Fire hold on to hand Union third straight loss

The Chicago Fire have made it four points from their opening two games in the 2012 Major League Soccer season as they held on to defeat the Philadelphia Union, 1-0, at Toyota Park on Saturday.

Dominic Oduro continued his scoring tear after netting the equalizer in Chicago's draw with the Montreal Impact last time out as he provided the lone goal against the Union in the 28th minute.

Marco Pappa broke free wide on the right sideline and curled a pinpoint cross into the box with his left foot. Oduro was able to lose his mark and head his effort just inside the post, out of the reach of Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

Oduro was proving to be a handful for the Union defense all through the first half. He nearly doubled Chicago's lead in the 40th minute after getting in behind Philadelphia's back line. The speedy striker went around MacMath and slipped a shot toward goal, but Chris Albright was tracking back to clear the ball off the line. The ball trickled across the six yard box, but no Fire player was following up and the ball was cleared to safety by Carlos Valdes.

Chicago again came close to extending the lead when a shot from Pappa struck the post in the 67th minute.

The ball fell to the Guatemalan at the top of the box, and he eclipsed a couple of defenders by cutting it back into space. But on his weaker right foot, Pappa was unable to test the shaky MacMath with a shot on frame.

Philadelphia's best scoring chance came nine minutes from time off of a set piece.

Cory Gibbs was given a harsh yellow card on a questionable call by referee Ricardo Salazar, and Gabriel Gomez tested Paolo Tornaghi with the ensuing free kick. The Italian goalkeeper parried the initial shot in the air and then collected the ball to deny the Union a chance at the rebound.

The Union applied some late pressure in search of a tying goal, but the Fire defense was up to the task as they preserved their first clean sheet of the season.

The result helps Chicago improve to four points and dooms Philadelphia to its third straight loss.

With a 1-0-1 record, the Fire will look to remain unbeaten in their next outing as they head to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to face the Colorado Rapids on April 1.

The Union, slow out of the gates with an 0-3-0 record, will hope to pick up the pieces and claim their first points of the season when they welcome Vancouver Whitecaps FC to PPL Park on March 31.