The Philadelphia Union entered Saturday's match against Chicago Fire coming off two impressive wins against the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution, respectively. However, an early second half red card to Warren Creavalle put the Union behind the 8-ball and they would not be able to recover, conceding a goal and ultimately losing 1-0 to the Chicago Fire early Saturday evening at Toyota Park.
While normally weather conditions are not a huge factor, it was hard to watch this and not believe the weather played some kind of factor. With winds whipping ferociously and snow squalls falling intermittently throughout the match, both teams at times looked uncomfortable and unprepared to deal with the rapidly changing conditions. Andre Blake, who has been smooth and certain throughout the early parts of the season, occasionally looked awkward and uncertain in tracking the flight of some balls.
The first half featured much back-and-forth action in between blinding snow squalls. Kennedy Igboananike had a half-chance blocked by Keegan Rosenberry. Warren Creavalle cleared a chance from the six yard box. Andre Blake carelessly punched a ball leading to numerous chances and a fantastic athletic save ruled to have never happened due to a rightful off side flag but my goodness did you see that save anyway. A minute after that C.J. Sapong turned a cross from Fabinho into a shot off the bar and out. 12 minutes later, Sapong struck wood again. It was a back-and-forth affair but the Union had found themselves getting the better of the opportunities and seemed the more likely to score after returning from the locker room tied at 0.
The start of the second half contained other plans, though. After the Union once again quickly started the half by threatening Matt Lampson's goal with Ilsinho striking the bar from distance, Warren Creavalle stopped the Union's attack dead in its tracks and left Brian Carroll alone in the midfield. Already on a yellow card, Creavalle committed a dangerous foul from behind on Matt Polster. Referee Silviu Petrescu showed Creavalle a well-deserved second yellow card, sending him off the pitch leaving the Union with 10 men for the final 43 minutes.
Three minutes following Creavalle's red, the Chicago Fire capitalized on their newfound fortune. A Michael Harrington entrance pass found Kennedy Igboananike in the box. With Ken Tribbett out of position on Igboananike, the Nigerian was able to turn and fire a shot on goal, past Blake, and into the net giving the Fire their first and only goal of the game. While Tribbett may feel regret over not playing Igboananike better, credit should be giving for Igboananike for producing a brilliant strike on goal.
With the 10-man Union side unable to generate much in the way of quality chances to close out the match, the Chicago Fire walked away from the match victors by a score of 1-0. It was not the prettiest of games, but it was a game the Union may have been well on their way to at least securing a draw, if not winning, had it not been for Creavalle's foolish 2nd half foul.
Up next for the Union, they will return to Talen Energy Stadium this Friday night seeking a win against Orlando City.