It was supposed to be a celebration for the home team. A win would have brought them one win away from a playoff berth. At halftime a certain former Fire player—and a certain former Union coach—would be honored. Instead the Union, coming off of an unjust loss in Columbus on Saturday that officially eliminated them from playoff contention, took the pitch and sunk three brilliant goals, handing the Chicago Fire their first loss at home against Eastern Conference of the season. It was also the first time the Fire have lost two games in a row this season.
Today is the last day for season ticket holders to renew their season tickets for 2013. If any have been undecided about whether or not they will renew, hopefully last night’s game will help in making a decision.
John Hackworth said after the game, “For us, it wasn’t as much about knocking off Chicago as it was more about reinforcing the performances that we’ve had in the recent weeks. We feel like we’ve played some really good soccer. We’ve just been on the short end of the stick a lot. So it was good to come out here—obviously the Chicago Fire are an excellent team—I think they are going to do an excellent job in the playoffs and going forward. But we had a little something to prove tonight. It was satisfying we put in a good performance and we got the goals we needed. Good enough defending despite them being really dangerous in the attack. Great result for us.”
Jack McInerney said, “I thought we played like we’ve played all season. We’ve dominated teams for the most part. Today we didn’t end up with more possession than the other team but we came away with a win, whereas it’s been opposite for us the whole season. I thought we played well and we deserved to win.”
Hackworth added, “I think we did a great job controlling the tempo of the game, getting an early goal. We defended a little too much but then we got the second goal and killed it off with the third goal was really important. We have out possessed most teams we have played and I’ll take the 3-1 win versus losing the stat on the possession any day.”
He also said, “I love the character of these guys. I keep saying that to people and it’s hard for people to understand what a great group of guys it is. But when they perform like this when there’s literally nothing for them to play for in the league, you see how much character they have. And that’s just awesome.”
Antoine Hoppenot said of the team’s mindset at the half, “When we came into the locker room at halftime, Coach said we had the lead and not to let it go. He told us to go out there and instead of backing off, he said go for the second. If you’re able to get the second goal that’ll really take the wind out of their sails and they won’t want to play with us. So we went out there and played for the second one.”
Hoppenot said of his goal, “I came in and scored a goal via a great pass by Mike [Farfan]. He really just gave that to me on a platter so the credit goes to the team, we had a lead and I helped them [secure the win.]”
Hackworth said of Danny Cruz, who left the game with an injury “It looks like he might have a fracture there. We have to evaluate it. Our medical crew is already on it, but he’ll be evaluated with x-rays and MRIs when he gets back to Philadelphia.” The club tweeted on Thursday morning, “Danny Cruz sustained an injury to his right toe & not ankle as originally believed. Severity is not known until further x-rays & MRI today.”
Cruz has been listed as having a “L big toe sesamoid stress fracture” in the last several injury reports.
Match reports and recaps from PSP, MLSsoccer.com, the Union website, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, chicago-fire.com, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Fire Confidential, Chicago Land Soccer, ESPN, SBI, Goal.com, ProSoccerTalk, SB Nation, Soccerway, The Sports Network, and The AP. Quote sheet here.
While the Union remain in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the win in Chicago moves them to 14th in the league table.
The Daily Princetonian profiles Antoine Hoppenot. In the piece senior midfielder Matt Sanner says of his former Princeton teammate, “He’s definitely had the ability to get under people’s skin. Guys are already tired, and then he comes in and they have to deal with this super energetic guy who’s just buzzing around everywhere. He’s just a handful.”
Danny Califf said before last night’s Chivas USA game against Vancouver, “It’s been a career’s worth of frustrating moments and disappointing moments in three-quarters of a season, or even half a season. I can’t even really describe how disappointing and embarrassed and just plain [ticked] off about the way things have gone.” Chivas went on to be crushed by the Whitecaps 4–0, extending the Goats losing streak to seven games, a new club record. Vancouver’s win also eliminated three Western Conference teams from the playoff hunt.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman has been fined an undisclosed amount for criticizing the officiating in his team’s draw with San Jose last weekend. I wonder how much Hackworth’s comments about the offside goal in Columbus will cost him?
Sporting News looks at how a spirit of innovation is helping to put MLS at the forefront of soccer’s evolution. Interesting read.
The Guardian presents a list of the five best supporters songs. Hey Guardian, where are the Sons of Ben?
Harry Redknapp to coach New York Red Bulls? Cor blimey, what a load of old pony.
beIN Sport USA have updated their program grid through next Friday, the day that the USMNT is in Antigua and Barbuda for a World Cup qualifier. The game will be live on the English language channel, which Comcast has yet to add to its channel lineup. The game will not be on beIN SPORT en Español, which Comcast does have on its lineup, live or delayed. Comcast has eight days to get its act together. (Union fans will be able to watch Carlos Valdes and Colombia take on Paraguay and Gabriel Gomez and Panama take on Honduras.)
SI recaps Wednesday’s Champions League action.
The AP reports, “Financial police raided the Italian football federation and Napoli club offices Wednesday to seize documents involving the buying and selling of players and relations with agents.”
Soccer America has crucial information about evaluating concussions for youth coaches.
And then there’s this: