There was no arguing with the Chicago Fire's quantity Saturday afternoon, just its quality in front of the Philadelphia Union goal.
The Fire outshot the Union 15-9 and had possession 58 percent of the game, but as has been the case too often this season, the Fire couldn't score.
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The Union did, winning 1-0 despite being without starting defenders Sheanon Williams and Jeff Parke. It was the fifth time the Fire has been shut out in nine games this season, the second time at Toyota Park.
"You look at games like this and you're scratching your head how we lost a game like this," Fire coach Frank Klopas said.
With Sherjill MacDonald suffering from strep throat, Patrick Nyarko moved to forward from his usual right midfield spot, and while he caused the Union defense problems, he couldn't end the Fire's season-long scoring slump.
"He created a lot of opportunities. It's just a shame he didn't get rewarded by a goal," Klopas said of Nyarko, who hit a goal post with a 48th-minute shot. "It's just little things are hurting us right now."
"It's just not falling for us," Nyarko added. "I've said this and I'll keep saying it again, I'm confident we're going to turn it around. With every game, the games keep passing by, I'm a pretty optimistic guy, but I feel like we'll turn it around."
The Fire forced Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath to make 6 saves, including a key leg save of a Daniel Paladini shot during a flurry in front of the net in the 32nd minute, and another in second-half extra time off a crack from substitute Quincy Amarikwa.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made just 1 save on a relatively light day.
"It's very frustrating," added fellow forward Chris Rolfe. "But it's nothing new. I think again we created some good chances. You've got to think at some point we're going to start scoring."
The Union scored on a quick restart in the 75th minute after an Austin Berry foul near midfield. Sebastien Le Toux sent a long ball into the Fire penalty area where Jack McInerney ran onto it, brought it down and tapped it in off a charging Johnson before the Fire (2-6-1, 7 points) could get organized.
"Bad call on not even a foul, but I think we fell asleep," Klopas said.
It was the 20-year-old McInerney's league-leading seventh goal of the season. The Fire has 6 goals this season.
The Fire gets another crack at the Union (4-3-3, 15 points) next weekend at Philadelphia.
Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz