By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer
It was a wild outing for the Union against the Chicago Fire, and a tie was a pretty generous result given the admittedly poor quality of play from the Union in this game, but a point is a point.
Things got off to quite the disastrous start when Jakob Glesnes handed Chicago a 1-0 lead with an own goal in just the second minute. Even worse, this didn’t light a fire (no pun intended) under the Union to push for an equalizer. Sloppy passing, an inability to maintain possession, and severe disorganization plagued the visiting side, rendering them unable to move the ball deep into the Fire’s half.
It was shockingly uncharacteristic of the Union to play so carelessly and lethargically against an opposition. It seemed as though they knew that Chicago was at the bottom of the table and in abysmal offense form, and subsequently decided that they didn’t need to try as hard to win this game.
However, a bright spot came in the form of Quinn Sullivan, who put the Union level with a simply astonishing bicycle kick. The goal, which came in his first start for Philadelphia, made 17-year-old Sullivan the youngest goalscorer in Union history.
Then, just before halftime, Cory Burke slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net to give the Boys In Blue a 2-1 lead at the break. It wasn’t the most comfortable of leads, and the Union’s shaky playing wasn’t guaranteeing that they could hold on to it, but it was better than trailing.
The Fire wasted no time in raining on the Union’s parade with an equalizing goal from Boris Sekulic in the 56th minute. A flurry of scoring chances from both sides and yellow cards for mainly the Union ensued, immersing this match into a soggy bout of chaos.
In a moment straight out of a horror movie, the unthinkable happened—Chicago took the lead. An effort from Mauricio Pineda seemed to seal the Union’s fate as the scoreline ticked up to 3-2, and the offense looked to be in no position to take a goal back.
Sekulic found himself on the scoresheet once again, but this time for the visitors, when a ball deflected off of his bicep and right past goalie Bobby Shuttleworth to level the game 3-3. Both sides went on an intense hunt for the only goal that seemed to be left in the game, and Jamiro Monteiro nearly found it in the closing minutes of the game, but Shuttleworth was able to just knock it out of play. Chicago had no luck finding the back of the net again either, and the game ended in a 3-3 draw.
Man of the Match: There’s actually a rule in MLS where you have to give MOTM to the 17-year-old who scored a perfectly hit bicycle kick on a sopping wet field during his first start for his team (becoming the team’s youngest-ever goalscorer), so Quinn Sullivan it is.
The Main Takeaway: If it wasn’t glaringly obvious before, it is now. The Union need Alejandro Bedoya on the field. He manages the midfield and keeps players from straying away from the ball. He’s vocal and pushes his teammates to put pressure on the opposition defense. He always moves the ball forward, without the frivolous and superfluous touches that so often rob the Union of goals. It was necessary to rest Bedoya, seeing as this was the Union’s third game in six days, but this game showed just how much he’s needed.