Mon, 29 May 2023

Union take best record in East up against struggling Fire

Field Level Media
29 Jun 2022, 03:40 GMT+10

The Philadelphia Union look to match a team-record unbeaten streak when they visit the Chicago Fire on Wednesday.

The Union (7-1-8, 29 points) have risen to the top of the Eastern Conference with only a single loss over 16 games this season. Their current 2-0-7 run puts them one result away from the club's record unbeaten streak -- a 10-game run (7-0-3) spanning the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

In five of their draws this season, the Union held leads before conceding the equalizer. It seemed like Philadelphia was doomed to another breakdown on Sunday, when New York City FC's Valentin Castellanos brought his team level with an 89th-minute penalty kick goal.

However, Cory Burke scored six minutes into extra time to secure the Union's 2-1 victory.

"We've been taking the lead in (several) games now and then giving it away," Burke said. "All (of the) ties, even though we don't lose, it feels like a loss."

While the Union are first place in the East and have allowed the fewest (12) goals of any team in MLS, Chicago (3-8-5, 14 points) is in last place in the conference and has scored a league-low 14 goals.

A 1-0 win over D.C. United on June 18 snapped the Fire's 10-game winless drought (0-7-3), and seemed to hint at a fresh start. However, Chicago then dropped a 2-0 result to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson felt his club "just didn't really show up" against the Dynamo.

"It was just not Fire soccer," Hendrickson said. "That's not the way we want to play. ... We talked about consistency and being consistent, and can we now add onto that performance (against D.C. United), and tonight, we didn't."

Chicago was missing several regulars due to injury and health protocol and still could be shorthanded Wednesday given the short turnaround between games. Forward Kacper Przybylko also is questionable after leaving Saturday's game with an apparent injury.

Dating to 2018, the Union are 5-1-2 against the Fire.

--Field Level Media

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