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That Old Familiar Feeling: Chicago Fire 2, Seattle Sounders 4, MLS Game Recap

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Despite flashes of a second-half fightback, the Fire put in an overall dismal performance and implode at home against the Sounders

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Fire 2 Edwards 56’, Herbers 84’

Seattle Sounders 4 Rodriguez 8’, Morris 15’, Lodeiro 49’ (PK), Ruidíaz 88’

There’s always a point in the season when the honeymoon comes to a screeching halt. A point at which you realize this team isn’t going to get it together. That our collective opening day optimism was, however well-intentioned, misplaced. From there, it’s crossing our fingers and we don’t sink too far. Then we sink too far, and we start counting down to the end of the season.

We knew this honeymoon break was coming. But, and maybe it’s just me, Week 3 seems... a bit soon.

So I was fine with the lineup, apart from Katai not being in the Gameday 18 at all.

This? This here bothered me.

I like Mo Adams a lot. I think he’s going to be an important part of the future of the team. Banishing him to Memphis— Memphis!— doesn’t strike me as good for his development.

Anyway, we definitely could’ve used Mo Adams today. Some sloppy defending gave Seattle too much early confidence, and it didn’t take them long to take advantage. Jordan Morris fed Victor Rodriguez for the opening goal for the visitors in the 8th minute.

Not long after, Morris got a goal for himself, doubling the lead in the 15th minute.

Things were getting really bad really quickly. Every defensive frailty Fire fans have been worried about was on full display today, and the Sounders were well-equipped to take advantage. Bastian Schweinsteiger dropped back to try and shore up the backline. Within minutes, Morris nearly made it 0-3. The Fire were poor in exactly the ways we thought they might be but hoped and prayed they wouldn’t.

The Sounders almost made it 0-3 again on 26’ when Kevin Leerdam is played right through the middle, finds the back of the net, but is flagged offside. It was fairly typical for these teams all day: Chicago would give too much space and move too slowly, and Seattle would rip them apart.

Nico Hasler had to come off after half an hour, because things weren’t terrible enough. Nice seeing Raheem Edwards back in the team, but what an awful day to return.

The Fire had a few isolated promising moments— Djordje Mihailovic and Przemysław Frankowski both forcing Stefan Frei into clutch saves in the first half— but that’s all they were. Moments that led to nothing. The Fire went into halftime thanking their lucky stars it was only 0-2.

Barely a minute into the second half, Seattle breaks through again and unspools the Fire’s tattered defense— now organized in a 3-5-2 formation— further. Ruidiaz’ last-second whiff was the only thing keeping the score at 0-2.

But the visitors didn’t have to wait long for that third goal— Marcelo tripped Rodriguez in the box (having literally just dropped Basti on his ass) and conceded a penalty. Nicolás Lodeiro’s panenka attempt— because Seattle can’t ever resist the opportunity to flex on scrubs— hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the line. 0-3.

The Fire did show a faint sign of life on 56’. Sapong, using some nice footwork to deflect two defenders on the edge of the box, sent in a cross that Edwards managed to fly onto. His header caught Frei flat-footed. 1-3.

But for the most part, that’s all it seemed. Faint signs. If there was an epic comeback in the cards, it was hard to see. Particularly after Niko was taken off. Which, uh...

In fairness, his replacement made good on the opportunity. Fabian Herbers found the back of the net on 84’, scoring his first goal in Fire Red and pulling the good guys to within one goal.

But whatever momentum they might’ve gained from that goal didn’t last long. Raúl Ruidíaz managed to beat David Ousted— who had rushed well off his line— and dropped Basti on his butt (sensing a theme here?) to slot into an empty net. 2-4.

And that was that. For all the promise, for all the optimism, for all the hoping against hope that maybe this team was finally getting its shit together, the Fire now have one (1) point from their first three games. You can blame it on a weak backline. You can blame it on not doing well in March. You can blame it on any number of factors. The takeaway is the same: it’s just not good enough.

The Chicago Fire (0-1-2, 1pt) are off next weekend due to the international break. They’re back at it in front of the home fans in two weeks when they take on the Red Bulls.