The Chicago Fire were able to end their losing run on Saturday night as they tied the Philadelphia Union 3-3 at Soldier Field.
One of the games of the season so far, the scoring came early and often. Chicago went ahead via an own-goal before Philadelphia scored twice to take the lead going into half-time. The Fire responded well, scoring two of their own to retake the lead. That wouldn’t be the end of it, though, as the Union scored one more to tie things up and secure a point on the road.
It was a fun game to watch, sure, but neither team will be too happy with the result.
Story of the match
Chicago would take an extremely early lead, opening the scoring within the opening two minutes in extraordinarily fortunate fashion. A low cross from Miguel Navarro was not dealt with properly by Jakob Glesnes, who completely botched an attempted clearance, accidentally hitting the ball over his own goalkeeper and into the back of the Philadelphia net.
The Union thought they had equalized a bit later on when Sérgio Santos reacted first to a loose ball to poke home from close range. However, the sideline official’s flag went up to call him offside, and the goal was not given.
They did eventually equalize near the half hour mark. A corner made its way to the back post to Quinn Sullivan, who went for the spectacular, attempting a scissor-kick in the area. It was the right decision, as he was able to make clean contact on the effort to slam the ball past a helpless Bobby Shuttleworth.
Philadelphia continued to push forward, and they were able to take the lead themselves right before the half-time break. A corner was seemingly cleared away, but Glesnes managed to hook the ball back into the box. It then fell to Cory Burke, who blew past his marker before picking out the bottom corner with an excellent finish from a tight angle.
Their advantage didn’t last long, though. A superb free-kick whipped in by Álvaro Medrán picked out the run of Boris Sekulić, and he made no mistake with the finish, heading home to tie things up about 10 minutes into the start of the second half.
Chicago would make the most of their newfound momentum, jumping back in front in the 67th minute. Coming courtesy of another set-piece, a corner eventually fell to the feet of Mauricio Pineda, and he was able to place a first-time shot into the back of the net to give his side the lead.
Things continued to get crazy, as the Union grabbed another equalizer near the 80-minute mark. The play started when Kacper Przybyłko won the ball high up the pitch before dancing past a defender and getting a shot off. Shuttleworth made a decent save, but he could only punch the ball off of the back of Sekulić and into his own net, meaning that the defender had now scored on both ends of the field.
It was nearly 4-3 moments later. Jamiro Monteiro found himself through on goal, but he couldn’t finish off the chance, as Shuttleworth denied him from close range.
That proved to be the final highlight of the night, as both teams ended up settling for a point
No one really wins
As mentioned earlier, this result isn’t really a great one for either side, even if the contest was a fun one.
Chicago’s winless run continued as they dropped two more points at home. Did they play better than before? Sure. Were they up against tougher opposition? Of course. However, even if this draw isn’t too bad on its own, it doesn’t change much for the Fire. They’re still in last place in the league, and there’s still plenty of questions surrounding the team and the coaching staff.
Philadelphia will be even less happy. Coming into this match in stellar form, they were understandably favorites despite being on the road. They couldn’t get the job done, though, as mistakes and poor marking at the back allowed the opposition to stay in the game. The Union just didn’t look quite right on the night, and they were ultimately made to pay for their poor play.
All things considered, both clubs will now look to learn from this barnstormer of a contest as they head into a crucial spell of the season.
Man of the match - Álvaro Medrán
There were a number of quality performances from each team on the night, but Álvaro Medrán managed to stand out just a bit above the rest.
Quiet for most of the contest, he didn’t actually do much on the ball during the run of play. However, he was still able to make a remarkable impact due to his set-piece prowess.
Medrán set up Chicago’s second and third goals thanks to his dead-ball delivery. The first of the two was special, as he curled a free-kick from distance into a perfect spot, which allowed Sekulić to simply head home with relative ease. The next assist was decent as well, to be fair, as the Spaniard’s corner picked out Pineda in the area, and he was able to do the rest with a tidy finish.
He’s been a bit disappointing ever since joining the Fire, but showings like this one demonstrate just what Medrán can do on any given day.