Philadelphia Union score four, beat Chicago Fire in dramatic fashion

The Philadelphia Union beat Chicago in dramatic fashion! David Accam scored for the Union in the 90+5′ to seal a 4-3 victory. With the win Philadelphia move further up the eastern conference standings.

Philadelphia Union teammates celebrate David Accam’s game winning goal against Chicago Fire!

Coming off a bad loss to Atlanta United, the Philadelphia Union traveled to take on Chicago Fire. Both sides sat on the outside of a playoff spot, knowing that a win and some help would change that fact. The Union had a possible six-point swing in the works on a weird mid-week MLS night. There were only two matches; Montreal took on NYCFC, and Philadelphia took on Chicago. If NYCFC beat Montreal, and the Union find a way to beat Chicago Fire on the road, then Philly would move from eighth place to a tie for sixth. Philadelphia would pass Chicago and tie Montreal. That’s exactly what happened.

1st half:

The match started off as a snoozer. The first 15 minutes saw neither side really pushing the tempo. Both felt sat back, feeling each other out. Both Chicago and Philadelphia had to burn early subs early as injuries struck. Chicago’s Kevin Elils and Philadelphia’s Ilsinho were subbed out before the 20th minute! As both sides got comfortable, it was clear that the Union would be able to find chances by pressing the back line of Chicago. This paid off in the 31st minute.

Haris Medunjanin dispossessed Chicago, dinked the ball around another defender, and hit the chance home to give the Union the lead. This play from Haris was what the Union were lacking, someone to do something after creating a great chance! After this goal however Chicago found a way back into the match.

Chicago pushed for the tying goal after Medunjanin’s strike. After trying to break down the Union’s young defense, the Fire decided to play long balls over the top. One of these passes went towards Aleksandar Katai. Katai took the ball well, and forced Mark McKenzie to foul him inside the box. Chicago won a penalty. Nemanja Nikolic stepped up, and smashed home the chance past a diving Andre Blake! It looked like the Fire had secured the momentum, but the Union pushed the envelope just before halftime!

As the half wound down, the Union pushed for the lead. Fafa Picault found the ball in the middle of the field, and made his way past some defenders to right-wing. He sent a looping cross to the back post. Cory Burke came rushing in and headed the chance home to give the Union the lead on the last play of the first half!

2nd half:

As the second half started Chicago came out swinging. They knew that if they wanted to find another goal they’d have to play through their star players. Nikolic, Katai and Schweinsteiger were on the ball much more in the second half. When the Union had the chance to break they did so, but failed to produce that finishing touch. This allowed Chicago to get back on the front foot.

Chicago’s newly signed man Katai found his way around the Union’s defense. He ran from left to right looking for an inch of space. He set up a curling low shot and slotted the chance home to tie the match. Andre Blake saw the shot late, which allowed the dribbling shot to make its way past Blake and into the Union’s net.

Just five minutes after losing the lead for a second time, Philadelphia fought back. Haris Medunjanin was on the ball in the middle of the field. The deep-lying play maker looked forward and saw David Accam making a great run down the right-wing. Medunjanin lofted a ball to the winger. Accam took a touch moving towards the edge of the box. He had the sense of urgency to wip a ball into the box. This forced a diving save from Richard Sánchez. The rebound fell kindly to Cory Burke, who was streaking through the box. He put the ball away, securing his second goal and a 3-2 lead for the Union.

Now all Philly had to do was hold on…

In an extended period of stoppage time, due to second half sub CJ Sapong getting knocked in the head, Chicago had time to push for an equalizer. at the fourth minute of stoppage time, Chicago won a corner. In a moment that has plagued the Union in years past, the Union failed to defend properly on a set piece. Schweinsteiger was allowed to run freely in the box, and headed the chance past Andre Blake. The game was now tied 3-3 with about a minute left in the extended stoppage time.

The Union had a choice; roll over and die, or try to find a winning goal.

With very little time left Philadelphia found themselves on the ball in Chicago’s half. The ball fell to David Accam. The winger knew he had very little options with him. He showed shades of his time with Chicago for the first time in a Union shirt  when Philadelphia needed him most. He started making a run wide to the right, with two defenders on him. Realizing there was room towards the center, he shifted his hips and darted between both Chicago players. As he accelerated into the box, Accam had very little choices, it was shot or try to side step an on rushing defender. Accam kept his head down, and put his laces through the ball. The laser of a shot made it past Sánchez and into the net!

Accam celebrated the goal by taking his shirt off, then remembering Chicago was his former club so he pulled the celebration short.  The ball was put back into play only for the whistle to sound. The Union won 4-3! A huge sigh of relief was exhaled, yet it was a frantic way to get a three points that should have been sured up early in the second half by Philadelphia.

Key takeaways:

Corey Burke’s spark:

The Union did something a little differently against Chicago, they started Cory Burke over CJ Sapong. Burke mad his presence known early and often. In the opening minutes his persistent pressure was shown a yellow card for a late challenge. However he showed why he should be Philadelphia’s starter moving forward. He scored two goals, throwing his body on the line for the first and showing up in the right place at the right time for the second. Burke’s spark could help the Union move up the eastern conference standings.

Ilsinho’s Injury and Accam’s homecoming:

In the 17th minute Ilsinho had to be subbed off due to an injury. This allowed for David Accam to shine against his former club. Ilsinho had looked good early on, but his upper leg injury looked serious as he walked off the pitch. Accam was lively against his former team. He showed well moving forward, and finally scored his first MLS goal in a Union shirt. His game winning goal, and the extent of Ilsinho’s injury, could mean we see more of Accam and less of Ilsinho.

Still on the outside looking in:

Even though the Union leapt over Chicago in the standings, and are tied with Montreal on points, Philadelphia is still on the outside looking in. Their poor defending on set pieces, and failure to shut down oppositions stars could prove costly as the Union make their way through the second half of the season. The Union’s next league match isn’t until July 21st when Zlatan and LA Galaxy come to town.

Match Highlights:

Box Score:

Philadelphia Union: 

Andre Blake; Keegan Rosenberry, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, Raymon Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Ilsinho (David Accam 17’), Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle 66’), Fafa Picault; Cory Burke (CJ Sapong 78’)
Substitutes not used: John McCarthy; Jack Elliott, Fabinho, Marcus Epps

Chicago Fire: 

Richard Sanchez; Kevin Ellis (Elliot Collier 13’), Johan Kappelhof, Jonathan Campbell, Jorge Corrales; Dax McCarty (Tony Tchani 86’), Brandt Bronico (Alan Gordon 76’); Diego Campos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Aleksandar Katai; Nemanja Nikolic
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland; Christian Dean, Mo Adams, Jon Bakero

GOALS/ASSISTS

PHI – Haris Medunjanin (unassisted) 31’
CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (penalty) 39’
PHI – Cory Burke (Fafa Picault) 45’+3’
CHI – Aleksandar Katai (Bastian Schweinsteiger) 69’
PHI – Cory Burke (unassisted) 73’
CHI – Bastian Schweinsteiger (Diego Campos) 90’+4’
PHI – David Accam (Haris Medunjanin) 90’+5’

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

CHI – Jorge Corrales (caution) 5’
PHI – Cory Burke (caution) 8’
CHI – Johan Kappelhof (caution) 83’
PHI – David Accam (caution) 90’+6’

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Peace out Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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