Seattle Sounders FC 1, Chicago Fire 0 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
Seattle Sounders FC are above the red line for the first time in 2016 after besting the Chicago Fire 1-0 in an end-to-end contest at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night.
After multiple possessions in Chicago’s defensive third, the Sounders finally broke through in the 24th minute when central defender Chad Marshall powered in a header off a gorgeous in-swinging corner served by Andreas Ivanschitz.
Seattle pushed for a second goal in the first half, consistently playing through playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro. Lodeiro was up to his usual tricks, probing the Chicago back four with a barrage of through ball attempts.
Chicago’s Arturo Alvarez almost drew the Fire level before the conclusion of the first half, curling a left-footed direct free kick just past the near post.
The Fire took a more proactive approach to the second half in search of a game-tying goal. As a result, the game opened up and each team was able to create multiple chances.
Despite many close opportunities in the latter stages of the second half, Marshall's header held up as the gamewinner and Seattle continued their inspired form.
RED RELIEF: Since March, the Seattle Sounders have been on the wrong side of the playoff chase in the Western Conference. After nearly seven months of turmoil and drama that included the removal of legendary coach Sigi Schmid and the recent news that Designated Player Clint Dempsey would miss the remainder of the season, there is finally reason for Emerald City supporters to believe that they’ll have soccer to root for this November and possibly December after Wednesday’s win. The question now becomes, can they see their efforts through in the final weeks of the regular season?
HEADY MARSHALL: For years now, Marshall has been one of the best defenders in MLS at winning aerial duels. Simply stated, he is a force in that aspect of the game.On Wednesday, he once again proved just how good he is with his head. In this case, the veteran notched the game-winner the way he knows best. He also helped lead Seattle’s back four to their seventh clean sheet of the 2016 MLS campaign. A tidy evening at the office indeed for Marshall.
PUSHING THE ATTACK: After being significantly out-possessed (71 percent to 29 percent) and out-played in the first half, Chicago fought hard to impose their attacking will on Seattle in the second half.
The result was an overall improved performance and an effort that was dynamic going forward, dangerous in front of goal and one that kept Seattle off the scoreboard. As 2016 winds down for the Fire, Veljko Paunovic will be closely watching for who he wants to feature in 2017. Which players will make their case in October?