In another mid-week match as MLS tries to clear their schedules for the World Cup, the Philadelphia Union (4-5-3, 15 Pts, 7th Place Eastern Conference) host the Chicago Fire (4-6-2, 14 Pts, 8th Place) for Pride Night 🏳️🌈. Both teams still have playoff aspirations as they are only 3 & 4 points below the red line.
Union/Fire Series History:
The Fire have a slight edge in the series, 8-7, with 5 ties, though the Union have fared well at Talen Energy Stadium 5-2, with 2 draws. The last match here was a 3-1 W for the U on 9/24/17, though their last meeting overall went the other way 3-2 a few weeks later on 10/16/17.
Last Time Out:
Chicago is coming off a late 2-1 win on the road against Orlando City SC, while Philly had their third result in a row, a scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls, also away from home. Both matches were on Saturday so no advantage either way.
Chicago has been beset with injuries, including one of their best MFs Dax McCarty. Union head coach Jim Curtin talked about the difficulties in preparing for this ever changing squad.
“Chicago’s played 12 games, 12 different lineups. Different styles home and away. We are preparing the best we can.”
As for men to watch, even though he comes off the bench F Alan Gordon is a real force. He scored the game winner in their last match in the 82′, after coming on at half time.
As Curtin noted “Whether it’s for 30 minutes or 30 seconds, he tends to score goals in that time.”
The Fire’s leading scorer is Nemanja Nikolić who has 6 G, 2 of them GWG.
The U have injury problems of their own as although D’s Josh Yaro (concussion) and Richie Marquez (sports hernia surgery) were both working out this week, are each ruled out. On the positive side MF Anthony Fontana will be available for selection and was in full workout mode. Look for him to come on mid to late in the 2nd half.
MF David Accam will be facing his old club for the first time and will be looking to prove that letting him go was a mistake. He had a career high 14 G for them last season, but has yet to hit the back of the net for the Union. He was subbed on for the last 20′ on Saturday so he may get a start as a rested player.
This should be a low scoring affair as in twelve matches Chicago has only scored 17 times, while Philly has 12 tallies.
The Union do seem to have a bit of momentum, even with the missed opportunities last week, earning the draw against a top tier team, and that they have done well against the Fire at home, I will go 2-1 Union.