Seattle Sounders FC vs. Chicago Fire
2018 MLS Regular Season - Week 17
CenturyLink Field — Seattle
June 23 - 10 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN
Having lost four of their last five games, including a 2-1 defeat against the New York Red Bulls on June 13, Seattle Sounders FC return from a World Cup break looking for their third home win of the season against a Chicago Fire side that is unbeaten in their last three league matches – including back-to-back draws.
Chicago have won two of the last three meetings against Seattle (1L) after going winless in their first nine games against them (6L-3D), per Opta.
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Seattle Sounders FC
There were missed chances in the first half and that proved costly for Seattle (3-8-2), which dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Red Bulls. Daniel Royer and Bradley Wright-Phillips scored for the hosts before Harry Shipp pulled the Sounders within a goal three minutes from full time.
It was the first goal of the season for Shipp, who came off the bench for the final 30 minutes.
“The good thing about it is we were watching some World Cup games, so that was good,” Brian Schmetzer said of the weekend break. “But the bad is still that the loss stings, where we find ourselves stings so it’s actually nice to get back on the field and train and have a game this Saturday.”
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: M - Osvaldo Alonso
- International duty: D - Roman Torres, M - Gustav Svensson
- Injury Report: OUT: F - Jordan Morris (torn ACL), D - Kelvin Leerdam (right hamstring strain), M - Handwalla Bwana (right midfoot sprain), F - Felix Chenkam (right hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: M - Lamar Neagle (left groin strain)
Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Stefan Frei — Jordan McCrary, Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Nouhou Tolo — Cristian Roldan, Nicolas Lodeiro — Harry Shipp, Clint Dempsey, Victor Rodriguez — Will Bruin
- Notes: In the seven MLS games Nicolas Lodeiro has played in, Seattle is averaging 1.1 goals and 14.3 shots per game. In the six games he has missed, those numbers drop to 0.3 goals and 9.7 shots per game. … Seattle have won just one of their last five games (4L). The Sounders have failed to score in three of those games.
Chicago (5-7-4) would not be affected by the environment, with a U.S. Open Cup-record crowd of 41,012 packing Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wednesday night with the Fire upsetting Atlanta United, 1-0, to reach the tournament’s quarterfinals and a date with Louisville City FC.
Nemanja Nikolic scored the lone goal in the 54th minute on a counter attack to clinch a massive win that comes on the heels of three consecutive league games without defeat.
“Every game for us is almost like a final. That is how we approached this game and previous games too,” Veljko Paunovic said. “I think that is what helps us to keep building the performance and the form of the team. As time goes by, I think the team is getting more mature and getting to know each other better and that helps with all of the veterans that we have with their experience and their input, it is very nice to be the coach of this team today.”
- Suspended: D - Johan Kappelhof
- Suspended after next caution: D - Kevin Ellis
- International duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Matt Polster (MCL surgery), GK - Patrick McLain (hamstring injury), D - Drew Conner (right calf injury)
Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Diego Campos, Brandon Vincent, Jonathan Campbell, Jorge Corrales — Dax McCarty, Brandt Bronico — Aleksandar Katai, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac — Nemanja Nikolic
- Notes: Aleksandar Katai has scored two goals from outside the box in the last month. The Sounders are one of three teams to have conceded multiple such goals in that time. … Chicago are unbeaten in their last three games (1W-2D), their longest streak since a run of 11 games unbeaten last season (8W-3D).
- Overall: Seattle Sounders FC 7 wins, 15 goals … Chicago Fire 2 wins, 12 goals … 3 draws
- At Seattle: Sounders FC 4 wins, 7 goals … Fire 0 wins, 3 goals … 1 draw
- Last meeting at Seattle: Seattle Sounders FC 1, Chicago Fire 0 (Sept. 28, 2016)
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Jeffrey Greeson
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.