The Chicago Fire suffered their first loss of the season Saturday afternoon and it happened at the feet of the Seattle Sounders. The final score was 2-1 with goals coming from O'Brian White ('7) and Steve Zakuani ('25) for Seattle and Diego Chaves ( '8) for Chicago. O'Brian White picked up an assist on Zakuani's goal and Mauro Rosales hard a great cross to White on the header. Patrick Nyarko assisted Chaves after Gaston Puerari feed Nyarko with a creative touch. Both Nyarko and Puerari were credited with assists.
Keep reading for the keys of the game.
Matchups where we lost the game
There was a lot of talk about how Jalil Anibaba would handle Steve Zakuani before the game and the end result was not well. Dasan Robinson started next to Anibaba in the place of the injured Josip Mikulic. You have to wonder if Mikulic's faster pace would have helped Anibaba more. Mikulic did not travel with the team so he should miss the Portland game too unless they get him on a flight right now... I wouldn't rule it out. Portland should be an easier challenge. We might also see Yamith Cuesta start in Robinson's place on Thursday.
Sean Johnson vs. Kasey Keller was decidedly in the favor of the veteran for Seattle. On Rosales' cross to White in the seventh minute, I was taken aback by the angle White got on the ball with his head. It seemed to deceive Johnson as well. Johnson was very slow to react, almost like he thought the ball would harmlessly go out of bounds. Instead it had a wicked spin and curled into the net.
On Zakuani's goal, Johnson didn't even get a touch on the ball as the Congolese winger glided into the box. Credit goes to both Seattle goalscorers as their chances required a lot of skill but were both preventable. Keller on the other hand had a couple of crucial stops, especially in the second half. Pappa, Chaves, and Puerari each had a chance today where Keller saved the ball and left you cringing like 'That was the one'. Johnson had a couple of strong saves too but Seattle's Erik Friberg had an empty net opportunity that will go down as a miss of the season nominee. Friberg's uncapitalized chance started when Johnson went out to try and punch a cross away. Instead, Rosales headed the ball and Friberg was closest to it. Johnson coming out on crosses and then almost getting burned is starting to happen at least once a game. You know what they say about it only being a matter of time when you play with fire.
The game itself was encouraging as Chaves became the first Fire player to ever score a goal in each of his first three MLS appearances. He and Gaston Puerari continue to give the opposition fits. Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause and Mike Videira continue to make up a solid midfield. Nyarko might be out for quite awhile thanks to a terrible challenge by Seattle rookie Servando Carrasco. His cleat went right into Nyarko's shin guard. I've read that Carrasco went up to Nyarko right after the game to apologize but Seattle's trip to Toyota Park on June 4 could have a bit of extra drama to it. It might be time for our enforcer Gonzalo Segares to take some action or perhaps he can starting training Jalil Anibaba or even Dais Paul to be the next generation. Interestingly enough, Davis Paul was college teammates with Carrasco. Carrasco is probably in the 'For Ur Love' video somewhere... If the Fire use their last roster spot for someone, let it be for some more backline depth. The pairing of Robinson and Anibaba on the right left much to be desired. Segares and Gibbs continue to look good. If Mikulic is going to be out for quite sometime and CDLC seems to have lost all confidence in Kwame Waston-Siriboe, let's bring in someone else to patch up the back.
This game was on the road and could have been some points for us if Keller was a little slower. The Portland Timbers on Thursday provides a better prospect for a win. Our own Merwin Mixdorf should be following with a more detailed recap and be on the look out for Dave Wilson's player ratings in the next day or two. The beat rolls on Chicago...