Match Recap: Union regain their winning ways, put out Fire 4-3

Behind a Roland Alberg hat trick, the Union defeated the Fire and ran their undefeated streak at home to ten

The hat trick was just the second one in Union history; the first was by Sebastien Le Toux in 2010 vs D.C. United. The win widens their lead in the East to four points, pending the result of the RBNY match at RSL tonight. The result also keeps the Union undefeated at home this year, and are 8-0-2 at home extending back into last year.

Union First XI: Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Tribbett, Rosenberry; Carroll, Barnetta; Pontius, Alberg, Ilsinho; Herbers

Fire First XI: Johnson; Harrington, Campbell, Kappelhof; Gehrig, Thiam, Vincent, Cocis, Stephens; Accam, Igboananike

The match started in the worst way possible for the Union, as David Accam grabbed a Union turnover at midfield and simply outran everyone to the goal, slotting the ball past Andre Blake in the second minute for a fast 1-0 Chicago lead. The goal seemed to wake the Union up, as they began pressing and growing into the game, winning free kicks in the attacking half and a corner, and in the eleventh minute, a turnover at midfield was grabbed by Chris Pontius, who ran down the left touchline then switched it to Ilsinho on the right, who found Alberg in the box. Alberg took a shot that caromed around and bounced in off of Jonathan Campbell for an own goal, and the match was level. Just four minutes later, Alberg put one into the net that he got credit for, a blast in the box past Sean Johnson to make it 2-1.

Chicago found their way into the match more as the half grew later; a free kick at the top of the Union box went begging, and then a pretty give-and-go with David Accam saw him miss from close range, putting it over the bar. Brian Carroll would see yellow in the 36th minute for a foul in the midfield, and Ken Tribbett would see yellow a minute later for grabbing Accam to slow him down before he could go on a break.

The fireworks weren’t over though. Following a couple routine saves by Andre Blake, the Union broke the Fire down one more time as Fabian Herbers set up Roland Alberg in the box for a try that was blocked, but the ball came right back to him and he pounded it home near post past the still-recovering Johnson. The half ended 3-1.

The second half started with a substitution: Ken Tribbett on a yellow was replaced by Joshua Yaro, who recently returned to fitness from a shoulder injury sustained against Orlando City. Chicago also made a sub, taking out Harrington and putting in Ramos. The Union quickly had a great chance, with Alberg again forcing Sean Johnson into a fingertip save with a blast from the top of the box.

Alberg would complete the hat trick just 56 minutes in as he converted a penalty kick, sending Johnson the wrong way and coolly slotting it past him for a 4-1 lead. Roland would then pick up a yellow just minutes later after grabbing a Fire player’s jersey in the Chicago end. The Fire subbed Gehrig out for Goossens in the 61st minute. In the 69th, they finally found an answer as Cocis volleyed a cross in the box home to make it 4-2. The Union subbed Ilsinho out for Le Toux in the 72nd minute. In the 78th minute, Alberg was subbed off for Warren Creavalle in a defensive replacement.

Just two minutes later, Thiam scored off of a corner kick into the box, narrowing the Union advantage to just 4-3. The Fire subbed Stephens out for Morrell in the 85th, and Jonathan Campbell saw yellow a minute later. The match ended with little else of significance to speak of as the Union picked up all three points in a match that was closer than it had to be.

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