The Frank Klopas era kicks off for the Chicago Fire, as their new boss leads the club against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire have equaled a club record with a nine-game winless run, last playing to a 2-2 draw at home with San Jose. Sounders FC put an end to Real Salt Lake’s two-year league home unbeaten streak in their last match, a 2-1 victory last weekend.
REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): Jason Cullum; JAR (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Michael Kennedy. MLS Career: 144 games; FC/gm: 28.5; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 47; pens: 46
CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles repair); DF Josip Mikulic (L clavicle fracture); MF Marko Maric (L deltoid sprain); DOUBTFUL: MF Patrick Nyarko (concussion) … SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (L leg surgery); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF Alvaro Fernandez (hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHI: Marco Pappa (Guatemala)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Daniel Paladini, Gonzalo Segares … SEA: Leo Gonzalez
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Diego Chaves, Cory Gibbs, Dominic Oduro … SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, James Riley
- ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Fire 0 wins, 3 goals … Sounders FC 3 wins, 6 goals … Ties 2
- AT CHICAGO (2 meetings): Fire 0 wins, 1 goals … Sounders FC 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 1
- Goals by O’Brian White and Steve Zakuani gave Sounders FC a 2-1 win in the first meeting between the teams this year, April 9 at Qwest Field.
- The Fire have never defeated Sounders FC. Seattle now has a three-game winning streak vs. Chicago, also winning both meetings last season, a 2-1 win at Qwest Field and a 1-0 victory at Toyota Park; the teams played to two draws in the Sounders FC inaugural season.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. CHI: P30 W14 L8 D8 … Frank Klopas v SEA: first game
- 4/9: SEA 2, CHI 1 (White 7, Zakuani 25 – Chaves 8)
- Sounders FC took the lead after just seven minutes. Mauro Rosales drove in a cross from the right flank and O'Brian White beat tight marking to snap home a header inside the near post.
- The Fire pulled level less than a minute later. Patrick Nyarko sped away down the right and sent in a low cross, where Diego Cháves beat the Seattle defense into the box and finished tidily to the back post.
- Seattle took the lead again in the 25th minute. Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White unlocked the defense with a neat give-and-go down the left side, with Zakuani turning the corner and slipping a tight-angle shot under goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani - Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 64), O'Brian White (Servando Carrasco 81).
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Dasan Robinson, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares (Dominic Oduro 83) - Patrick Nyarko (Orr Barouch 93+), Logan Pause, Michael Videira, Marco Pappa – Diego Chaves, Gaston Puerari,
The Chicago Fire had their winless streak reach a club-record nine games, coming back for a 2-2 draw Saturday with the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Park. The Fire have 9 points from 11 matches on the year, sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
- All four of the game’s goals came in a wild second half. San Jose midfielder Ramiro Corrales opened the scoring in the 50th minute when he headed home Anthony Ampaipitakwong’s corner kick at the top of the six-yard box.
- Fire winger Dominic Oduro tied the game up just six minutes later. Cristian Nazarit hit a low shot from the top of the box which hit off both the left and right posts before rolling out, where Oduro had the easiest of tap-ins.
- The Quakes again gained the advantage in the 74th minute. Corrales and Ampaipitakwong combined well on the right side, freeing Ampaipitakwong for a cross that expertly picked out Chris Wondolowski, who flicked his header inside the far post from the top of the six.
- Chicago equalized again in the 80th. Cory Gibbs got on the end of substitute midfielder Baggio Husidic’s cross, putting his diving header inside the near post from the right corner of the goal area.
- Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos made two changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Logan Pause and Cristian Nazarit came into the team for Baggio Husidic and Corben Bone.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson – Bratislav Ristic, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares – Dominic Oduro (Gaston Puerari 81), Daniel Paladini (Baggio Husidic 76), Logan Pause, Marco Pappa – Cristian Nazarit, Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 74).
- The draw with San Jose was the final in charge for head coach Carlos de los Cobos, relieved of his duties after just 41 league games at the helm. Frank Klopas, the Fire's technical director, will take over the coaching responsibilities on an interim basis.
- “This is not something that I wanted. The truth is that I say no to holding the job permanently. I am very familiar with the players and I am the reason that most of these players are here. So, I think moving forward and making the transition as simple as possible made sense making me interim head coach,” Klopas said.
- Originally signing a pro contract with the Chicago Sting of the NASL in 1984, Klopas played with the Kansas City Wizards from 1996 to 1998, then with the Fire until he retired in 2000.
- “I feel like throughout the season if you look at all the games that we’ve played, we’ve been a very competitive team,” Klopas said. “We have created opportunities in most of the games. I think it’s just about fine tuning small details.”
- The Fire saw their winless streak extended to nine games in the draw with San Jose, matching the club record set June 12-July 28, 2004.
- “One of the things we’ve got to do is keep things in perspective,” Fire captain Logan Pause said. “We had tons of change from last year in terms of player personnel and we’re still a young team. That’s not an excuse, we’re not a group of guys that makes excuses, but there are going to be growing pains.”
- The Fire have allowed six of their 19 goals directly from set pieces, after allowing a corner kick to San Jose – that total is most in MLS.
- “We have conceded many goals through set pieces. Obviously, some mistakes have been made through the run of play, but that is a part of it. Sometimes you have players that are gelling together. But, if you look at set piece situations it connects with the goals we’ve given up,” Klopas said. “I think there are times on the field when the team gets stretched and that makes it easier for people to play through us. It is very important for us to stay compact when we attack.”
- Cristian Nazarit made his MLS debut for the Fire and nearly scored his first goal, cracking a shot that hit both posts and rolled across the goal line before Dominic Oduro tapped it in for the Fire’s opener.
- Sean Johnson also made a return to the Fire lineup, playing in goal in a league match for the first time since April 14.
- “Now guys are going to work harder to try and look for a spot in the starting 11,” Gonzalo Segares said. “Maybe some guys feel that they didn’t get an opportunity under Carlos and I’m sure that the guys that felt that way are going to try harder to show that they belong in the starting 11.
- Cory Gibbs scored his second MLS goal in 84 league appearances, his first coming in 2008 with the Colorado Rapids. "It's just one of those things," Gibbs said. "I've been on myself the last couple weeks for missing my chances. I said if I had a chance I was going to throw my body into it."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC once again ended a long home unbeaten run, defeating Real Salt Lake 2-1 on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Sounders FC have 20 points from 14 games on the season, sitting in third place in the Western Conference.
- The match turned just before the hour mark, when RSL defender Jamison Olave was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Kadlecik after bringing down Sounders FC striker Mike Fucito.
- Seattle capitalized in the 72nd minute. Nate Jaqua knocked down a corner onto the foot of Fredy Montero, who slipped to defender Patrick Ianni and he easily finished from almost on the goal line.
- Sounders FC then doubled the lead in the 84th minute as Lamar Neagle received the ball near the edge of the
- 18-yard box and curled in a stunning shot over RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando and off the underside of the bar.
- RSL pulled one back just four minutes later when Nelson Gonzalez received a throw-in in the box, turned a defender and ran towards the middle of the area, striking a left-footer past Kasey Keller.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made five changes to the team that fell 1-0 to FC Dallas at Qwest Field.
- James Riley, Patrick Ianni and Tyson Wahl came into the back four for Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans started in midfield for Mauro Rosales, and Nate Jaqua replaced Fredy Montero up top.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller – James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl – Osvaldo Alonso – Brad Evans, Erik Friberg (Roger Levesque 80), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 18) – Mike Fucito (Fredy Montero 70), Nate Jaqua.
- Sounders FC have ended the two longest home unbeaten streaks in MLS history, after winning 2-1 at Real Salt Lake. Seattle also put an end to the Columbus Crew’s 22-game home unbeaten run, then the longest in league history, in a 1-0 victory Oct. 3, 2009 at Crew Stadium.
- “It is something we’re proud of and something we talked about before the game,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “We wanted to try and be the team that ended the streak, and it was something that was a goal for us as we went into the game.”
- Sounders FC were able to hold on for the win after conceding a late goal; three times this season after scoring first they’ve lost points (eight times in all) – tied for the most in the league.
- "We came close to doing that again, but being able to hold on was good. We didn't make it easy on ourselves," said Schmid. Added goalkeeper Kasey Keller: "We did everything we could to try and throw it away, but we didn't."
- A native of nearby Federal Way, Wash., Lamar Neagle scored his first professional goal. "You always remember your first goal. It was definitely nice. I've had a couple in the Reserve League, but not like that," Neagle said.
- The stint was the longest of Neagle’s career, coming on for 72 minutes for Alvaro Fernandez. Fernandez had suffered a hamstring strain during warmups yet said he could play, but had to come off early in the match. All six of Neagle’s appearances have been as a substitute.
- "Lamar's goal was incredible," said defender Patrick Ianni. "It's good for him to get that, a good confidence boost for him. He's a player that hits those in practice – I can actually say that."
- After seven consecutive starts following three games out of the lineup, Fredy Montero came off the bench for the final 20 minutes of the game.
- "Sometimes looking at it from the bench opens up your perspective," said Schmid. Said Montero: "I just have to grit my teeth and support the team. ... We're all human beings; we're not perfect."