Chester, PA – The Philadelphia Union will shoot for a season- sweep of the Chicago Fire on Saturday when the Eastern Conference rivals clash at PPL Park.
The sides have met two previous times this season - on May 11 at Toyota Park and May 18 in Chester - both matches ending in 1-0 wins for Philadelphia. But the Union will see a very different, and much-improved Chicago team this time around.
The Union are also coming into the clash in exceptional home form, riding a six-match unbeaten streak at PPL Park.
Last time out, the Union managed to accomplish something no other team has done this season -- defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.
Philadelphia gained an early advantage against the 'Caps when midfielder Jun-Marques Davidson was sent off in the eighth minute for an ill-advised head butt on the Union's Keon Daniel.
Despite being a man down, it was the home side the created the better scoring chances, but couldn't put one away and the clubs went into the halftime interval scoreless.
The lone goal of the match came five minutes from time when Aaron Wheeler sent Antoine Hoppenot through with a nice back-heel and the Princeton product did the rest, finishing into the top right corner with a superb strike.
"Coming all the way out here to Vancouver, with the long flight and everything and coming away with three points is massive for this team and massive for the confidence for this team," said Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. "We need to continue to do this for the next four games because obviously they're all against Eastern Conference teams and a lot of points to be had."
Chicago, meanwhile, is coming off a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 61st minute when Brad Davis sent a low cross into the box where Cam Weaver tapped it home. But just three minutes later Mike Magee got on the end of a nice feed from Patrick Nyarko to put the sides on level terms.
"We talked about our ability now in this stretch and to be able to get points on the road. You're playing against a very good team, difficult place, it's not easy here, but in the second half I felt that both teams, we had some chances, but I felt also late in the game both teams had some quality looks," Fire head coach Frank Klopas said.
"The goalkeepers came out big. For us, I think, on the road, we showed a lot of character, but also, from our keeper Paolo [Tornaghi], he needed those saves to come up big and he did."
In nine all-time meetings between the sides, Philadelphia holds a 5-3-1 mark against the Fire, including a 3-1-0 record at home.