After two straight losses, the Philadelphia Union scored four goals and grabbed a rare road win against Chicago Fire on Wednesday night.
The back and forth match saw the Union give up the lead three times and was decided by a 95th minute goal by former Chicago player David Accam, who scored his first goal of the season.
Philadelphia lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, and head coach Jim Curtin gave the fans what they’ve been asking for, a start for striker Cory Burke (spoiler alert: he did not disappoint).
A piece of Union history was made in the 9th minute of play, as Andre Blake became the Union’s all time leader in saves, comfortably catching a chip attempt from Nemanja Nikolic.
Injuries plagued the first 20 minutes of the game, with an injury to Chicago’s Kevin Ellis in the 13th minute forcing a substitute. Four minutes later, Ilsinho seemed to tighten up in his hamstring and came off for David Accam.
In the 20th minute, Cory Burke was able to slip past the Chicago defense, but was pushed to the edge of the box and launched a shot over the bar on the cutback.
Haris Medunjanin would fire the first shot in the 31st minute, scoring a classy goal with his left foot after dribbling through two defenders.
Minutes later Mark McKenzie would make a rare rookie mistake, with a bad foul in the box on Aleksandar Katai. Nemanja Nikolic struck the penalty past Andre Blake, who guessed correctly but was unable to get a hand on the ball.
Right before halftime, Fafa Picault lofted a high cross into the box, and Cory Burke showed why he was deserving of the starting spot, getting a head on the ball to put the Union ahead 2-1.
Take another at this beauty by Burke pic.twitter.com/S79JkeCuFF— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) July 12, 2018
After some back and forth play to start the second half, Aleksandar Katai (who just signed a TAM deal after a permanent transfer from Alaves earlier in the day), scored on a long range shot in the 69th minute. Warren Creavalle, who had just been subbed in for Borek Dockal as a defensive substitution, was the man covering Katai on the play.
David Accam started to gain confidence as play went on, and put a hard hit ball into the box, which was stopped by keeper Richard Sanchez, but Cory Burke was able to play cleanup and put the ball in the back of net to revive the Union lead to 3-2 in the 73rd minute.
Fast forward to stoppage time, Bastian Schweinsteiger tied the game at 3-3 off of a Chicago corner in the 94th minute. Keegan Rosenberry allowed Schweinsteiger free passage in the box, and the former German international player punished him with an emphatic finish which seemed to all but secure a point for the Fire.
But David Accam would make sure the Union walked away with all three points, running down the field past two defenders and scoring against his former team in the 95th minute with an excellent shot into the bottom left corner.
Curtin only wanted to focus on the positives of the game afterward, noting that teams are in the summer grind with lots of fatigue and games, but players played down to the final minute.
“Really proud of the group for the fight that they’ve shown,” he said. “I thought that we could’ve laid down at 3-3 and tried to get out of here with a point, but credit to David Accam to step up and get us a huge goal.”
With the win, Philadelphia jumps over Chicago to 7th place after 19 games (24 points, 7-9-3), and is now tied with 6th place Montreal Impact on points with a game in hand heading into a Saturday night friendly at home against Eintracht Frankfurt and a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match against Orlando City next Wednesday, also at home.