is a beast…plain and simple!

  7. el Pachyderm says:

    First congrats for the needed 3 points.
    The first 15 minutes of that game were the epitome of what soccer looks like in this country far too often. Just absolute dreck. Ping Pong.
    Then Union settled in a bit. And Chicago just stunk. And it was never in doubt.
    What is Wicky doing there? Possession I guess—but just the oddest team shapes and body shapes, turning backwards to switch field, a 4-2-3-1 with no width… Chicago are just BAD. Man that was uncomfortable and hard to watch.

  8. Delco Roots says:

    I thought Danny Higgenbottom was fantastic as the new color guy. Insightful comments, in my opinion.

    • HopkinsMD says:


    • He’s a bit hard to understand sometimes between his vocal tone and his accent, but MY GOD the difference between him and Tommy Smyth is like the difference between a college professor and a kindergarten teacher. (No offense to kindergarten teachers.)

    • Tim Jones says:

      Quiet compliments to Dave Leno who has improved noticeably as the lead commentator since his days doing Bethlehem Steel.

    • McMohansky says:

      Higginbotham is a revelation. We are lucky to have him.
      If I never hear JP Dellacamera again it will be too soon

    • He’s not too bad. I don’t think he’s as good as a Graeme Le Saux or Lee Dixon, but he’s miles better than Tommy or any of the Fox dregs.

      • McMohansky says:

        I think John Strong on Fox is the fantastic. Rivals Phil Schoen for best US soccer commentator.

        Honestly I don’t care for Le Saux or Dixon. Both constantly self reference. Arlo White carries NBC’s broadcasts.

      • Meh, Strong over dramatizes moments that don’t need it and is too “American” if I dare say it. Arlo White is awkward and cringe in the I never played an organized sport but I really want to fit in with the guys, kind of way. He’s decent but nothing special. Dixon and Le Saux will give you at least a tactical view. A player should do such and such here, maybe the team will make a change there. I will agree they do talk about their playing days often, but again why wouldn’t you if that’s your expertise. It doesn’t bother me, but I get how it could.

  9. Vince Devine says:

    I’m getting a little tired of watching Kacper not be able to get the ball out of his feet. He always looks clumbsy with the ball and has a poor first touch.

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