The Fire (1-2-7) hosted the Philadelphia Union (5-4-2) on a rainy Saturday night with the team’s playoff aspirations fading fast, placing head coach Raphael Wicky on the hot seat. Having produced only one win through nine matches, a positive result against 3rd place Philadelphia would be a step in the right direction.
From the opening kickoff, Chicago showed renewed vigor, playing with pace and intent. It took only two minutes for the home side to find the back of the net when Ignacio Aliseda sent a cross into the box, which deflected off Union defender Jakob Glesnes for an own goal. At the 16-minute mark, Sergio Santos thought he had given Philadelphia the equalizer, but the play was ultimately called back when Santos was ruled to be in an offside position.
27 minutes into his first-ever start, 17-year-old Quinn Sullivan put Philadelphia on the board with an absolutely gorgeous bicycle kick. Quinn’s heroics completely shifted the game’s momentum as the Union became the more aggressive side from that point forth. Corey Burke gave the visitors a 2-1 lead in extra time with a strong finish into the side netting. After the Fire’s terrific start, they nevertheless found themselves down a goal at halftime.
Philadelphia opened the second half, in the same way, they closed out the first 45 minutes, nearly netting their third tally of the night if not for a last-second tackle by Mauricio Pineda. Surprisingly, the Fire were able to draw even against the run of play. This was thanks to a beautifully weighted ball off a set piece by Álvaro Medrán, which found the head of Boris Sekulić. With yet another swing of momentum, Fabian Herbers nearly gave Chicago their second lead of the night shortly after.
With 24 minutes remaining, the Fire earned a corner kick resulting in Pineda burying a side-footed volley to put Chicago up 3-2. But just when it looked like the home side would secure three crucial points, the Union tied the contest on a controversial and unfortunate turn of events. Philadelphia forward Kacper Przybylko appeared to commit a clear foul, but the referee allowed play to continue, culminating in Przybylko’s shot deflecting off Sekulić’s shoulder and into the net.
Both teams went for it down the stretch with a relentless back-and-forth effort but to no avail as the match would end in a 3-3 deadlock.
Man of the Match
It’s easy to concentrate on goal scorers but the award goes to Medrán who was brilliant tonight, controlling pace through midfield and creating dangerous scoring opportunities via set pieces.
What’s Next On Tap?
The Fire (1-2-7) welcome Atlanta United (2-5-2) to Soldier Field on July 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm CT on WGN-TV, ChicagoFireFC.com, and ESPN+ for out-of-market streaming. As always, you can check out the latest Fire/Red Stars content, articles, and more at Second City On Tap.