The Philadelphia Union came into a largely empty Toyota Park hoping to overcome their depth issues and to erase the memories of the season's first three games, but facing a dreadful Chicago Fire side, they put on a dreadful display of their own, dropping 1-0 to the hometown Fire. Lacking roster depth and lacking quality, the Union also lacked goals, hope, and eventually a man during a forgettable 90-minute Sunday afternoon in Bridgeview. Adailton scored, Fred got sent off, and the Union left Chicago embarrassed.
The first half was a complete tirefire for the Union, pun intended. Nothing went right for them, and they even found themselves trailing by a goal by the end of it. Despite playing against Lovel Palmer, a guy whose shot went out of play for a throw-in, the Union somehow came out of the 1st half looking worse. They had two breakaways called back for an offside, and a third breakaway go horribly wrong when Andrew Wenger laid the ball off for Fernando Aristeguieta who peeled back anticipating the shot.
The Union defense was tested often by a usually punchless Chicago Fire attack. The Union got lucky in the 20th minute when a corner kick found a falling Quincy Amerikwa in the box. Amerikwa's first shot falling down went off Ethan White's face, then once on the ground he got the rebound and directed the ball near White again. This time the ball deflected off White's outstretched arm and into the diving arms of Rais M'Bolhi. It was a nice save by M'Bolhi, but Amerikwa screamed for a penalty and he may have had a point, although given the Union's luck with officiating this season they'll be hardly sympathetic to the claim.
The Fire goal came in the 37th minute of the first half, and it was hard to say it wasn't deserved. Harrison Shipp's free kick was deftly deflected into the net by an unmarked Adailton. Adailton appeared to be Wenger's responsibility, but M'Bolhi's decision making and hesitation on the play did the team no favors as well. It was a complete defensive mess all-around for the Union, and for the Fire a much-needed goal to get out in front for the first time this season.*
*It's their fourth game of the season. That's how bad the Fire are, and they made the Union look the worse team.
The second half was much of the same for the Union. The Union, down a goal, nary mounted a threat toward the Chicago target and the Union backline found themselves doing the majority of the defensive hardwork. M'Bolhi made a fine foot save on Kennedy Igboananike after the Nigerian received the ball getting past White in the process.
Perhaps the Union's best chance at registering so much as a shot on target came in the 68th minute. Wenger's cross deflected off the foot of a defender in the box and found the foot of Aristeguieta but Nando could only watch as his shot went helplessly astray of goal, much like every other Union shot attempt on the night. Sean Johnson could have spent the entire match day-dreaming of 90s wrestling and how awesome it would be if DX ever faced the nWo and not only would he have kept the clean sheet, but his dream would have come true too. The Union registered a grand total of zero shots on target all match long.
The cherry on top of the crap sundae came in the 71st minute when Fred was issued a red card. Fred had delivered an open-handed slap to Shipp, and the affront to Harry did not go unnoticed by the referee. The Union have had issues with officiating this season, but for the second straight week a Union player got shown red and the Union had nary a complaint to register with the decision.
Down a man the Union remained as effective as they were up a man, and the match ended a 1-0 Union loss. The Union are yet to register a win in four matches this year, and it won't get any easier next weekend when they travel to Kansas City to take on Sporting KC in what is now a inter-conference tilt.