It was a beautiful day at Soldier Field that reminded one more of a crisp, cool, but sunny autumn afternoon, instead of a Chicago day in May. Nonetheless, it was a great day for soccer.
Unfortunately, the Chicago Fire performance dampened any positivity fans mustered up from the matchday conditions as the Philadelphia Union came into Chicago and beat the Fire 2-0.
Both clubs came into this one with the same number of points (1) and wins (0) from this young MLS season. However, there was only one favorite, as the defending Supporter’s Shield winners certainly looked the better side on paper.
The Union certainly lived up to those expectations in the first half-hour of play as they dominated the Fire, pressing high and making the Fire uncomfortable and unable to break out of their own half.
Fire goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was called into action early, making a fantastic save on a Cory Burke header from inside the six-yard area. Then, just over the next few minutes, Jack McGlynn forced the Fire defense into more panic as the 17-year-old put two shots on frame that right-back Boris Sekulić had to block, including one off the line.
Chicago did eventually settle down and controlled much of the latter part of the first half. Elliot Collier got an opportunity to put one on frame in the 30th minute, but his shot was aimed directly at Union keeper Andre Blake.
Some positive team play from the Fire gave the club and fans some momentum and hope heading into a scoreless break. However, the Fire could not ride that momentum into the second half as the Union came out on the front foot once again.
For the third time this season, the Fire gave up a goal off a throw-in as Burke simply let the ball roll to him in the penalty box and nodded it to Jamiro Monteiro, who lobbed it back to Burke for the goal, his fifth against the Fire during his career.
The Fire certainly should have equalized just two minutes later as Robert Berić received an excellent cross from Boris Sekulić but made a mess of it with his weaker left foot.
The Union could have easily been up by more than one goal just a few minutes after as Shuttleworth made yet another impressive save, this time off a header by Kacper Przybylko.
However, the corner that ensued resulted in the dagger and the Union’s second goal. The corner went all the way through the box to Kai Wagner, whose errant shot found the head of the unmarked Jakob Glesnes who easily headed it home past Shuttleworth for the 2-0 lead. It was another poor defensive sequence for the Fire.
The Fire did create a few more chances toward the end of the match, the best coming off a corner kick in which the ball laid up perfectly for Przemysław Frankowski, who blasted it way over the cross-bar.
Chinonso Offor did force a great stop by Andre Blake in the dying embers of the match, but it was too little, too late for the Fire as they remain winless through the first four matches of the season.
Man of the Match: Boris Sekulić
Blocked Shots: 2
Duels (won): 5 (5)
Aerial Duels (won): 5 (3)
Pass Accuracy: 36/46 (78%)
Key Passes: 1
What’s On Tap Next?
The Fire will hit the road later this week to visit D.C. United at Audi Field in the nation’s capital on Thursday, May 13th at 7 PM CT. D.C. is coming off a loss of their own, falling to Columbus Crew SC 3-1 this afternoon. Tune in to see if the Fire can record their first victory of the 2021 season.