Union look to extinguish Fire- Philadelphia vs Chicago MLS Preview

The Philadelphia Union will go into tonight’s fixture shorthanded as they look to avoid matching their longest winless streak in history by sending the Fire to a fourth consecutive defeat.

Whilst Chicago are a team who are anything other than in form, it doesn’t mean that the Union are going to have it easy.

Conor Casey, Cristian Maidana and Sheanon Williams all join C.J Sapong on the injury list leaving the Union with very few cards to play in the opening hand. The man who was set to be Maidana’s backup is suspended after his red card in the Union’s 2-0 loss against FC Dallas. Five potential starters have been shelved for this game, leaving Coach Curtin with some very tricky decisions.

Nogueira will be the key man in midfield for the Union, expected to slot in at CAM with choices one and two injured and suspended with Michael Lahoud expected to start as right back .

The Union have also had slight trouble finding the back of the net, with all of their goals coming in the controversial 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake. The team have failed to win 9 of their last 10 MLS games and with the last three between the two sides resulting in a draw, expect a low scoring game. I can’t see more than 2.5 goals being scored today so it will be down to Aristeguieta to try and be more composed in front of the net in what could well be a breakout game for the new signing after scoring two this season already.

The Union will also hope Andrew Wenger can finally find some space. In all of their previous fixtures he has been man marked to a point of no return with sometimes three players shutting him down and making sure no balls escape down the flanks to the elusive winner. It has worked, but if Wenger or Le Toux and escape in a quick burst, expect some quick fire barrages from a hungry Union team.

There have been flashes of brilliance from the Union and some solid defensive work in recent weeks. With Chicago scoring less than 2 goals in 9 of their last 11 home games, expect the likes of Gaddis and White to approach the game with a confident stride. They will be more aggressive and look to support the midfield a lot more as opposed to staying parked inside their own 25 yards.

For the Fire, Harry Shipp has been their only man to score goal this season and thus remains their key player with both Accam and Maloney missing. Shipp will likely end up playing a False 9 role as he’s expected to not only create chances for his peers bur also aid in charging forward to join the strikers. The second year midfielder obviously has the trust of his teammates having been made primary set-piece taker and he’ll look to cause the Union problems from static situations, an area where they have struggled. If Edu can’t find the concentration needed to not commit silly errors then expect Shipp to capitalise fully.

Prediction-

Expect a low scoring affair with just one or two goals. I think the Union despite their lack of stars have enough depth and flair to overcome a slow moving and unconfident Chicago Fire side for their first win of the season.

Chicago Fire 0-1 Philadelphia Union

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