The Union continued their run of good form in a 3-1 win over the Fire in Chester on Wednesday night.
Union first XI: Blake; Gaddis, McKenzie, Trusty, Rosenberry; Medunjanin, Bedoya; Accam, Dockal, Ilsinho; Burke
Fire first XI: McLain; Corrales, Johnson, Ellis, Kappelhof, Vincent, Bronico, Schweinsteiger, Tchani, Gordon, Katai
First half: the Union had the better of play the first ten minutes, with the Fire growing into the match as it progressed. The boys in blue had the first chance, an Alejandro Bedoya shot off of the post off of a set piece from a corner. Ten minutes later, Patrick McLarin made an incredible save on Mark McKenzie on a corner; McKenzie hit a low, hard shot that McLarin barely got a paw to and kept out. The best Fire chance would come five minutes later in the 35th minute as Aleksandar Katai raced down the right side and put a low, hard shot to the near corner that Andre Blake did well to push out for a corner.
The Union pressed forward, and eventually the Fire broke in the 44th minute, as Borek Dockal got the ball to Ilsinho in the box on the right. Ilsinho did the rest, bamboozling two Fire defenders with his footwork and splitting them, then ripping a shot into the far upper corner past the helpless McLarin to give the Union a 1-0 lead they would take into the room at half.
Second half: It didn’t take long for the Union to double the fans’ pleasure. Borek Dockal took a ball on the side of the ball and put a cross in to Cory Burke, who doubled his goal total for the year with a header into the ground that McLarin had no chance at. In typical Union fashion though, the Fire struck just five minutes later in the 56nd minute, when Alan Gordon tapped home a Brandt Bronico pass past a helpless Andre Blake to bring the match to 2-1.
Jack Elliot would come on for Mark McKenzie in the 61st after McKenzie suffered a right leg injury. The Fire played increasingly desperate soccer and generated some chances, but Blake and the Union defense was equal to the test. Of special note was a save Blake made diving to his left on a surgically-placed Alan Gordon header, keeping the ball out and the Union up. Cory Burke nearly bagged a brace from a Haris Medunjanin floater onto the box, but his flick missed just wide left. Burke wasn’t done creating offense yet, though; in the 86th minute, Burke was hauled down by the Fire defense in the box and Borek Dockal coolly slotted the penalty kick low and hard to the right of McLarin who guessed incorrectly, giving the Union the final tally of 3-1.
Additional notes: Cory Burke was a menace all night. His speed and tenacity caused problems for the Fire and he never let up, playing that way for the full match. Coupled with his apt finishing, C.J. Sapong’s position in the first eleven could well be in jeopardy. I thought Auston Trusty was a danger to the Fire by aptly bringing the ball up from the back. He made things happen and drew men to him, opening things up for others.
I think the Union still haven’t figured out how to properly use David Accam yet. I counted maybe two times where I thought he was dangerous, either on a long ball down the left, or near the box. For a man of his financial stature and offensive ability, that will not cut it.
The Union go into Atlanta this Saturday on an upbeat note, three points closer to making the playoffs a reality.