Philadelphia Union 1-4 Chicago Fire: Understandable have a nice day
Photo via @ChicagoFire on Twitter

The Chicago Fire’s unbeaten run came to a close on Saturday night as they lost 4-1 to the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park.

A relatively simple win when all was said and done, Philadelphia went into the break up two thanks to goals from Dániel Gazdag and Jack Elliott. Chicago halved the deficit through Chris Mueller shortly after the break, but a Julián Carranza chip moments later effectively sealed the three points for the hosts before Cory Burke added the icing on the cake late on.

All in all, this game sort of went exactly how you would have expected it to.

Story of the match

Philadelphia had an opening a bit before the 10-minute mark. A shot from the edge of the area was saved by Gabriel Slonina, but he gave up a pretty juicy rebound. Fortunately for him Mauricio Pineda was there to bail him out, as he beat the opposing forward to the loose ball before booting it away.

Chicago then should have scored moments later. A well-worked move led to Jairo Torres getting the ball in the middle of the penalty area, but he couldn’t convert from close range, instead blasting a shot right at goalkeeper Andre Blake.

The opening goal did come soon after, and it would be scored by the hosts. Hitting on the counter, Julián Carranza played Dániel Gazdag in behind, and he then did the rest in spectacular fashion, cutting past a lunging challenge before turning and dinking the ball into the opposite corner.

The Fire responded well, and they carved out another opportunity midway through the first half. The move started after a lovely nutmeg from Chris Mueller, and even though the first shot was blocked, the ball fell right to the feet of Kacper Przybyłko in a great position. He wasn’t able to make his old team pay, though, and his effort was denied by the goalkeeper.

Referee Ismail Elfath then played one of the longest advantages I’ve ever seen in my life.

Chicago caught a huge break at the half hour mark. For no reason whatsoever, Gastón Giménez stomped on the foot of Alejandro Bedoya off the ball. It looked like a clear red card, but for whatever reason nothing was given. The referee wasn’t even asked to look at the monitor by VAR.

They wouldn’t make the most of it, though, as they went down 2-0 minutes later. The goal came via a horrific error from Slonina, who tried to catch the ball but lost it after bumping it off the crossbar. Jack Elliott was on hand to pounce, volleying the loose ball into the back of the net.

The referee potentially missed another red card right before the half. Bedoya, who was already on a yellow, intentionally bumped a Fire player who was already in the air jumping for an aerial ball. It wasn’t a sure-fire yellow, to be fair, but that’s usually a booking more often than not.

Chicago came out flying following the break, and after a few chances, they pulled a goal back. Xherdan Shaqiri played Chris Mueller into space, and he was able to curl a shot into the bottom corner past the outstretched arms of Blake.

That spell wouldn’t last long, though, as Philadelphia restored their two-goal lead just moments later. Mikael Uhre was slipped through in behind the backline, and even though his initial effort was saved, the rebound was chipped over the line by Carranza.

Things really died down following that moment, but the hosts were able to get one more before the night was over. A low cross into the area by Olivier Mbaizo picked out Cory Burke, and he took a touch to settle himself before slotting home from close range.

That was the final highlight of the night, with the Union ultimately securing the win and all three points with relative ease.

Takeaways

Philadelphia has the best stadium backdrop in the league. I just love that bridge, man.

This was a standard Philadelphia victory. Substance over style, they took the chances they created, and they were mostly solid at the back. It was a clinical showing at both ends of the pitch, and it showcased why they’ve been such a good team in the regular season in recent years.

Cory Burke scoring against Chicago just felt right.

The Kacper Przybyłko redemption arc has come to a sudden and complete stop. After a matchwinning performance last time out, he kept his spot in the starting lineup in the hopes that he could keep that good form up and do some damage to his former side. Instead, he damaged his own team. He dropped an absolute stinker, failing to do much of anything good on the night, and he was deservedly subbed off at the hour mark.

Gastón Giménez had a rough game, but I’ll leave the criticism there due to the potentially horrific injury he suffered late on that cut his match short. He was in great pain and he had to be stretchered off, and there’s reason to believe that he’ll be out for a while. That’s woeful news for the Fire, as Mauricio Pineda, who is the backup defensive midfielder, won’t be able to cover for him since he’s at centerback covering for the other injuries the team has. Head coach Ezra Hendrickson is going to have to figure out something.

Man of the match - Dániel Gazdag

It was a real team performance from Philadelphia, so it’s hard to highlight a particular player. However, Dániel Gazdag will get the nod here thanks to his moment of pure magic.

With the scores at 0-0 and both teams having chances, the Hungarian stepped up to put his side in front. Flying forward on the counter, the pass to him was a bit behind, so he had to cut back to dance past a lunging defender. He then turned back towards goal, and just as it seemed like the chance was lost, he expertly dinked a shot over everyone and into the back of the net.

It was a stunning goal, and it was ultimately the most important one of the night as the Union never really looked back afterwards. Gazdag has been excellent for both club and country this season, and this match was just more of the same from him.

If he can keep playing like this, then the Union might make some real noise come the playoffs.

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