Match Preview: Chicago Fire at Philadelphia Union, 6/22/16, 7 PM

The Union will look to rebound from their first loss since April 16th when they host the Chicago Fire on Wednesday at Talen Energy Stadium.

They saw their eight-game unbeaten streak in all venues snapped as they dropped a match to NYCFC in Yankee Stadium, 3-2.

The Fire are coming off of a 2-1 loss to the Rapids in Colorado and are severely banged-up right now. Midfielder Matt Polster suffered a concussion in an attempt to block a clearance in their Open Cup match versus the Indy Eleven and will not be available. MF Arturo Alvarez hyperextended his knee and picked up a contusion as well and won’t be in Philly. MF Collin Fernandez will not play with an ankle sprain; likewise FW Joey Calistri with the same ailment.

For the Union, Joshua Yaro trained fully according to manager Jim Curtin and is expected to be available. CJ Sapong sounded questionable and more likely to come back Saturday against Vancouver than tomorrow, having not really trained. Midfielder Warren Creavalle also had some tightness in his groin area and may be held out.

The two teams met on April 2nd this year in Bridgeview where they played in apocalyptic weather. Rain, snow, and wind beset the two teams as Chicago found the winner (and the only goal of the match) early in the second half by Kennedy Igboananike just minutes after Union midfielder Warren Creavalle was sent off for picking up his second caution of the match.

This match starts a run of four home league matches in five games: 6/22 vs Fire, 6/25 vs Whitecaps, 7/2 in Houston, 7/9 vs D.C. United, 7/17 vs RBNY. As they’ve stated all year, they must get points from their home matches and that still holds true. The Union are undefeated at home this year and can extend their unbeaten streak at home to ten (including last year) with a result. While the early points they’ve gained cushions the blow of a questionable loss like the one in Yankee Stadium, they must keep pushing forward and maintaining good form.

Possible first XI (4-1-4-1): Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Tribbett, Rosenberry; Carroll; Pontius, Barnetta, Alberg, Ilsinho; Herbers

A look at the table shows Chicago near the bottom and the Union at the top so one would expect a Union win, but Chicago has played the U tough throughout the years regardless of the respective places in the standings. Still, I expect a superior Union team will come through at home. Union 2, Fire 1.

 

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