The Fire have their first win of the season following a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union. Heavy winds, cold, and even snow played a part in forcing both teams into some disjointed play but the Fire took advantage of a Warren Creavalle red card in the 47th minute to control the rest of the game and earn the result.
Both teams had chances in the first half with the Union hitting the woodwork twice and possession nearly even. The Fire held a 51-49 advantage heading into half time but the Union owned a 12-3 shot advantage. After Philadelphia midfielder Ilsinho's shot ricocheted off the cross bar in the 47th, Creavalle's ill-taken tackle attempt changed the game. It was all Fire from there with the man advantage.
It wasn't pretty but Chicago can take some solace in knowing that chances were created without David Accam on the field and that they were able to hold on to a win that they may have found a way to turn into a tie last season. Calling this a must-win situation this early in the season is probably premature, but the Fire needed to win this one.
Whatever the circumstances, they did just that.
GK Matt Lampson (6) - The Union were able to take 18 shot attempts but only 3 were on frame. Those three saves don't take into account the three shots that were denied by the post and the crossbar. The conditions could not have made it easy for goalkeepers, particularly in the first half but neither team managed to score. Lampson talked about the weather after the game right here.
D Rodrigo Ramos (6) - Chris Pontius scored twice in the Union's 2-0 win in Columbus a few weeks ago but he wasn't a factor in this game on Ramos' side. His ball into the box in the 23rd was mishandled by Blake and created a chance. A good combination with Alvarez one minute earlier also generated an opportunity.
D Jonathan Campbell (6) - Quietly going about his business with solid starts in the last three games. Blocked shots and timey tackles in the first half helped keep the clean sheet.
D Johan Kappelhof (5.5) - Seems to be developing a good pairing with Campbell although the Union did take advantage of gaps on his side for looks. Slip in the 44th resulted in a chance for Sapong.
D Michael Harrington (6) - Assisted on the winning goal and blocked an open net look early in the second half to keep the game scoreless. Did have some issues with Ilsinho but contributed to the win after missing one game due to red card suspension.
M Michael Stephens (5) - The Fire's overall passing improved to 80%, thanks to the man advantage, but Stephens finished at 71%.
M Matt Polster (5.5) - Converse to his central partner, Polster's completion rate was at a team high 91%. Not much of it was in dangerous areas however and the yellow cards for grabs from behind will add up. Could have had another yellow earlier in the game but referee Silviu Petrescu carded Ramos instead.
M Arturo Alvarez (5) - A few random combinations were good but the Fire aren't getting much from outside play without Accam in the line-up.
M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - Played in an advanced role underneath Gilberto for a good portion of the first half. A good counter between the two resulted in Cocis being caught from behind by the defense nullifying the chance. Decent in combination but lacking in the final third.
M Kennedy Igboananike (5.5) - Scored the winning goal with a clean finish but had several other chances that were squandered. The effort is always there if the quality is not. Team low 70% passing accuracy.
F Gilberto (5) - Involved in opportunities but final touch failed in some instances and shot accuracy in others. More should be expected from a player with his talent.
M John Goossens (5.5) - Replaced Alvarez in the 62nd. Contributed with a shot attempt that was saved by Blake in the 63rd and some good moments in combination. Corner kick in the 82nd was subpar.
M Nick LaBrocca (5) - Subbed in for Cocis in the 87th.