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Union falls to Chicago Fire FC at the last minute

Union falls to Chicago Fire FC at the last minute

Union falls to Chicago Fire FC at the last minute

As has been the case for weeks, the Philadelphia Union’s lineup was determined in part by injuries and national team call-ups, but it was hardly an unfamiliar team on the pitch. The team made just two changes from its starting lineup in Montreal, lining up in the same 4-4-2 formation with an identical defensive line featuring Jack Elliott paired with Jakob Glesnes in the center of defense and Nate Harriel opposite Kai Wagner on the wings.

Leon Flach, Jesus Bueno and Jack McGlynn returned to midfield, joined by Daniel Gazdag at No. 10 for his first start since returning from UEFA Euros in Germany. Quinn Sullivan and Chris Donovan were the protagonists up front this time, but the biggest change came at the other end of the field, with Oliver Semmle returning to his goalkeeping role for his 15th start. He took over following Andre Blake’s injury, but for the past two games, coach Jim Curtin has opted to start 18-year-old youth product Andrew Rick in goal. Semmle was back in the starting lineup for the game at Soldier Field, while Rick returned to the bench alongside just six other players.

Curtin’s group started strongly at their manager’s old stadium, finding the first shot of the match on the left side of the field. Sullivan took a shot from near the edge of the box and when it was blocked, Wagner quickly found the deflection and sent it back to the youth player for a deflected shot into the top right corner that sailed over the net and into the stands.

There were few attacking chances created for either team in the next 10 minutes, as Quinn’s two shots were the only ones taken in the first 15. The hosts attempted to create on their end, attempting to weave their way through the Union centre-backs with passes around the box between Brian Gutierrez, Hugo Cuypers and Allan Arigoni, but the latter, a 25-year-old Swiss right-back, took the final shot, sending it wide of the net.

Sullivan’s patience in the 19th minute created a close chance for the Philadelphia Union, as he tricked Jonathan Dean into a neat pass inside the box that found the foot of Gazdag to slot home past Chris Brady on goal. Unfortunately for the Union, the on-field referee quickly raised the offside flag and play resumed with the score tied 0-0. Sullivan was the star again two minutes later, forcing Brady to dive to stop his shot from the top left corner of the box, and he powered it hard into the net before two Fire defenders could crash in.

Despite her efforts, it was Chicago that found the back of the net first, taking a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute. Team captain Fabian Herbers drove the ball up the middle with pace and found Arigoni descending toward the net with purpose. Wagner and Elliott both threw themselves in front of the ball as she launched it toward the net, but it was Maren Haile-Selassie who provided the finishing touch, beating Glesnes and Semmle to score her fourth goal in four games.