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Chicago Fire grab 1-0 win over Philadelphia Union in extra period after scoreless 90 minutes

Jose Martinez’s injury was the main concern coming out of a sloppy preseason game with the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon

Philadelphia Union

As soccer fans we’re often reminded how little weight preseason matches carry, but the Philadelphia Union’s match against the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon may have ended up being a heavy one.

Jose Martinez left the game early in the first half with an injury after he lost his footing and rolled his ankle and everything after that was more or less an exercise in two teams battling to get match fit and ready for the start of the season.

For the Union, the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League on April 7 in Costa Rica feels all too close for a team already missing Sergio Santos to injury and will now need to wait to see if Martinez will miss any time. Cory Burke missed his second straight preseason game, leaving Jack de Vries and Kacper Pryzbylko to put in a bulk of the minutes in a game that went 25 minutes beyond the 90.

The Fire dealt with their own injury concerns in the game when Elliot Collier had to leave. But they also found the only breakthrough on the day in the extra period to take a 1-0 win.

As has been the case so often during his career, it was the performance of Union goalkeeper Andre Blake that kept the Fire off the scoreboard for so long. Blake got a big assist from Jack Elliott clearing a ball he was able to knock down off the line.

Blake’s counterpart Bobby Shuttleworth also did well to deny a chance from Anthony Fontana on frame that he was able to get enough of to deflect off the bar.

Javier Casas Jr. had the goal for the Fire, but more importantly than the score was the opportunity head coach Jim Curtin had to get his starters (the lineup was unchanged from the first preseason match) 60 minutes and provide minutes for the rest of his team, which included veterans Ilsinho and Aurelien Collin, who hasn’t officially been announced for the 2021 season as of yet.

Cole Turner replaced El Brujo in the lineup and stayed at the 6 in the second half when Matej Oravec subbed in and played out wide on the left side. Oravec played center back in the first preseason match against Orlando City. Joe Bendik spelled Andre Blake and came up with a couple saves to deny the Fire before they found the lone goal on the day after a costly turnover.

Up next, the Union will get a rematch with Orlando City on Wednesday afternoon and return home to play DC United in their final tune-up the following Wednesday afternoon in a closed-door scrimmage at Subaru Park.