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Match report: Chicago Fire 3-3 Philadelphia Union

photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union grabbed a point in an adventurous 3-3 draw in Chicago on Saturday night. A Jacob Glesnes own goal gifted Chicago an early lead, but the Union equalized in the 24th minute behind a superb scissor-kicked effort from Quinn Sullivan.

Cory Burke gave Philly the lead just before halftime, but early second half goals from Boris Sekulic and Mauricio Pineda gave Chicago the lead after 67 minutes. But Kacper Przybylko did well to create chance for himself and his hard shot eventually pinged in off of Sekulic in the 79th minute for the Union to earn a draw on the road.

Jim Curtin made four changes from the win against Columbus on Wednesday as the Union played their third game in six days. Stuart Findlay made his first start at center back partnering Jakob Glesnes with Jack Elliott moving forward to start in the holding midfield role. Alvas Powell and Quinn Sullivan also made their first starts. Powell replaced the rested Olivier Mbaizo at right back while Sullivan came in on the right side of midfield for Alejandro Bedoya, who missed out with a minor knock that he picked up against Columbus. Sergio Santos started in place of Kacper Przybyklo, partnering Cory Burke up top. Andre Blake wore the captain’s armband with Bedoya missing out.

Chicago was in the lead in just the 2nd minute. Miguel Navarro got down the line on the left side for Chicago and curled a low cross into the box. Glesnes slid to block the cross, but the ball spun off the wet turf and then off of Glesnes’ foot and deflected over Blake’s head for an unfortunate own goal.

Sergio Santos had the ball in the back of the net in the 16th minute but it was ruled out for offside.

The Union would find their equalizer in style through Sullivan’s first MLS goal in the 24th minute. Jamiro Monteiro’s corner kick was deflected at the near post, and Sullivan did ever so well to react to the deflected ball, adjusting himself and then delivering a well struck bicycle/scissor kick into the top corner past Bobby Shuttleworth from 7 yards out.

Philadelphia would take the lead just before halftime through Burke. Chicago had three chances to clear a Union corner kick but couldn’t quite clear their lines and eventually Glesnes was able to recycle the ball from 35 yards out, popping a ball back into the Chicago box. Burke collected Glesnes’ pass near the penalty spot, took a touch out toward the right side and then buried a half volley past Shuttleworth from 8 yards out.

Chicago would make it 2-2 in the 56th minute. The Fire earned a free kick on the left side, 45 yards from the Union goal. Alvaro Medran’s free kick was curled in well toward the back post and Boris Sekulic met the ball with a powerful header from 7 yards out. Sekulic brushed Flach aside before his header, but Blake might wish he had come to clear himself.

The Fire would take the lead in the 67th minute though another set piece. Medran would again be the provider, this time with a corner from the Chicago right side. Medran’s corner was met by Mauricio Pineda, who did well to half volley a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal. Mbaizo looked to have lost Pineda in the shuffle as the ball came in.

Philadelphia would make it 3-3 in the 79th minute. Substitute Kacper Przybylko latched onto a ball over the top on the right side. He did well to cut back past a sliding defender before smashing a shot toward the far post of the Chicago goal. Shuttleworth did well to get a touch to the shot, but the ball deflected off the retreating Sekulic and straight into the Chicago goal.

The Union end a difficult week having taken five points from three games. They’ll next be in action on Saturday when they travel to Nashville (8 p.m.).

Three Points

  • The week. The Union traveled to Atlanta and grabbed a point, won against defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus at home and knicked a draw against lowly Chicago on the road. If you offered five points to Union fans a the beginning of the week, most would have taken it.
  • Sullivan. In his first start, Quinn Sullivan banged in a Union equalizer with an impressive volleyed effort in the first half. Hopefully it’s the first of many for the 17 year old.
  • Looking forward: Daniel Gazdag saw important minutes coming off the bench just after the hour mark and looked the part. The Hungarian did well to get on the ball and connected the lines in the latter half the game. Union fans can hope for more of that in the future.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Alvas Powell (Olivier Mbaizo 61′), Jacob Glesnes, Stuart Findlay, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Quinn Sullivan (Daniel Gazdag 61′), Leon Flach (Matt Real 90′), Jamiro Monteiro, Sergio Santos (Kacper Przybylko 61′), Cory Burke
Unused Subs: Matt Freese, Aurelien Collin, Cole Turner, Jack McGlynn, Paxten Aaronson

Chicago Fire

Bobby Shuttleworth, Mauricio Pineda, Francisco Calvo, Johan Kappelhof, Miguel Navarro (Jonathan Bornstein 85′), Boris Sekulic, Alvaro Medran, Fabian Herbers, Luka Stojanovic (Przemyslaw Frankowski 63′), Ignacio Aliseda (Elliot Collier 90+2′), Robert Beric (Nnamdi Chinonso Offor 63′)
Unused Subs: Jhon Jairo Espinoza, Gabriel Slonina, Brian Gutierrez, Javier Casas, Alex Monis

Scoring Summary

CHI: Jakob Glesnes (OG) – 2′
PHI: Quinn Sullivan – 28′
PHI: Cory Burke – 45+2′
CHI: Boris Sekulic – 56′
CHI: Mauricio Pineda – 67′
PHI: Boris Sekulic -79′

Disciplinary Summary

PHI –  Jack Elliott – 10′
PHI – Sergio Santos 34′
CHI – Luka Stojanovic – 44′
PHI: Kai Wagner – 52′
PHI: Alvas Powell – 55′
CHI: Miguel Navarro – 62′
CHI: Fabian Herbers – 81′



  1. I hate to be that guy but … hopefully Curtin saw why Elliot should never be at the 6 again. Especially when you have Flach on the field too.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Yeah I like getting Findlay some time but I think Elliott or Glesnes should’ve been rested. I think it stems from hesitancy to start McGlynn and Sullivan on opposite sides.

      • Tim Jones says:

        A 17 year old may not have the physical endurance of an adult to play two consecutive 60 minute MLS-level shifts in three days.
        And Curtin has to get minutes for his bench. 1. He has to discover what he’s got. 2. They have to be ready to cover the international absences that may be coming. 3. There is no substitute for the new arrivals adjusting to the league (Gazdag) and adjusting to the system (Powell and Gazdag) than to have game minutes.
        Who better to take those risks against than a clear dweller?

    • This was the kind of lineup you get when you have one midfielder on international duty (Martinez), another one in concussion protocol (Fontana) and a third with a knock (Bedoya) all with short rest and Gazdag being integrated into the team. It was not a great lineup, but I don’t really fault either Curtin or Tanner. Only so much you can be expected to weather before quality starts to dip.

      I’m mostly taking encouragement from Quinn Sullivan mostly looking like he belonged out there. It may come in handy later in the year that we can count on Sullivan for 60 minutes even if he’s maybe not ready for that every week.

    • Vince Devine says:

      Elliot at the 6 and Findlay at centerback did not hurt us. Defending set pieces (man on man matchup) is where we fell short. no goals were scored from the run of play. The defensive line up worked well.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    I’ll take a dirty point to remain unbeaten in 8 games against that terrible soccer team.
    “Regulators! Mount up”….and get the fuck out of Chi-town unscathed.

  3. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I thought the movement was very good considering the team put together tonight would have been forgiven for lacking chemistry. Glad Bedoya got some rest and it proves that can survive a game or 2 without him rather than running him into the ground.

  4. Burke only used one touch to score that lovely goal

    • McMohansky says:

      It was brilliant. Zlatan-esque.

      Burke is really dominating now. He runs the right channel wisely and sends in very serviceable crosses, and his hold-up play is strong.

      Very excited for him and for what he gives the U.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I admit to thinking in the moment…what the hell is he doing.
      oh. that.

  5. Gruncle Bob says:

    The really poor pitch conditions were good for them and bad for us. Nice that Cory got yet another against Chicago. Arlo White is awful – a worse homer than the Miami guys in the MLS is Back tourney.

  6. Chris Gibbons says:

    Now that the world knows El Brujo can play on the wing, Curtin suddenly has Flach and Martinez for the 6 AND for the 8, with Monteiro and Bedoya filling out the other middle point of the diamond and Gazdag on top. The rotation there will be fun to watch, or won’t exist at all because of international duties and injuries.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Probably Curtin already has a good idea whether Leon Flach is going to the Gold Cup, but we will find out on or before July 2, I think I understand.
      I can make the argument that Curtin knows Flach is going because he played Elliott at the 6. Why do that unless you know you are going to need him there, when you have Flach available to do it for the Chicago game?

  7. SoccerDad says:

    Was the lack of coherent/ effective pressing due to the field conditions ? The number of changes in the lineup? Jack playing the 6? Or 3 games in 6 days? Or not having Ale out there pushing them?

  8. Vagabond Ben says:

    Would have rather seen Gazdag at the 10 when he came in instead of the 8. I just think Jamiro is much better at the 8 than further forward.

    • From my perspective Gazdag did play the 10. He went searching for the ball a few times and shuffled positions, but basically he was the 10. Maybe I’m alone in this.

      • Vagabond Ben says:

        You may be right. Just seemed every time that Miro was more central and advanced than he was. Will be interesting to see where everyone fits when back. I’d hat to see Flach relegated to the bench.

      • You are correct. Miro moved over to take Sullivan’s spot and Gazdag went to the 10.

  9. Can’t really complain given the lineup and conditions. But it was definitely one of the craziest matches I can remember in some time, particularly the last 20 minutes. Could score it to Yakety Sax.

    Loved Sullivan’s goal. And Burke’s. Really loved the craziness of the Union’s third. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a shot punched away by a keeper only to ricochet off a defender into the net. Perfect ending.

  10. LacticacidMCB says:

    It was an entertaining game in a monsoon.

  11. Andy Muenz says:

    The field conditions combined with the number of lineup changes and the horrible bad luck with regards to the own goal didn’t help the Union. And even with all that, they probably would have had a chance to put the game away if they had been given a PK on the handball in the box early in the second half.
    Hopefully the Union can survive the next 5 weeks without losing too much ground in the standings and then really pick things up in August with a full lineup.

  12. At 2-1 and the Union looking likely to get the next, I was thinking the Union had done a good job with all the lineup changes. Surely Curtin is wrong and this proves rotation can be good. At 3-2 I was convinced he was right. At 3-3, I lean more towards Curtin’s thinking but still loved the excitement.
    Once again a poor showing by a MLS referee. Blatant hand ball in the box ignored. Multiple times there were head injuries and he just played on. There really needs to be accountability with MLS referees because there seems to be none.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Agree on the ref. Seemed like half the yellows shouldn’t have been and there were fouls that should have been carded (like Powell getting clobbered in the head or Kai getting shoved into the ad board after the ball was already out of play) that weren’t.

  13. Well that was a wacky one. But for a third game in 7 days, with a bunch of midfielders out/away, and a field that looked like a swamp, I’ll take it.

    I won’t be too hard on the defense despite the 3 goals. Glesnes’ OG was fluky, and the other two were scored on set pieces by guys marked by forward players. However, I will say that Powell’s passing was just awful, and when Mbaizo subbed in for him, his passing was possibly even worse. I’ll chalk that up too as long as it doesn’t stay that way.

    Also, Gazdag in brief action looked like he’s gonna be the real deal. And OMG that goal from Sullivan!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I think a lot of the passing can be attributed to the field conditions. Hard to get the right touch on the pass when the ball weighs twice as much as usual.

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