The Fire started off well enough but sloppy defending and goalkeeping put them in a 2-1 hole after the first 45 minutes against a Philadelphia Union side that defeated them 3-1 just a few weeks ago. After Nemanja Nikolic's 3rd minute goal, the Union scored twice in the next ten minutes to take the lead while the Fire struggled to put together a consistent attack and seemed to be a step behind the visitors.
A half-time talking to and the insertion of David Accam changed the dynamic of the match and instilled a renewed sense of urgency to start the second half. Accam drew a penalty kick on a senseless tackle by the Union's Jack Elliot. The young defender tripped Accam from behind as he was heading away from goal, leading to Nikolic's second goal of the night from the spot in the 64th.
Nikolic completed the hat trick with twelve minutes to play, clinically finishing a pass from Brandon Vincent to put the Fire in contention for a second place Eastern Conference finish going into the final weekend of the regular season.
GK Matt Lampson (4) – A first half that featured two questionable decisions leading to two relatively soft goals put the Fire in a difficult position. Got himself out of position on both goals and distribution was also a nightmare in the first half.
D Brandon Vincent (7) – Assisted on the first Fire goal and the third as well. A long ball over the top found Nikolic in the 3rd minute and an excellent pass following a good run up the left side led to the game winner.
D Johan Kappelhof (5) – Tapped in Sapong's shot while scrambling back to try and keep it out of the net but there were two Union players behind him, ready for the ball if he didn't get to it.
D Joao Meira (4) – Beaten by Sapong for the shot on the first Union goal and also bested by Bedoya on the second Philadelphia score. Better in the second half.
D Matt Polster (6) – One of the Fire's better players in the first half. Decent on both ends.
M Dax McCarty (6) – The Fire won the possession battle 53-47 and McCarty's passing efficiency mirrored the team's at around 84 percent. The Fire were definitely better in the middle of the field after a sluggish first half.
M Drew Conner (5) – It may not have been his doing, but the team wasn't sharp and wasn't clicking during the first 45 minutes of the match. Replaced at half-time.
M Arturo Alvarez (5) – Completed only 69% of his passes and corner kicks weren't particularly dangerous outside of one chance for Nikolic in the 17th.
M Luis Solignac (5) – Like Alvarez, passing accuracy at 70 percent makes it difficult to generate consistent chances by moving the ball toward the final third.
M Djordje Mihailovic (5.5) – A good ball into Solignac in the 19th led to a shot attempt that should have been on goal. Better in the team game than the other attackers and showing some progress.
F Nemanja Nikolic (8) – His hat trick put the Fire back to within reach of second place. The first goal was a well placed shot on the run that got past Blake, the second was a well struck spot kick that Blake guessed correctly on but had too much power for the goalkeeper to get to, and the third was an expertly taken one-time shot placed just beyond Blake's reach again. Took six total shots and got four of them on target.
M David Accam (7) – Replaced Conner to start the second half. Still doesn't appear to be at full fitness but drew a foul in the penalty area in the 63rd minute to give the Fire a chance to get level. His pass up the left side in the 78th sprung Vincent behind the defense, leading to the game winning goal.
F David Arshakyan (5) – Came on in stoppage time to get Nikolic some recognition from the crowd. Drew a foul near midfield.