With both teams needing a win to keep faint playoff hopes alive the 9th and 10th place teams in the Eastern Conference came up even. The Fire mostly have Sean Johnson to thank for helping them avoid a second consecutive loss in Philadelphia so any congratulatory plaudits regarding the bounce back effort following the USOC semifinal defeat ring a bit hollow.
This match was entertaining for its wide open style and frantic ending but there wasn't a great case made for either team being considered a legitimate playoff contender. The Fire essentially need to win every game they play now. With twelve losses in league play, draws simply aren't good enough.
"It was certainly an open game. There were a lot of chances for both teams but mainly Philadelphia had some good looks at goal. I thought Sean Johnson was outstanding tonight, but I liked our response," said Frank Yallop after the match. "I think for the neutral they would have enjoyed watching that game, but as a coach I wasn't happy with the chances we gave up."
GK Sean Johnson (7) - Eight saves with a handful of spectacular denials that kept the Union from scoring more than the three goals that they ended up with. The double save in the 87th against Carroll and LeToux was remarkable. Shots stops in the 25th, 81st, and 86th were also high quality.
D Lovel Palmer (4) - A tough night for the Fire's back line was especially difficult for Palmer. He was beaten to the spot by Aristeguieta on a corner kick for the first Union goal and he deflected Fabinho's shot into the net for the second. LeToux was loose on the right side of the Fire defense for the third.
D Eric Gehrig (4) - After a couple of good games in pairing with Larentowicz at centerback, this match was about as scattered as many of the Fire's other weak defensive performances this season. The Union had look after look late in the game with centerbacks scrambling.
D Jeff Larentowicz (4) - The last 20 minutes of this match were very poor defensively for the unit as a whole. Both Larentowicz and Gehrig were consistently caught out of position and scrambling to catch up.
D Joevin Jones (4) - Numerous giveaways throughout the match. Jones has not been as sharp as he was earlier this season after returning from the Gold Cup.
M Razvan Cocis (5) - The Fire did well enough to hold some possession (53-47) overall. Cocis didn't shine but he didn't hurt either.
M Michael Stephens (5.5) - Worked well in some combinations and contributed with a pass in the Fire's second goal sequence. Also played a part in third score.
M Shaun Maloney (4.5) - At half time of the match, Yallop was asked about trying to get the ball into Maloney more often. He responded by saying that he had to "want it". It doesn't look like he does as he continues to underwhelm and under perform. Hull City may be his final destination this season.
M Patrick Nyarko (6.5) - His cross in the 9th minute found Igboananike for the Fire's first score. He found a goal himself in the 54th and was dangerous throughout his time on the pitch. Why didn't he get into the game the matter on Wednesday night again?
F Jason Johnson (5) - Helped set up the first goal sending Nyarko in up the left side. Decision making times was still questionable. Set up up the second Union goal with an awful pass leading to a break.
F Kennedy Igboananike (6.5) - Scored twice and set up another with a good move to get free and find Nyarko in the 54th. Finished his two best chance and accounted for himself very well overall.
M Harry Shipp (5.5) - Replaced Maloney in the 68th. Didn't factor into much until late in the game when his cross eventually led to the tying goal.
M Matt Polster (5) - Subbed in for Cocis in the 74th. The Fire were in a mad scramble to cling to a point from there.
F Mike Magee (5.5) - Came in for Nyarko in the 83rd. The Union thought there might have been a hand ball call missed by referee Mark Geiger but there was no whistle. Magee pass through the face of goal ended up on Igboananike's foot for the tying goal.