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Chicago Fire Fall 1-0 to Philadelphia Union

May 11, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Chicago Fire

CHICAGO, Ill. (May 11, 2013) - The Chicago Fire (2-6-1; seven points) fell 1-0 to the Philadelphia Union (4-3-3, 15 points) Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire created 15 shots on goal but fell victim to a 75th minute goal by Union forward Jack McInerney.

The Fire came close in the 33rd minute. Patrick Nyarko dribbled into the box and centered the ball for Chris Rolfe but the Union's Gabriel Farfan blocked the initial shot. Daniel Paladini pounced on the rebound and unleashed a one-time shot that Zac MacMath kicked out to Wells Thompson, but Thompson's shot was blocked out for a corner kick.

After a scoreless first half the Fire came out with renewed vigor and continued to press for the opening goal.

In the 48th Gonzalo Segares sent in a cross for the left side to Paladini, who laid the ball off for Nyarko. The fleet-footed Ghanaian was able to pivot and hit a right-footed blast on goal but it banged off the post and out for a Union goal kick.

The visitors got the only goal of the match in the 75th minute. The Union won a free kick just inside the Fire's half. Sebastian Le Toux took a quick restart, sending the ball in behind the Fire backline to Jack McInerney. The Alpharetta, Ga. native took a touch to settle and slotted the ball past Johnson to give the Union the 1-0 lead.

In the 78th minute, Fire 'keeper Sean Johnson snagged a Union corner kick out of the air and quickly sent the ball up field for Nyarko. Nyarko broke away from Raymon Gaddis and headed towards goal. In alone with MacMath, Nyarko was unable to round the 'keeper and MacMath swept the ball away to freedom.

The Fire would get one last chance in the waning moments of the match. Rolfe dribbled into the box, played a give-and-go with Segares, and lofted the ball across the goal. The cross was headed out by the Union defense to Quincy Amarikwa, who unleashed a powerful volley toward goal but MacMath was able to punch it out at the last second as the match ended 1-0.

The Men in Red return to action when they head to Philadelphia to take on the Union at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. on Saturday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. CT (My50/107.9 La Ley.) The Fire return to Toyota Park when they host D.C. United on Sunday, June 2 at 4:00 p.m. CT (My50/UniMas/107.9 La Ley). Tickets for the match are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire or by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com.

Notes:

- The Fire now hold a 3-4-1 all-time record against the Philadelphia Union.

- With midfielder Jeff Larentowicz serving a one-game suspension for a red card that he received April 27 against the Montreal Impact and Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald out with Strep Throat, Fire head coach Frank Klopas trotted out his ninth different starting lineup in nine games.

- With MacDonald unavailable, midfielder Patrick Nyarko started up top alongside Chris Rolfe.

- Fire defender Gonzalo Segares surpassed Jesse Marsch to take possession of fifth place on the Fire leader's charts with 183 MLS Regular Season starts.

- Fire midfielder Wells Thompson returned to the starting lineup after serving a one-game suspension that was given to him by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for his challenge on Columbus Crew midfielder AgustÃ-n Viana in the 12th minute of the match on Saturday, April 20.

Quotes:

Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire Head Coach

On the team's performance

"I don't think we dominated most of the game, I think it was the whole game. 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."

On when he found out Sherjill MacDonald would not be able to play

"Yesterday he came in and he was under the weather. He was able to train and he went to see our doctor; he had strep throat. We wanted to keep him away. It is contagious from what he said. We didn't want that spreading throughout the team. It was late afternoon yesterday after he got examined by our physician. We decided to leave him home and not around the players."

On the partnership of Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko

"They combined well. They showed well. You can see by the opportunities. Patrick was dangerous, their ability to play off each other and stay more connected. Pushing Danny a little bit higher up the field because everyone has to defend. You need their energy mostly in the final third. As a team we are pretty hard. Patrick, when he got the ball, was very good off the dribble. He created a lot of opportunities but he didn't get rewarded with a goal. The little things are hurting us right now. Over 90 minutes you get the chances and you don't score, you can say it is a little unfair but it's soccer. We got to go back and be focused."

On the missing part of this team

"I've said it in the past. It would be different if you're not creating chances then you could scratch your head. You look at the game today we had more possession in the second half. There were shots on goals, opportunities. I can't tell you, all I can tell you is we had opportunities, but we need to finish. We had five, six, seven chances. It would be nice to score a couple goals to take the pressure off."

On the play of opposing goalkeeper Zac MacMath

"To win on the road you need the goalkeeper to play big. When you get the one chance to finish like they did they did well as a team. They were a bit lucky, those things are not going our way not due to lack of effort. We got to keep working. It is disappointing when you lose at home. You need to win your home games. I don't know what much more to say but go back to work. We played well enough to win the game."

On what is different in the team from this year compared to last

"We are missing Arne Friedrich in the back for sure 100 percent. His ability to communicate and over 90 minutes his ability to dictate the backline when to move up and stay connected with the team. He is really good with his feet and plays the right balls at the right time out of pressure. It is huge. We are making some mistakes that are hurting us. The other guys and Rolfe had a strong second half. You got to keep working on things. We miss Friedrich's leadership on a play like today."

On the Fire's finishing ability

"Yeah put the ball upper 90. What do you do to duplicate those situations in practice how do you get the confidence? You have repetition and training in the final third shooting. We do that stuff in training. Finishing they are proven guys who have done it in the past. In the game when the chance comes it's a little bit different. The pressure this and that. Those three inches to the left or right and we are talking about a different result. Give credit to them they defended well and came up with big saves. Sometimes you scratch your head and you look at this game again and you say how did you lose this game? One chance they score and we have 10 chances and we don't score. One little mistake that is the game. We need to move forward and look where we can improve certain spots on the field."

Patrick Nyarko, Chicago Fire Forward

On the frustration of not being able to finish

"It's a little bit frustrating. We're feeling a little bit unlucky right now, but I don't like making excuses. I thought we played well, but we're on a bad run. We've just been inconsistent and things are just not falling for us. I've said before, and I'll say it again, I'm confident that it's going to turn around. Games keep passing us by, but I'm optimistic that the team will turn it around."

On playing up top

"Most of the other players think I'm better up there [in the forward position], but I'm just out there trying to do what I do best - creating a bunch of chances and hopefully finishing a few. This week has been the only time I've really practiced up top and it takes a different mentality, and I need to get used to it.

As of right now, I don't know if it's going to continue like this. Because of an illness, I had to step in and be ready for anything that comes up. If they want to keep me up there, I'm ready to play. It's just a matter of staying consistent, which I think I have been throughout most of the season.

I've been practicing with Mac [MacDonald] and Chris [Rolfe] all week. The coaching staff just wants move things around and see how it feels." On playing with Chris Rolfe "Before Chris [Rolfe] left for Europe a few years ago, we played together a few times, so we know each other. We're both really quick and creative with the ball, and I feel like we opened the field up for each other and created a couple of very good chances. Whenever I play out wide I feel like I have a really good connection with him. As long as we keep creating chances I think we are going to be successful."

Logan Pause, Chicago Fire Midfielder

On the result

"I thought we played well enough to win the game and get three points, but life goes on. We play the same team next week, so we'll have to go their home and try and get three points."

On bouncing back next week

"The big thing for us is getting past it mentally and moving on. We know that things aren't going well. We're sitting toward the bottom of the table, and we don't feel like this is where this team should be. Obviously, this is a tough one to swallow today, especially since I felt like we did more than enough to get some points, in front of home fans disappointing them.

On missing Arne Friedrich

"We miss Arne [Friedrich] whether we win a game, lose a game or if he misses one game or five games. He's a guy that brings a wealth of experience to us in the year since he joined the team, but as much as we miss his experience we have guys that are capable and have shown game in and game out how well they can perform for the team. When we lose a game like this it's easy to go searching for answer, but that's not one of them."

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