Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union preview: Union travel to Chicago in crucial Eastern Conference matchup
Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union preview: Union travel to Chicago in crucial Eastern Conference matchup

The Chicago Fire play host to the Philadelphia Union in an important match in the Eastern Conference. The Union looks to continue their playoff run against the Fire, while they just want to win and keep their pride alive. The last time these two teams met, Chicago won the first match at home 1-0. The Union would bounce back in the next match, winning 4-3. This match concludes the season series, as Chicago sit in 10th place in the East with 23 points. Meanwhile, the Union is currently in fourth 40 points. 

Union looks for the leap

With a win against the Fire, and help with other teams this weekend, the Union can leap frog two teams and into second place. With help from rookies Roland Alberg, Keegan Rosenberry, and Fabian Herbers, the Union are the team to fear with their Cinderella run. The most recent win came against Sporting Kansas City at home. Goals from Tranquillo Barnetta and Alberg gave the Union much needed three points. If the recent form of the Union holds, they will make the playoffs for the second time in five years. The most recent were the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2011. 

Chicago needs a win

The Philadelphia Union's Roland Alberg (6) takes a shot against the Chicago Fire in their last meeting back in June | Source: Eric Hartline - USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Union's Roland Alberg (6) takes a shot against the Chicago Fire in their last meeting back in June | Source: Eric Hartline - USA TODAY Sports

Chicago, on the other hand, is just playing out the rest of the season. Chicago's recent match was a 6-2 beating by DC UnitedRazvan Cocis and Michael de Leeuw gave Chicago the consolation goals. DC United forward Patrick Mullins scored a hat trick to pull United ahead in the match. Although Chicago is last in the East, they won't go down without a fight. Recent results from Chicago, such as a 2-2 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxyand a 3-0 win against the Montreal Impactshow that they have the fight. 

Players to keep an eye on for this match from the Union are the rookies. Alberg, Rosenberry, and Herbers have come up huge for the Union. Getting consistent minutes, and starting, these three alone could be the topic of discussion, if the Union were to make the playoffs today. Another player to keep an eye on would be midfielder Barnetta. A huge presence in the midfield, Barnetta is the playmaker that the Union needs. On the other hand, for Chicago, forward David Accam is most certainly the team MVP at the moment. 

Here are the projected lineups for both teams. Starting with the home team, Chicago Fire. The Fire are coached by Veljko Paunovic.

Johnson;

Vincent--Meira--Campbell--Kappelhoff

Polster--Thiam

Solignac--Cocis--Goossens

de Leeuw

Here is the projected lineup for the Union. They are coached by Jim Curtain. 

Blake;

Rosenberry--Yaro--Richie Marquez--Fabinho

Bedoya--Creavalle

Herbers--Barnetta--Pontius

C.J. Sapong

Prediction

Prediction: The Philadelphia Union are in great form, while Chicago is not. The match will be played out to a Union 3-1 win on the road. 

Chicago Fire 1, Philadelphia Union 3

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