SEATTLE – O'Brian White notched a goal and an assist to help the Seattle Sounders to their first win of the 2011 season on Saturday, 2-1 over the Chicago Fire in front of 36,223 at Qwest Field.
In the absence of Fredy Montero, who is recovering from wrist surgery, Seattle went to a three-forward formation with White as the point man to trigger the Sounders offense.
And it didn’t take long for him to make his presence known during an entertaining, up-tempo first half. In the seventh minute, the Jamaican got his head on a Mauro Rosales cross, despite being tightly marked, and finished past Sean Johnson’s near post.
Less than a minute later, Chicago answered back. Patrick Nyarko used his speed on the right to get send in a low cross. Diego Cháves’ aggressive run into the penalty area beat the Seattle defense and the Uruguayan finished tidily to the back post, becoming the first Fire player to score in his first three games.
With Seattle holding more of the possession, they managed to create the eventual game-winning goal through Steve Zakuani’s ingenuity. In the 25th minute, he and White unlocked the defense by themselves, as Zakuani beat a double team with a give-and-go with White to put Seattle up 2-1.
The Fire came out in the second half eager to equalize. They forced two saves from Kasey Keller in the early part of the half – a diving save on Cháves and a kick save to stop Gastón Puerari’s breakaway. The Sounders lived dangerously as the Fire pressed forward.
As the match continued, Seattle introduced Nate Jaqua and defensive-minded midfielder Servando Carrasco to help salt the game away. Despite some nervy moments, the Seattle defense held on for the team’s first win of the season.
The Sounders next face two tough road games – at Philadelphia on April 16 and at Colorado the following weekend. The Fire travel to Portland for the Timbers’ home MLS debut in a nationally televised match on April 14.
SEA -- O'Brian White 2 (Mauro Rosales 2) 7
CHI -- Diego Chaves 3 (Patrick Nyarko 1, Gaston Puerari 1) 8
SEA -- Steve Zakuani 2 (O'Brian White 1) 25
SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Tackle) 32
SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 47+
CHI -- Dasan Robinson (caution; Reckless Foul) 71
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Dasan Robinson, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares (Dominic Oduro 83), Logan Pause, Marco Pappa, Michael Videira, Patrick Nyarko (Orr Barouch 90), Gaston Puerari, Diego Chaves.
Substitutes Not Used: Yamith Cuesta, Marko Maric, Dan Paladini, Davis Paul, Jon Conway.
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 64), Erik Friberg, O'Brian White (Servando Carrasco 81), Steve Zakuani.
Substitutes Not Used: Alvaro Fernandez, Patrick Ianni, Lamar Neagle, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Fabio Tovar; Cameron Blair
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 52 degrees