Chicago Fire

Union stun Fire in 95th minute on David Occam's buzzer-beater

usa-union-david-accam.jpg
USA Today Images

Union stun Fire in 95th minute on David Occam's buzzer-beater

BOX SCORE

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- David Accam scored in the 95th minute, and Cory Burke had two goals to help the Philadelphia Union beat the Chicago Fire 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Accam dribbled through a pair of Chicago defenders and sent home a right-footed shot just inside the left post for his first goal of the season. His game-winner came a minute after the Fire appeared to have salvaged a draw with Bastian Schweinsteiger heading home Diego Campos' corner.

Burke scored on a rebound in the 73rd minute that made it 3-2 for the Union (7-9-3) and a header at the end of first-half stoppage time that made it 2-1.

Aleksandar Katai made it 2-all for the Fire (6-9-5) in the 69th minute with a low hard shot that skipped twice into the far corner.

Nemanja Nikolic tied it at 1 for Chicago in the 39th minute, powering a penalty kick past goalkeeper Andre Blake. Mark McKenzie brought Katai down at the left corner of the penalty area to send Nikolic to the spot.

Haris Medunjanin opened the scoring for Philadelphia in the 31st minute, pouncing on a defensive miscue and finishing with the outside of his foot.

Ilsinho gives Union what 'you can't teach' in big win over Fire

usa_ilsinho_union.jpg
USA Today Images

Ilsinho gives Union what 'you can't teach' in big win over Fire

BOX SCORE

CHESTER, Pa. — Facing an irregular and frustrating man-to-man defensive setup, the Union were struggling to break down the Chicago Fire on Wednesday. 

That's until Ilsinho put the team on his back.

One minute before the halftime whistle, the Brazilian claimed possession at the top right of the box. Staring down two Fire defenders, Ilsinho pulled the ball right then yanked it left to split the duo and move inside unimpeded. 

“I can’t coach it,” Union manager Jim Curtin. “You can’t teach it. Certain guys are special in that regard. You know he’s going to snake the ball, and he has an ability to just get defenders’ bodyweight on the wrong foot and make them look foolish.”

With confidence, Ilsinho sent a right-footed rocket shot past Patrick McLain for the 1-0 Union advantage. It changed the match for the hosts, who eventually won, 3-1, at Talen Energy Stadium (see observations).

“I was looking for some situation like that all first half,” said Ilsinho, who has three goals on the season and two in his last three matches. “I’m looking for that ball for the entire 45 minutes and I had one chance in the final minute. I’m so glad to score.”

To make the veteran’s highlight even more impressive, the defenders in his way were Bastian Schweinsteiger and Brandon Vincent — two of the better players on the field for either team. The elastico made the two look like rookies.

“If I said I was surprised, I’d be lying,” Union goalkeeper Andre Blake said. “That’s something he does every day in training. Right now, he’s very confident and helping us in a lot of ways. Hopefully he can keep it going.” 

Union midfielder Borek Dockal would take advantage of the Fire’s forced change in tactics, assisting Cory Burke’s second of the season. Dockal would then find the net on a penalty kick with five minutes remaining. 

“They needed to change how they played,” Dockal said. “In the second half, there was more space to combine the ball. They played something I haven’t seen in maybe 10 years. They played man-to-man defensively, the whole first half. It was a surprise.

“That’s why the goal in the last minute of the first half was so important.” 

Borek Dockal powers red-hot Union past Fire for 3rd win in 4 games

usa_borek_dockal_union.jpg
USA Today Images

Borek Dockal powers red-hot Union past Fire for 3rd win in 4 games

BOX SCORE

CHESTER, Pa. — Borek Dockal and the Union are officially on a roll. 

With a goal and two assists, Dockal edged the Union past Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium, helping the team claim victory for the third time in four games. 

Unbeaten in their last four, the Union moved to 5-5-3 on the season, while the Fire fell to 4-7-2. 

• Ilsinho broke the ice with a thriller of a goal just before the half. Grabbing possession at the top right corner of the box, the Brazilian put the ball on a string to split Brandon Vincent and Schweinsteiger. Leaving the duo stunned, Ilsinho gained ground before firing off a strong shot that found the net for a 1-0 Union lead heading into half. 

The goal was Ilsinho’s third in his last seven games and second in his last three, and set the tempo for the Union heading into the second half.

• Feeling inspired just out of the half, Dockal jumped on the ball, and with a right-footed volley on the right side of the box, floated a perfect cross that found the head of Cory Burke for the clean goal and a 2-0 lead.

For Burke, making the start up front for C.J. Sapong, the goal was his second in two starts this season. He’s been a productive addition for Union manager Jim Curtin. 

• But with the two-goal cushion, the Union took a nap. In the 56th minute, Brandt Bronico gained the box and slid a rolling pass to Alan Gordon to cut the Union’s lead in half, 2-1. 

• More bad luck struck the Union just prior to the 60th minute. Rookie defender Mark McKenzie, who has been a revelation for the Union, went down clutching his right knee. He walked off under his own power but was replaced by Jack Elliott. 

• Burke made his presence felt yet again in the final moments of the contest, when he drew a foul in the box off a tricky header pass from Marcus Epps. 

Stepping up to the spot, Dockal buried the goal down the middle for the 3-1 Union lead. It was a welcomed sight for the Union, who watched Sapong miss a crucial penalty kick last weekend at Red Bull Arena.

• The productive night from Dockal wasn’t anything new. After going without a goal or assist in his first seven games, the attacking midfielder has produced three goals and five assists in his last seven games, including five assists in his last four matches.

• The Union’s streak will be tested Saturday, when they travel to face Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on short rest. Lucky for them, Atlanta also played on Wednesday.