Chester, PA – The Philadelphia Union go in search of a bounce-back performance on Saturday when the club hosts the Chicago Fire at PPL Park.
It's been a difficult stretch for Philadelphia as the Union will play their third match in eight days on Saturday with mixed results through their first two games last week.
Things got off to a good start last Saturday at Toyota Park against the Fire as Philadelphia was outplayed for most of the game but nicked a late goal in the 75th minute through Jack McInernrey and goalkeeper Zac MacMath made six saves to ensure the club took three points away from home.
Riding a wave of momentum from last Saturday's win, Philadelphia met the Los Angeles Galaxy at home on Wednesday and were humbled by a 4-1 score as Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane combined for two goals and three assists for the Galaxy.
The loss brings Philadelphia's home record to 1-2-2, something the club will need to correct if they want to make the postseason.
"I think our mentality might be a little tougher on the road, and we're trying to push things at home, Union manager John Hackworth said. "That game [against the Galaxy] opened up a lot, which hasn't been something we've been good at. We keep it a little tighter on the road."
As for Chicago, the Fire dominated the majority of last week's match with the Union and had several glorious chances to score. But MacMath came up with the best performance of his young career and the Fire came up empty at home.
"I don't think we dominated most of the game, I think it was the whole game," Chicago head coach Frank Klopas said. "You look at games like this and you scratch your head when you lose a game like this. We came out, we had good energy, we were good with the ball.
"In the first half there were opportunities where we forced the ball in bad spots. We knew they were a good team in transition. You walk away from the first half, we created enough opportunities but we didn't score. We had possession and pushed the game. Then a bad call on not even a foul. We fell asleep, they fell asleep on a quick restart and they give up a goal. The game is like that, that's soccer. You scratch your head. I felt we played well enough not to lose but to get the three points."
Saturday's match will also serve as a homecoming for Chicago midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, who was born in California, but grew up in Philadelphia, leading Chestnut Hill Academy to back-to-back Inter Academic League titles in 2001 and 2002 and helping renowned club powerhouse FC Delco to two United States Youth Soccer Association titles in 2002-2003.
"It's always nice," he said. "Every year it seems like my mom gets in touch with someone I haven't seen in a while and they come to a game. My immediate family goes to a lot of games on the east coast but this one's extra special because it brings a lot of people out."