By Sam Bush
The Union got back on the right track last night in Chester.
They defeated the Chicago Fire 4-3, matching a franchise record for 10 consecutive home matches unbeaten.
Roland Alberg led the way, recording the second hat-trick in Union history to secure the record, which dates back to Sept. 20, 2015. The club is 8-0-2 during that stretch in MLS matches.
Chicago opened up the scoring before most fans got settled into their seats. In the second minute of play, David Accam intercepted a pass from Ken Tribbett and then took on Brian Carroll one-on-one in the midfield. Accam showed off his exceptional speed and beat Union goalkeeper Andre Blake to give the Fire the early 1-0 lead.
The Chicago lead lasted less than 10 minutes as Keegan Rosenberry sent a beautiful ball in the box that found Alberg. After gathering the ball, Alberg sent a shot to the net that bounced off of Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson, ricocheted off the post and was deflected off of Chicago defender Jonathan Campbell for an own goal.
Alberg was able to get his name on the scoresheet for the second goal of the match in the 15th minute. Tranquillo Barnetta sent a shot from outside of the box that again, hit the post. The ball found its way to Fabian Herbers who gently tapped the ball over to Alberg. Using his right foot, Alberg buried home the second goal for the Union.
The Union made it 3-1 during stoppage time in the first half. Again it was Alberg, who had his first opportunity denied by a Fire defender, but as the ball bounced back his way, Alberg calmly readjusted and blasted one past Sean Johnson and the rest of the Fire for a two-goal lead.
Chris Pontius was a crucial factor in the fourth goal. Making a run into the box, Pontius was dragged down and awarded the penalty kick. Alberg stepped up and delivered home the fourth goal of the match, recording the second hat-trick in franchise history. The only other hat-trick came on April 10, 2010 from Le Toux.
Chicago made things very interesting earning the final two goals of the match. Razvan Cocis and Khaly Thiam recorded goals, but it was too little too late for the Fire as they fell 4-3 to the Union.
Philly will look to break the franchise record for consecutive home games unbeaten Saturday against Vancouver. The club could also tie a franchise record for wins in a season at seven, with nine games remaining.