One of those days: Union 3-3 Fire RECAP

The Union were high on confidence after dominating the pitch in their recent U.S. Open Cup victory against Chicago, so you would have thought that facing the same team just days later would be a walk in the park.It was a walk in the plagued by terrible refereeing and a goalkeeping performance to shame the world’s best.

Things started poorly for the Union ad Chicago tried to rally their team to revenge. It looked as though that in the opening ten minutes it was a completely different team to who they had faced just days before. Kennedy Igboananike scored the opener just nine minutes in following a Nyarko cross. The move came from the left hand side, that remained empty after Fabinho was running back from an attacking move, leaving the Sons of Ben not only confused but frustrated.

The Union responded though, and fast. Fernando Aristeguieta made his first MLS start since June, and it was a successful one. We spoke about how the Venezuelan has a huge height advantage over the Chicago Defense and that was emphasised on a Maidana corner. His placement seemed much better as he was able to seek out the Union striker who nodded the ball home to tie the game. The Union have been weak on attacking set pieces this season, this goal was an encouraging sign to say the least.

This is where the fun we begin to learn throughout the game that the referee may have had a few beers before the game. There appeared to be a handball in the box from the Fire’s Joevin Jones. Geiger called the hand ball…and awarded a free kick..on the edge of the box. This sparked controversy off the bat and whilst debatable, it was a tough call to make. It seemed as though Geiger had woken up the dragon though. Sean Johnson erupted from that moment on, having kept his team in it on Wednesday’s game, he was looking to do the same after stopping a flying Maidana free kick.

After the opening goal, the Union were playing just like they did on Wednesday, fast, flowing and attacking. Fernando Aristeguieta had many chances to push the Union ahead but failed to find the target. But after a big Barnetta interception to deflect a ball to Maidana, a through ball from the Union’s midfield maestro sent Fabinho through on goal who despite taking a deflection was able to put the Union 2-1 up.

The teams went into the first half with the Union leading 2-1. It had been a slightly frustrating affair so far but this was just a taster for what was to come. The second half had been underway for no more than ten minutes when Igboananike not only ran rings around Gaddis but found the remaining defenders ball watching to unleash Nyarko for a simple tap in.

It looked as though the game was going to end in a draw as the Union continued to battle for disappointing results. But, keen to let the world know that whilst The Union are prioritising the Open Cup that they won’t go down without a fight, Curtin bought on Sapong and Le Toux. The team’s leading goalscorer and the all time U.S. Open Cup goalscorer to try and throw everything at Chicago. That they did, but Manuel Neuer..sorry we mean Sean Johnson had a thing or two to say about it.

As opposed to us describing every shot the Union fired at the Fire’s keeper…just watch this.

Yeah..that happened…THAT….HAPPENED. If anyone is familiar with the FIFA video games and more notably the term “scripting” in which you feel like no matter what you do, or who you have on your team..that game has a pre embedded script that you lose due to the amount of chances you fail to convert against a keeper/team that should be easy pickings…THIS WAS FIFA SCRIPTING IN REAL LIFE.

But the death, in the 90th minute, a time in which the Union have a tendency to upset the odds, the outfield man of the match Cristian Maidana (There’s only one man winning the overall..) searched out Le Toux with a through ball. The french substitute fired one home for his second goal of the week and giving Maidana his 14th assist of the year.

The Sons of Ben were thinking they had finally done it. The Union have overcome the odds and risen to a victory against a world class goalkeeping performance and some questionable refereeing. But..THAT’S SO UNION became a thing once again.

However, not all of this is to blame on the U. Chicago threw everything at the home side as Johnson without a shadow of doubt made contact between his right arm and the ball..but the referee stayed silent much to the dismay of just about everyone. Harry Shipp then brought a ball BACK from over the end line (no dispute there) and lofted a ball to Mike Magee who was lucky to stop the ball just a blade of grass away from going over again..but as this referee was too busy retweeting videos of funny cats, he missed the play. It was a scrappy few seconds that was topped off by Igboananike scoring the final game to tie the game at 3-3..yep.

There’s a lot of debate about this game, should the Union have closed the game better? should the referee have been more vigilant? Did the Union throw the game away? But ultimately, it’s very rare to beat a goalkeeper that formidable on his day AND a referee who looked to need a pair of glasses or 12. The Union threw everything they had at Chicago and whilst players like Fabinho didn’t have their greatest games, the team played some brilliant attacking football. If that was ANY other MLS keeper in goal that day, then the scoreline would have read at least 5-3. The winner of this game is no doubt Sean Johnson, who carried his team to a point by making some of the most ridiculous saves.

But the Union can be proud of the way they had played, sure there are some things to tighten up..but it was a solid performance in a game shrouded by controversy.