Philly Sports Live

Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, II

Union PSL

Just one week removed, and only 72 hours after playing the LA Galaxy in a somewhat embarrassing loss, The Union take on the Chicago Fire again, this time in front of the home crowd and Sons of Ben at PPL Park.  Despite the 4-1 loss to the Galaxy and a step in the wrong direction from Zac MacMath, Philadelphia picked up a hard fought 1-0 victory last Saturday against the Fire, led by the young Union keeper.  The question is, coming off a loss to the reigning MLS Cup champs, can the Union beat Chicago twice in the span of a week?

Theoretically, yes. The Union didn’t actually play all that horribly against the Galaxy, a team Philadelphia has proven they can beat.  Unfortunately, they just fell apart at the wrong time, letting superstars like Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan run all over them.  That is less likely to happen this week, as the Union will have the confidence of Saturday’s win on their side, especially now that they are at home.

Team manager John Hackworth will more than likely put the same XI on the field as he did when the U traveled to the Windy City, partly by design, but also partly due to the lack of defensive depth the team is currently suffering from.  With Gabriel Farfan traded to Chivas USA (read more on Chivas HERE), and Jeff Parke probable, yet unlikely to play, Bakary Soumaré will get his third straight start at center back.  Okugo will play the middle with him, with Williams and Gaddis on the right and left.

Offensively, look for the Casey/McInerney duo to be back at it, despite a brief respite that saw Sebastien Le Toux start on Wednesday.  While it is not likely to happen, Jose Kleberson could start again on Saturday after impressing many in his first start since joining the Union.  The more likely scenario sees Michael Farfan injected back into the lineup in his place.  However, if Hackworth saw two days ago what everybody else in the known universe saw, maybe, just maybe, Keon Daniel won’t see the pitch, making room for a new duo of sorts in Kleberson and Farfan.

For Chicago, their last game was their loss against Philadelphia, a game they feel they perhaps should have won.  With an ugly looking “7” in the loss column, the Fire will surely be out for vengeance, and a huge three points on the road.  But with the Union trying hard to make PPL Park a “fortress” despite having more road wins, Chicago has a tough match ahead of them.

The Union and Fire kick-off at 7:30 p.m. ET tomorrow evening at PPL Park.  The weather calls for a mostly cloudy day with a high of 71 degrees, with the evening cooling down some with a small chance of light showers. If you can’t make it down to PPL, the match will be televised on The Comcast Network. Philly Sports Live and The Soccer Desk will have full post game coverage after the match.  If you want to hear more about tomorrow night’s contest,  you can listen to Julian Brown and Brian Barrish’s preview on The Soccer Desk Podcast.