PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – The Chicago Fire (11-7-5; 38 pts.) conceded the first goal but used a Chris Rolfe brace and Arne Friedrich’s first MLS strike to defeat the Philadelphia Union (7-12-2; 23pts) 3-1 Saturday night at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. The victory marks the sixth time the Fire have come from behind to earn three points during the 2012 season.
The home side would have the better of the play early, threatening first in the 11th minute when Freddy Adu’s in-swinging free kick from the right picked out Michael Farfan at the back post before the Union midfielder nodded his effort over the bar.
The Fire would respond four minutes later when captain Logan Pause won a ball at midfield before playing forward for Marco Pappa. The Guatemalan international took a touch towards goal and unleashed a powerful shot from distance by Union ‘keeper Zac MacMath did well to get behind the ball.
Philadelphia poured on more pressure in the 25th minute when a giveaway at midfield saw Adu send defender Sheanon Williams up the right flank. The UNC product cut into the box but his effort was put out for a corner kick by charging goalkeeper Sean Johnson
The Union would break through in the 34th minute. Freddy Adu chipped a free kick from the right looking for Chandler Hoffman, with the rookie’s run throwing off Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The ball skipped towards the net and would be credited as an own goal to Jalil Anibaba as the Fire defender’s swiping effort couldn’t keep the ball out of the net.
Anibaba and the Fire would respond just seven minutes later though when the second-year defender played a great combination with Sherjill MacDonald on the right. The Dutch forward cut towards the end line before centering a simple, low ball for Chris Rolfe who buried his effort past MacMath.
Deep into first half stoppage time, the Fire would get the go-ahead goal when Marco Pappa’s swerving free kick from the right picked out Arne Friedrich and the charging German defender headed the ball into the back of the net to give the Fire a 2-1 lead going into the break.
The Fire would claim a two-goal advantage after the break when a long ball out of the back from Johnson was flicked on at midfield by first half substitute Patrick Nyarko. Rolfe would calmly take the ball to the top of the penalty area before unleashing a blast inside the opposite post in the 56th minute.
With the Union pushing forward, the score almost went to 4-1 when Rolfe slid MacDonald in alone on goal but MacMath bravely came off his line to make a kick save in the 60th minute.
The hosts came close just two minutes later when Michael Farfan collected the ball just outside the area, dribbled between two Fire defenders into the box and let go a low strike that careened off the right post.
As Philadelphia continued to commit numbers forward, the Fire found space to expose at the back and Rolfe would twice come close to his second career hat trick.
First in the 87th minute when Alex played him into the box on the left. The veteran striker held up the ball before firing an effort that was deflected out for a corner kick by Union defender Bakary Soumare.
Just one minute later Alvaro Fernandez would find him at the top of the box leaving Rolfe to take the ball off his chest before hitting a first-time effort that trickled wide left of goal, leaving the Fire with a 3-1 away victory.
The Fire return to action when they welcome Eastern Conference rivals New England Revolution to Toyota Park on Saturday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. CT live on NBC 5.2 and 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes.
- Sunday’s victory marks the sixth time the Fire have come from behind to earn three points this season.
- Fire midfielder Logan Pause left the match in the 44th minute with a rib injury.
- Prior to leaving, Pause made his 250th MLS regular season appearance. The second year Fire captain becomes just the fourth player in MLS history to appear in 250 matches for one club, joining Jaime Moreno (329; D.C. United), Cobi Jones (306; LA Galaxy), C.J. Brown (296; Chicago Fire) and Shalrie Joseph (261; New England Revolution).
- Chris Rolfe’s goals in the 43rd and 56th minutes took his MLS goal scoring total to an even 40. Rolfe sits firmly in second place on the Fire’s all-time MLS goal scoring list and Sunday marks the fourth time the veteran striker has scored multiple goals in a Fire match.
- Defender Arne Friedrich tallied his first goal in a Fire shirt, heading home Marco Pappa’s corner kick in first half stoppage time. Friedrich becomes the fourth Fire defender to tally this season, joining Austin Berry (3 goals), Gonzalo Segares (2) and Jalil Anibaba with goals from the backline in 2012.
- One of two Designated Players to join the team last month, Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald made his first start for the Men in Red Sunday night and earned his first assist with his helper on Chris Rolfe’s 43rd minute equalizer.
- The Fire defense has not allowed more than two goals in any one game during the 2012 MLS campaign.
Philadelphia Union 1 – 3 Chicago Fire
Philadelphia Union: Zac Macmath; Sheanon Williams, Bakary Soumare, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis (Lionard Pajoy 62’); Keon Daniel, Gabriel Farfan, Brian Carroll, Freddy Adu (Antoine Hoppenot 46’); Michael Farfan, Chandler Hoffman (Josue Martinez 69’)
Substitutes not used: Chase Harrison, Chris Albright, Michael Lahoud, Zack Pfeffer
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Arne Friedrich, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Alvaro Fernandez, Logan Pause © (Patrick Nyarko 44’), Pavel Pardo, Marco Pappa (Alex 62’); Chris Rolfe; Sherjill MacDonald (Michael Videira 70’)
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Dan Gargan, Daniel Paladini, Dominic Oduro
PHI – own goal (Jalil Anibaba) 34’
CHI – Chris Rolfe (Sherjill MacDonald) 43’
CHI – Arne Friedrich (Marco Pappa) 45’+2
CHI – Chris Rolfe (Patrick Nyarko, Sean Johnson) 56’
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistants: Adam Garner, Scott Kachmarik
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik