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Philadelphia Union survive Chicago Fire to inch closer to clinching Supporters’ Shield

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In a game dominated by stoppages and fouls, Philadelphia was able to come out on top yet as the end of the regular season draws near.

Carl Gulbish

Propelled by goals from Kacper Przybylko and Cory Burke, the Philadelphia Union were able to leave Chester with three more points in the what could easily be characterized as their most frustrating game from the 2020 season.

Even before the game itself, the Union revealed that a player had tested positive for COVID-19, that player was later confirmed as Jose Martinez. The Union started Jack Elliott in his place, the same player who would open up bookings for the night.

Elliott received the evening’s first caution in the 16th minute was then followed by a straight red card for Chicago’s Francisco Calvo 20 minutes later, followed by six more yellow cards, three for the Union and three for Chicago.

Twelve minutes after Elliott’s card came the first goal of the match, netted by Kacper Przybylko on a penalty kick. The kick came after a handball near the goal line in the 28th minute off a cross from Ray Gaddis.

Chicago tied up the game before halftime when Robert Beric found the net after chaos in the box resulted in an out of position Andre Blake. Blake, who made a great stop off the initial shot, was able to recover, though not in time to stop the follow off a cross back in front of goal.

Despite being a man up for most of the match, the Union were not able to challenge Chicago for a large part of both halves. The game remained 1-1 through halftime, until Cory Burke reopened his books to give the Union the game winner in the 65th minute, his first goal since returning from an extended time on loan with visa issues.

Even after Burke’s goal, a few unlikely heroes emerged for the Union by the names of Andrew Wooten and Joe Bendik. Bendik came in the 90th minute for an injured Blake, finishing out the game in goal. Wooten and Bendik were able to combine for a goal-line save in the third of eight minutes of stoppage time, keeping the Union’s lead alive and possibly saving the teams chances of a Supporters’ Shield.

Three points richer, the Union look to win against Columbus Crew SC on Sunday to continue their push for hardware, which they now lead by three points over Toronto with two games left.