There was a time when seeing Seattle next on the schedule meant an automatic downward revision of expectations. The Fire didn’t win a single game in their first nine against the Sounders, managing only three draws and six losses. To say nothing of the 2011 USOC Final— still something of a sore spot.
But, 2016 MLS Cup title notwithstanding, the Sounders have been on a bit of a downward trajectory in recent years. The Fire have won two of their last three meetings with Seattle. That, plus a bit of wind in the sails following their 1-0 win over Atlanta in the Cup on Wednesday and the Sounders’ dismal recent form, sees our boys head to Puget Sound feeling like they could make something happen.
Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Seattle Sounders: 0W-1D-40L, 3 GF / 7 GA, 1 pt out of 15
A win and a loss in their last two league games, plus getting bounced by lower league opposition in the USOC. Seattle’s league form is 2W-0D-4L in their last six MLS games. It’s a good time to face Seattle, is what I’m saying.
Sanchez; Corrales, Lillard, Campbell, Ramos; Schweinsteiger, McCarty, Bronico; Katai, Campos, Nikolic
Kappelhof’s suspended, so we have to go with other options at CB. It should be Lillard and Campbell as the center pairing, but knowing how Pauno like to throw out YOLO lineups, don’t be surprised if Katai ends up playing as a CB.
Bronico should keep grinding, although I wouldn’t mind seeing Mo Adams brought back in. (Especially if he can man-mark Lodeiro.) Solignac should get a rest and come on as a substitute. I’m not sure about starting Basti, but we’re still short on options at present, so if he’s healthy he should do the thing.
Keys To The Match
Score First: Pretty straightforward. Our record this season when we get the first goal is pretty solid. And seizing the initiative is going to be absolutely crucial at CenturyLink. Get that first goal however you can.
Nic It In The Bud: Seattle’s most important player right now is probably Nicolas Lodeiro. Their attack is more fluid and more productive when he’s in the team— 1.1 goals and 14.3 shots per game when he plays versus 0.3 goals and 9.7 shots per game when he doesn’t, per MLS. One of the Fire’s biggest priorities has to be finding a way to contain Lodeiro. If they can keep him from doing his thing, the Men In Red should have a much smoother path to a result.
Keep It Moving: The Fire managed to get a win in front of a sizable (and loud) Atlanta crowd on Wednesday. Whatever they did to tune out the atmosphere at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they’ll need to channel it again at CenturyLink. Even with the Sounders underperforming, the fans still manage to create an intimidating environment for visiting teams. Tune it out, keep it moving.
How To Watch
Can the Fire take advantage of Seattle’s slump? Let us know in the comments below!