Nemanja Nikolic scored a brace as the Fire, playing with ten men for all of the second half defeated the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Union 2-0 at SeatGeek Stadium. The match was a ‘must-win’ for the Fire in order to stay close in the race for the seventh playoff spot and they delivered with one of their best efforts of the season.
Nikolic scored his first of the match in the 38th minute following a good combination between Johan Kappelhof and Przemyslaw Frankowski. The latter executed a perfect cross to find Nikolic in front of the net for his tenth goal of the season.
The Fire scored their second five minutes later when Aurelien Collin took down CJ Sapong in the box while jostling for a corner kick. Nikolic converted the spot kick.
Nicolas Gaitan was shown a straight red card in first half stoppage time for a sloppy tackle from behind but the Fire managed to limit clear chances in the second half. Philadelphia threatened but could not find a way through a solid Fire defense.
The victory pulled the Fire to within one point of the seven spot in the East.
Kronholm: Kappelhof, Schweinsteiger, Calvo, Bornstein (Lillard 94′); McCarty, Bronico; Gaitan, Sapong, Frankowski; Nikolic (Azira 77′)
Subs not used: Sanchez, Marcelo, Mihailovic, Campos, Moreno
GK Kronholm – 6
D Kappelhof – 6.5
D Schweinsteiger – 6.5
D Calvo – 6
D Bornstein – 6
M McCarty – 6.5
M Bronico – 6
M Frankowski – 6.5
M Gaitan – 4.5
M Sapong – 5.5
F Nikolic – 7
M Azira – 5.5
D Lillard – 5