Fire gets some relief with first win

Updated 3/29/2015 8:46 PM

Chicago Fire players and coaches needed a reason to smile almost as much as they needed 3 points in the standings.

They got both with Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union in front of a sparse Toyota Park crowd generously announced at 12,815.


"It was huge," Fire coach Frank Yallop said of the morale-boosting victory. "Obviously starting the season 0-3 is never good for anybody. … The most important thing this match is we got 3 points against a conference opponent.

"We have another big game coming up Saturday (at home against Toronto). Now we can sort of digest this game, work on what we didn't do and get ready for the next big hurdle we have."

Actually, it was more than that. The team has spent the past five seasons mired in mediocrity and looked on the verge of becoming a disaster zone just four games into this season. Philadelphia is a mediocre team that was missing several key players due to injury or suspension.

A loss would have been humiliating, a draw disheartening.

Thanks to Adailton's 37th-minute goal off a Harry Shipp free kick, the Fire (1-3-0, 3 points) got a reprieve … and maybe more.

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"I think it's massive," rookie midfielder Matt Polster said. "We're finally moving in the right direction. I thought we played well against San Jose (a 2-1 loss last week); definitely could've gotten a result. But it's nice to finally have that win. We're moving in the right direction. We're building off of it."

Yallop said he saw "very encouraging signs" from his team, primarily in the first 55 minutes when the players created numerous scoring chances. His young midfielders -- Shipp, Michael Stephens, Polster and Joevin Jones -- looked like they want to stay in the starting lineup.

That won't be easy with designated players David Accam and Shaun Maloney returning from international duty and acclaimed signee Victor Perez scheduled to meet his new teammates Monday at training.

But that's a good problem to have, and the Fire hasn't had many good problems lately.

"We are so happy about this," said new Brazilian defender Adailton, who scored the game's only goal. "We did a clean sheet again. We have to keep this energy, this enthusiasm, and I'm sure if we keep this … it doesn't mean that we're going to win every game.

"But it means that every game we play it's going to be very hard for the opponent, and we will have many chances for the 3 points."

• Follow Orrin on Twitter at @Orrin_Schwarz

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