CHICAGO FIRE vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
June 7, 2014 (WEEK 14, MLS Game #131)
7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; JOEtv)
A huge test awaits the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening when they welcome Seattle Sounders FC to Toyota Park. Sounders FC hold the league’s best record, coming off the first defeat of the season of Real Salt Lake in a 4-0 win at CenturyLink Field. The Fire return home off a second consecutive draw, playing to a scoreless result at the Colorado Rapids at midweek.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 53 games; FC/gm: 23.1; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 14; pens: 17
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Mike Magee … SEA: Osvaldo Alonso
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Quincy Amarikwa … SEA: Gonzalo Pineda
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: SEA: Clint Dempsey, DeAndre Yedlin (USA)
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Fire 0 wins, 5 goals … Sounders FC 5 wins, 10 goals … Ties 3
AT CHICAGO (4 meetings): Fire 0 wins, 2 goals … Sounders FC 2 wins, 4 goals … Ties 2
LAST YEAR (MLS):
9/7: SEA 2, CHI 1 (Neagle 40; own goal 89 – Magee 25)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- Sounders FC have never lost to the Fire in eight meetings all-time in league play. Seattle has won five, including a 2-1 win last Sept. 7 at CenturyLink Field in the only meeting of 2013; the teams have played to three draws.
- Sounders FC also won the 2011 U.S. Open Cup Final between the clubs.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. CHI: P33 W16 L8 T9 … Frank Yallop vs. SEA: P12 W6 L5 T1
The Chicago Fire played to their second consecutive draw, reaching a scoreless result with the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Fire are in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 13 games.
- Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was called upon to make two saves in the match, including a late stop on substitute Deshorn Brown to keep the scores level.
- Rapids goalkeeper John Berner, making his first start since the third match of the season, was not required to make a single save.
- Fire head coach Frank Yallop made five changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. Steven Kinney and Greg Cochrane came into the back four for Lovel Palmer and Gonzalo Segares, Matt Watson and Benji Joya came into the midfield for Harry Shipp and Dilly Duka, and Juan Luis Anangono started up top for Quincy Amarikwa.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-1-1): Sean Johnson - Steven Kinney (Lovel Palmer 46), Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Grant Ward, Chris Ritter, Jeff Larentowicz, Matt Watson (Quincy Amarikwa 82) - Benji Joya (Harry Shipp 62) - Juan Luis Anangono.
- The Fire recorded their first clean sheet of the season in the scoreless draw in Colorado, after 13 league matches. Only Chivas USA still have yet to record a defensive shutout this season.
- “I think it was very important for us to get a shutout, especially in a tough game on the road in a tough stretch with three games. Coming off a Sunday game, it’s not easy to play and then travel, especially at altitude, so it was really important for us,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “I’m happy for everybody, not just the defenders in front of me but all the guys on the field that worked over 90 minutes to grind.”
- “[Johnson has] been good. He’s still a young goalkeeper. He’s only just turned 25. He’s played a lot of matches but he’s still a young man. He’s been very good this season. He’s kept us in games at times. Tonight was no different, so it was good,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said.
- It was a fourth consecutive game where the Fire have not scored from run of play. Their last three goals have come from penalty kicks; the Fire last scored a goal from open play on May 10, in their 5-4 win vs. New York.
- “The cohesion is not there exactly. It’s a fairly new system that we started this week to try to get us more solid in the middle of the field,” said midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. “All in all, it’s the first shutout of the year, it’s a point on the road, and we’ll move onto the game on Saturday.”
- With Harry Shipp on the substitutes’ bench for the first time since the season opener on March 8, when the rookie did not feature, Matt Watson made his first start since April 5.
- “I think in the first half we struggled to keep the ball, especially through the middle. It was tough for Jeff [Larentowicz] to get the ball and kind of face up and play. Partly cause they were trying to clog the middle, partly cause we really didn’t try to play,” said Shipp. “I think it was trying to find those pockets underneath. I think most of the times I touched the ball, it was off a long ball that just fortunately fell to me, which isn’t ideal. It’s not how we want to play, but it’s just kind of how it was at the end of this game.”
- Quincy Amarikwa also came off the substitutes’ bench for the first time since the season opener; he has missed only one match this season (suspended for the May 3 match vs. Real Salt Lake).
- “We’ve got a game Wednesday and we’ve got a game Saturday. We’re both eyeing the same thing. We can’t go 90 minutes with all of our gunner guys,” said Yallop. “And that makes it a little disjointed when the teams haven’t played together and we have a few starters who are actually tired in the end of the game.”
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC won their fifth consecutive match at home, rolling to a 4-0 victory against previously undefeated Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in first place in the Western Conference with 29 points from 14 games.
- Sounders FC took the lead in the 42nd minute. After Lamar Neagle was bundled over in the box while chasing down a loose ball, referee Ricardo Salazar awarded a penalty kick. For the second straight game, Gonzalo Pineda took the kick, blasting his shot into the side netting despite RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella guessing the right way.
- Just seven minutes after halftime, the lead was doubled when Marco Pappa curled in a beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out, bending his shot over the wall and just inside the near post.
- The Sounders put the match away in the 62nd minute when Chad Barrett finished off a quick counterattack by sweeping home a shot inside the area, and they put the game away during stoppage time when Obafemi Martins tapped in a Kenny Cooper cross at the left post.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Brad Evans and Chad Marshall came into the back four for Jalil Anibaba and Djimi Traore, and Lamar Neagle came in for Kenny Cooper.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez - Lamar Neagle (Dylan Remick 75), Gonzalo Pineda (Andy Rose 90), Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa - Chad Barrett (Kenny Cooper 67), Obafemi Martins.
- Sounders FC have won five consecutive games at CenturyLink Field, tied for the second-longest home winning streak in the club’s MLS history. They won six in a row at home last year.
- “That was one of the things we've been working on-defensively playing a little bit better. Once it was 3-0 they had a few chances at that point, but we also had some chances to score some more,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “I was pleased with the team's effort and pleased with the commitment to the game.”
- Marco Pappa scored his first MLS goal since 2012, when he was with the Chicago Fire, netting a perfectly-placed free kick. It was the third goal Pappa has scored directly from a free kick in his MLS career, the last in 2011, with Chicago.
- “When I shoot it I want to put it in the net for sure. Scoring my first goal I felt a lot of confidence, which is a good thing,” said Pappa. “… It means a lot for me because it has been a while since I scored goal because of what happened to me in the past but now I'm living in the present and I'm feeling better and better and also the team is looking good. We're still in first place and now we have to keep that going.”
- “I thought Marco Pappa had a very good game today,” Schmid said. “I thought he was excellent and he helped us with those passes in the midfield. I thought we were disjointed at times in the first half when were a little too direct, but in the second half it got a lot better.”
- It was a second clean sheet in three matches for Sounders FC, who had gone eight games without a defensive shutout before the home win vs. San Jose on May 17.
- “It was just a matter of figuring it out,” Sounders center back Chad Marshall said. “I don’t think it’s one thing where all of a sudden you’re getting clean sheets. It’s myriad things. I thought we did put it together this weekend.”
- Chad Barrett has goals in back-to-back games, his first consecutive games with goals in MLS since Sept. 24-Oct. 1, 2011.
- “I thought Barrett did well and I thought [Kenny] Cooper did well. Barrett got a goal and he was running early I talked to him to put more pressure on the ball so they couldn't build as easily, and he did a great job at that,” said Schmid. “When he came out and I thought Kenny played very well also. When you get those kind of shifts it's a good thing.”
- Gonzalo Pineda converted a penalty kick for the second consecutive game, giving him two goals and four assists on the season.
- After making first eight appearances – six as a starter – as a fullback, Dylan Remick played the final quarter-hour on the left side of midfield.
- “We took (Dylan) Remick and put him at left midfield. We can take guys and put them at different positions and they will do what we need them to do in that particular game for us to be successful,” Schmid said. “I am very pleased with our depth-it's what we expect-but I am very pleased with our commitment to the game.”