With the epic U.S. Open Cup Final slated for tomorrow, I thought it might be a good idea to give a quick rundown of the brief history between the two teams. Although the Fire have tied the Sounders, Chicago has yet to actually defeat Seattle in a match. What better time for that to happen than tomorrow night? Follow me after the break for a rundown of all the match-ups between these two teams.
-The 2nd leg of 2009 saw a scoreless 0-0 draw on July 25th, 2009. John Thorrington and Freddie Ljungberg both drew red after yellow card accumulation. Ljungberg was still in Rave Green of course.
-The first meeting of 2010 (August 28th) was classic 2010 Chicago Fire soccer. Either lead or be tied and then give away a late goal. John Thorrington opened scoring in the 28th minute on a penalty kick in front of a large Seattle crowd. Freddy Montero would bring the Sounders back level in the 36th minute. Montero would notch a brace with the winner in the 90th minute for a tough loss to swallow for Chicago fans.
-With the Fire looking for revenge at Toyota Park on September 25th 2010, they would let in another late stunner. Blaise Nkufo was the culprit in that match, with a game winning tally in the 89th minute.
-The Fire, despite a massive number of changes in the offseason, hoped 2011 would fare better than the previous two seasons. Their first shot at the duct tape came on April 9th, 2011. Unfortunately for the Fire, the result would be the same. O'Brian White opened scoring in the 7th minute. Newcomer Diego Chaves answered right away in the 8th minute to equalize. Steve Zakuani put the Sounders on top with a goal in the 25th minute, and the 2-1 scoreline held up.
-June 4th, 2011 saw the rematch at Toyota Park. It would end in a 0-0 draw in a fairly uneventful match. Only five of the 11 Chicago starters project to start tomorrow while Seattle's lineup looked very similar to what Chicago should see tomorrow night.
I should also note that the Fire played the Sounders in a preseason friendly on February 26th, 2011. I did not include it in the list of matchups because, let's be honest, it's a friendly.
Although the Fire have struggled so far during the Sounders short MLS history, there is not a better time than now to end the slump. We are peaking at the right time, making a hard playoff push and looking like a very dangerous side. For the first time in a long time Chicago features a dangerous striker in Dominic Oduro. Marco Pappa is looking good of late, and our back line has really solidified. Sean Johnson is looking like the stellar goalkeeper we all know he can be. And newcomers Pavel Pardo and Sebastian Grazzini (health status up in the air aside) have seemed to nudge the Fire over the top. Whatever happens, I can't wait for tomorrow. Winning a record 5th Open Cup is always nice, but to do it against the team I hate the most would be the icing on the cake. Let's do this for the first time (beat Seattle). Let's do this again (win the U.S. Open Cup). Let's go Men in Red!