By Mary Tully
Nemanja Nikolic scored twice to lead the Chicago Fire to a 2-0 victory over the visiting Union.
The red-hot Nikolic scored goals in the 38th and 45th minutes. He has tallied at least once in four straight games and has five during the stretch to raise his season count to 11.
Forward Przemyslaw Frankowski set up the first goal for the Fire (8-11-9, 33 points). Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm made four saves for his third shutout of the year, helping Chicago improve to 3-1-1 over its past five matches.
The Fire played the second half with 10 men after midfielder Nicolas Gaitan drew a red card for a hard foul during first-half stoppage time.
The Union (13-8-6, 45 points) had an 18-5 edge in shots while missing an opportunity to expand a three-point lead atop the Eastern Conference standings. Both teams put three shots on target.
Nikolic, in his third season with the Fire, has 50 goals, second most in franchise history. He was tied with Chris Rolfe (2005-09, 2012-13) at 48 entering the match.
He scored No. 49 when Frankowski sent in a pass from the right wing. Nikolic received the ball close to the net and chipped it over Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The second goal was set up when forward CJ Sapong was fouled in the penalty area by Philadelphia defender Aurelien Collin. Nikolic took the penalty kick and sent the ball into the left corner of the net as Blake headed in the other direction.