Marco Fabián scored on a laser beam from distance in the 11th minute on a play straight off the training ground set up by passes from Haris Medunjanin and Kai Wagner on a free kick from outside the box.
Anthony Fontana doubled the advantage in the 65th minute when he was left wide open in front of the net and tapped home a deflected cross from Wagner. Just prior to his goal, Fontana had a back pass picked off in the middle of the field that nearly ended in an equalizer for the Fire when two of his former teammates — Fabian Herbers and CJ Sapong — linked up.
Sapong’s header — like one earlier in the half — went right at Andre Blake for the routine save. Blake finished with three saves on the night, but the Fire didn’t create many chance on a steamy night where outside of the two goals for the Union the teams were mostly content to trade possession.
While Wagner helped create both of the goals, his yellow card in the 19th minute was a costly one that will see the left back miss next week’s game in Montreal because of yellow card accumulation. His play was notable, particularly in his fight to keep the ball that eventually led to Fontana’s second career MLS goal.
Fabián’s first half strike was his fourth goal of the season and third from the run of play. It was improved performance for the Mexico international over last week’s 4-0 loss in Utah, but the absence of Jamiro Monteiro in the midfield continues to be felt despite an improved performance from Brenden Aaronson, who sustained a couple of crunching tackles in the first half and was sharper on the night with his passes.
Jack Elliott was key to the defense securing their first clean sheet since a scoreless draw against the Seattle Sounders on May 18. He finished the night with an interception, four clearances and a 93 percent passing percentage. Fafa Picault was also impressive on the night with his work rate and the energy level he was able to bring in a game that featured hydration breaks in each half.
The win was just the Union’s second in their last six matches since the Gold Cup break, but keeps the Union atop the standings with a four-point lead on second place D.C. United and a five-point lead on Atlanta United. Atlanta and D.C. play tomorrow.