BRADENTON, Fla.(Feb. 9, 2017) – The Chicago Fire capped off the second phase of preseason with a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Thursday afternoon from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Forward Nemanja Nikolic nearly opened scoring in the 16th minute. Michael de Leeuw fed a ball centrally through the Union backline for the Hungarian, and he was able to finish low past Union goalkeeper Andre Blake. However, the offside flag went up, and the two sides would keep things level at zero through the end of the half.
WATCH: Match Highlights
The Fire scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute. A cross from Nikolic found de Leeuw open on the left side, in front of the Union goal. Goalkeeper John McCarthy did well to get a palm to de Leeuw’s initial header but de Leeuw was got his head on the rebound to nod it into goal.
Among the flurry of second half subs was the exit of midfielder Dax McCarty. McCarty started the match after arriving in Camp on Tuesday having spent a month in U.S. National Team camp, including a 63-minute appearance in the team's 1-0 friendly win against Serbia on Feb. 3. He'd exit the match in the 72nd minute, marking his first appearance as a member of the Fire.
The Men in Red return to Chicago on Feb. 10 and will close out preseason from Feb. 13-26 from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Veljko Paunovic, Chicago Fire Head Coach
On the conclusion of the second leg of preseason
“Overall, I think it was a very good camp. We did everything that we wanted to in this three weeks of preseason. There’s still of course a lot of things to do and work on, our style defensively and offensively, but I think the game against the Union was a good test for us to see where we are at this point. It’s always good to get a win but I think it’s more than that. I think the fitness level we showed was good, the commitment to our demands of the game we had was very high and the guys showed a very good mentality. So we’ll keep working, we still have a lot of things to do before we come to the last level of the preseason and get ready for the season.”
CHI – Michael de Leeuw (Nemanja Nikolic) 56’
PHI – Roland Alberg (caution) 39’
CHI – Patrick Doody (caution) 49’
CHICAGO FIRE : Jorge Bava (Matt Lampson 64’); Michael Harrington (Jonathan Campbell 64’), Johan Kappelhof (Drew Beckie^ 80’), Joao Meira (Matej Dekovic* 72’), Patrick Doody (Collin Fernandez 72’); Arturo Alvarez (John Goossens 64’), Juninho (Daniel Johnson 72’), Dax McCarty (Brandt Bronico* 72’), David Accam (Drew Conner 72’); Nemanja Nikolic (Luis Solignac 64’), Michael de Leeuw
*Unsigned 2017 MLS SuperDraft Pick