Seattle Sounders 1, Chicago Fire 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
An early blast from Aleksandar Katai gave the Chicago Fire a dream start before Clint Dempsey netted his first league goal of 2018 to save the Seattle Sounders' blushes in a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night.
Katai snuck a low, curling drive from distance past Stefan Frei as the visitors started brightly, inspired by the dynamic midfield trio of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dax McCarty and the particularly impressive Brandt Bronico. Seattle responded in due time, equalizing via a slick sequence capped by a Dempsey tap-in that draws the wiley veteran level with Fredy Montero atop the Sounders' career scoring chart in their MLS era.
The Rave Green dodged a late bullet when Fire supersub Alan Gordon sidefooted wide from close range in the game's dying minutes after a pinpoint delivery from Katai.
Both sides will have reasons for dissatisfaction with the final result, which did not reflect the open, flowing character of the match and the busy goalkeepers at both ends. It's two more points dropped at home for the Sounders, who remain stuck near the foot of the Western Conference table, while Chicago are still under .500 and have won just two of their eight road games this season.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This was an entertaining affair, with both teams completing upwards of 400 passes apiece at a rate of 85 percent or higher, and Frei and Richard Sanchez faced a combined total of 14 shots on target. But these squads need to rack up points, pronto, if they want to make real noise in the pursuit of the postseason.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Everything set up perfectly for Gordon to enact his customary late-game heroics when Katai laid a lovely low centering pass into the path of his near-post run, only for the striker to miss the target and let the Sounders off the hook.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Aleksandar Katai was lively all night and deserved more than just the one goal, clanging the woodwork and repeatedly setting up his teammates. Fire fans wait with bated breath to see if his loan option will be taken up at the end of the month.