Bridgeview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of struggling Eatsern Conference rivals will clash on Sunday when the Chicago Fire welcome the Philadelphia Union to Toyota Park.
Chicago is still searching for its first win of the season after dropping each of its first three matches to start a season for the first time in franchise history.
Last time out, the Fire fell to the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-1, in the first- ever game at brand-new Avaya Stadium.
It didn't take long for the Fire to fall behind has some poor set-piece defending on a corner kick allowed 'Quakes rookie Fatai Alashe to knock home the second ball for the opening salvo.
The 'Quakes doubled the lead in the 21st minute when Matias Perez Garcia sent a free kick into the box that was directed on goal by Clarence Goodson with a powerful volley. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made the save but spilled rebound and Ty Harden poked it home for his first goal in MLS.
The Fire pulled one back just prior to the half-hour mark when Joevin Jones slid one across the pitch to a wide-open Harry Shipp, who took his time and calmly slotted it past San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham for the club's first goal of the season.
Chicago was able to create some positive play and quality scoring chances in the second 45 minutes, but the 'Quakes defense held and they did an excellent job of killing the game in the final minutes to claim their second straight victory.
"From our perspective, I thought we played well enough to get at least a point from the game. Two set piece goals is difficult to take when you've got a chance to clear it, and it's a dead ball situation, and we didn't deal with it well," said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. "Maybe it's a sign of new-ish team hasn't quite yet gelled. I thought our football was decent. We created enough chances to at least get a tie but when you go two-nil down away from home, it's always though. I was proud of my team the way they kept going and fighting and playing and doing the right things and a little unlucky not to get something out of the game."
"We beat ourselves early, unfortunately. Put ourselves into too big a hole to come back from," said Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. "The good part is we played well, on the whole. Goals aside, we were the better team but unfortunately goals are what counts. Tough start but you have to continue to fight."
Philadelphia is also looking for its first win of the season after a poor performance in a 2-0 home loss to FC Dallas last week.
Philadelphia had the better of the play early on, but things went south in the 42nd minute when midfielder Zach Pfeffer was issued a straight red card for what appeared to be an intentional elbow to the head of FCD's Mauro Diaz.
Dallas regrouped at halftime and capitalized on the one-man advantage within five minutes of the restart as Tesho Akindele collected a loose ball, darted into the penalty area and fired a shot past Rais Mbohli.
The lead was doubled in the 59th minute when Ryan Hollingshead took a square pass from Fabian Castillo and placed a low shot into the bottom corner of the net for his first career MLS goal.
"I thought the game had a good tempo to it, good start," Union head coach Jim Curtin said. "I thought we had some good chances in the first 10 minutes. We had some real good looks at goal. We were kind of clinical with our chance. The red card happens and from there, credit to Dallas, they out-played us from that point on. They're a good team and anytime you're going to play down a man with stoppage time it's going to be difficult."
The Union will also be without right back Sheanon Williams, who suffered a hamstring strain against Dallas.
"It hurts -- injuries are always going to affect you because now you're going to your bench," Curtin said.