Midfielder Baggio Husidic scored in the 14th minute and winger Marco Pappa put one away in the 74th to give the Fire a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union in front of 14,658 fans Saturday night at Toyota Park.
The result gave Chicago their first win since April 24, and put a damper on another Windy City homecoming for Union coach and Fire legend Peter Nowak.
After being dominated for the opening portion of the match, Husidic gave the Fire the lead after a smooth setup from Patrick Nyarko. Nyarko beat Union defenderCristian Arrieta on the left sideline, giving the Fire speedster room to cut in on the end line before he slotted a right footed pass to Husidic at the edge of the six-yard box.
Husidic made no mistake with the chance, rolling a left footed shot inside the far post with his first touch.
Despite controlling possession for large chunks of the game, the Union struggled in the final third. Philadelphia only put two shots on goal in the match and failed to capitalize on all but one of the numerous chances they created.
Sebastien Le Touxhighlighted the team’s early woes in the 38th minute, narrowly missed the top left corner with a long-range left footed effort.
The Union’s struggles to capitalize came back to haunt them in the 74th minute, when Pappa doubled the hosts’ lead after a scramble in front of the Union net. A loose ball fell to Pappa after Union keeper Chris Seitz made a highlight reel save on Justin Mapp , and the Guatemalan import capitalized, driving a 12-yard shot into the back of the net.
The goal was a fitting end for Pappa, who also blasted a 25-yard free kick off the crossbar in the 47th minute.
Rookie forward Danny Mwanga pulled one back for the Union in stoppage time of the second half, poking a right footed shot past Fire keeper Andrew Dykstra to cut the deficit in half. Mwanga’s goal was nothing more than consolation though, as the Fire saw out the remaining minute of the match without conceding any serious chances.
Nowak suited up for the Fire from their inaugural year in 1998 until 2002, when he was traded and immediately retired. A year later he was named the inaugural inductee into the club’s “Ring of Fire” Hall of Fame. He also faced his former club on numerous occasions from 2004-2006, as the head coach of D.C. United.
CHI -- Baggio Husidic 3 (Patrick Nyarko 6, Justin Mapp 2) 14
CHI -- Marco Pappa 3 (unassisted) 74
PHI -- Danny Mwanga 3 (Sebastien Le Toux 3) 92+
PHI -- Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 22
CHI -- C.J. Brown (caution; Reckless Tackle) 45
CHI -- Brian McBride (caution; Dissent) 70
Philadelphia Union -- Chris Seitz, Cristian Arrieta (Roger Torres 46), Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jordan Harvey, Shea Salinas, Fred (Nick Zimmerman 82), Stefani Miglioranzi, Kyle Nakazawa (Danny Mwanga 46), Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno. Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Jacobson,Shavar Thomas, Amobi Okugo, Brad Knighton.
Chicago Fire -- Andrew Dykstra, Dasan Robinson, C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde,Krzysztof Krol, Patrick Nyarko, Baggio Husidic, Logan Pause, Justin Mapp (Peter Lowry 90), Marco Pappa, Brian McBride. Substitutes Not Used: Mike Banner,Julio Martinez, Deris Umanzor, Corben Bone, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Sean Johnson.
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; James Conlee
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda