BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire may have been the more dangerous side on Saturday afternoon, but the Philadelphia Union have one of the hottest strikers in MLS and he proved to be the difference as the visitors took a 1-0 win at Toyota Park.
Forward Jack McInerney scored his league-leading seventh goal of the season in the 75th minute on his first legitimate chance of the game, sneaking behind the Fire back line and poking a shot past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The goal held up as the game-winner as the Fire dropped their third home game of the season, while the Union won their third away from home on the campaign.
Playing without natural strikers for most of the game, the Fire created plenty of chances in the attacking third but failed to finish them off with Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath starring on several stops.
Philadelphia had the first chances of the game when McInerney dribbled into the box and dished a pass off to teammate Danny Cruz, whose shot was blocked out of bounds for a corner kick. And In the 18th minute, Amobi Okugo nodded a header from a Keon Daniel corner kick just wide of the goal.
But the Fire controlled possession for most of the first half, playing with the unprecedented pairing of Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe up top.
In the 21st minute, Rolfe curled a shot just wide. Minutes later, Nyarko dribbled to the end line and played a cross to Rolfe, whose shot was blocked by Gabriel Farfan. Paladini was there for the rebound, but his shot was saved by MacMath.
MacMath again came up big on a shot from the Fire's Joel Lindpere after Nyarko and Rolfe created the chance in the 37th minute.
The best chances fell to Nyarko in the second half. He struck the post two minutes after the halftime break and then failed to capitalize on a one-on-one breakaway against the goalkeeper in the 69th minute.
McInerney made the Fire pay for the missed chances when second-half sub Sebastien Le Toux played him through on a quick restart. The Frenchman lobbed the ball over the backline and the 20-year-old tipped his shot just out of Johnson's reach.
After seemingly regaining their stride with two wins in three games, the Fire have now lost two straight. They've also been shut out in six of 10 games played this season as the attack struggles to get off the ground. Designated player Sherjill MacDonald missed the match with strep throat, while Maicon Santos, who has been hampered with a knee injury, came off the bench.
Another reserve forward, Quincy Amarikwa, had the best chance to equalize late for Chicago when his blistering shot was parried away by a red-hot MacMath.
The two teams meet again on Saturday, May 18 at PPL Park (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE), but the Union will also have to deal with a midweek match against the LA Galaxy on May 15 (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).