Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders
2017 MLS Regular Season
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, Ill.
Saturday, May 13 – 9:00 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN2 in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada
Not many would’ve circled this match on their calendars before the season began, but the signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and a promising start by the Fire, a post-MLS Cup hangover in Seattle and a savvy move to put the match on ESPN2 make Saturday’s contest between Chicago and the Sounders at Toyota Park plenty interesting.
The Fire enter Saturday’s match after failing to pick up a win on their tough three-game road trip. Chicago did manage a point last week at LA, taking an early 2-0 lead before conceding twice to tie the Galaxy 2-2 at StubHub Center. A result in Southern California is never bad, but the way that the Fire drew on Saturday – they gave up a pair of set piece goals to let LA back in the game – was cause for some frustration.
“Maybe we thought the game was done,” Schweinsteiger said after the match. “We spoke about it on halftime. That was not the case. We didn’t find the free man, we rushed, we lost the ball too easy, then you lose a little bit of the control of the game.”
There’s even more consternation in Seattle’s camp. The Sounders dropped their last match 1-0 against a shorthanded Toronto team on Saturday to end their two-game homestand with just one point. It was a familiar story for Seattle, who held 63 percent of possession and generated chances but couldn’t hit the back of the net.
“[We’re missing] the final pass, the final movement, a little bit of luck, a little bit more desire to get in the box and make stuff happen,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said after the Toronto loss. “Guys have to make plays. We as a staff have to make sure we put our players in good position so they can make plays.
“Overall, there’s a lot of frustration in that locker room. We’re tired of that same storyline of extended possession, getting a bunch of chances. That storyline is growing old very fast.”
After three weeks on the road, it’s back to the friendly confines of Toyota Park for the Fire. Chicago have been very solid at home this season, posting an unbeaten 3-0-1 record in Bridgeview, recording three shutouts and outscoring their opponents 8-2 in their four home contests.
Designated Player striker Nemanja Nikolic has been particularly deadly at home, scoring four goals in his four matches at Toyota Park. The Hungarian, who found the back of the net in last week’s draw at LA, will look to keep going against Seattle, who are 1-2-2 away from CenturyLink Field in 2017.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injuries: OUT - M John Goossens (right ankle surgery); QUESTIONABLE - M Matt Polster (right hip flexor)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jorge Bava – Drew Conner, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent – Dax McCarty, Juninho – Luis Solignac, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Accam – Nemanja Nikolic
Just when you think the Sounders have grabbed some momentum, they come crashing back to earth. It looked like the tide had turned for Seattle in their 3-0 demolition of LA on April 23, then they fell into a 3-0 hole at home against New England on April 29. They clawed their way back against the Revs to dramatically draw 3-3, but couldn’t maintain that good feeling on Saturday, losing 1-0 to a Toronto team that rested Sebastian Giovinco after playing in Ontario three days earlier.
The Sounders have a chance to make a strong response against a solid Fire team, but overcoming Chicago at Toyota Park – where the Fire are unbeaten this year – won’t be easy. The Sounders will need to be more clinical in front of net against the Fire, who have only allowed two goals in their four home matches this season.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injuries: OUT - D Nouhou Tolo (left shoulder dislocation); QUESTIONABLE - D Oniel Fisher (hamstring), D Chad Marshall (lower back pain), M Aaron Kovar (groin)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stefan Frei – Brad Evans, Roman Torres, Gustav Svensson, Joevin Jones – Ozzie Alonso, Cristian Roldan – Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris – Will Bruin
- Overall: Chicago 1 win (8 goals), Seattle 7 wins (14 goals), 3 draws
- At Chicago: Chicago 1 win (5 goals), Seattle 3 wins (7 goals), 2 draws
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Brian Dunn
Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal