After the deflating loss to Toronto FC, the Seattle Sounders need to find a way to pick up three points, albeit in Chicago, where the Fire are unbeaten this season.
We’ve often talked about the mental fortitude of the Seattle Sounders, i.e. their ability to come through in seemingly hopeless situations. The latest such example came in the recent comeback against the New England Revolution, which saw them salvage a point with three goals in the final 15 minutes.
The reason for mentioning this, is because the only reason you can find for the Sounders’ defeat last weekend versus Toronto FC, was due to overconfidence (not that Brian Schmetzer would have even remotely encouraged this). What other rationale is there for losing at home against a team minus Sebastian Giovinco and three other regular starters, no matter how much depth TFC has these days.
Regardless, the Sounders need to get back on track as soon as possible. Saying it’s early in the season only holds water for so long, especially as we are nearly one third of the way through the campaign.
Further, the Rave Green cannot count on another miraculous run similar to last season. That was essentially the exception rather than the rule.
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In theory, a game against the Chicago Fire is just what the Doctor ordered. After all, the Sounders have won four of their last five games against this weekend’s opponent.
However, this doesn’t appear to be the same Fire team which finished last year with the worst record in all of MLS – at least on their early performances. As things stand they are in a playoff spot, with a couple of games in hand on the two teams immediately above them.
Further, Veljko Paunović’s team are unbeaten at home this season, with three wins and a tie. The Sounders haven’t traveled well so far in 2017, with just five points out of a possible 15.
Fire striker Nemanja Nikolic will particularly need watching. He leads the team with six goals, including four strikes in four games at Toyota Park.
In terms of scoring, the Sounders have dominated possession this season, but need to be more clinical in front of goal. Making this task more difficult, is the fact the Fire have only conceded twice so far at home.
Jordy Delem is suspended for the trip to Chicago, but this is as a result of MLS acknowledging Osvaldo Alonso received a yellow card by mistake. In the grand scheme of things, Delem missing Saturday’s game is better than having an extra yellow against Alonso’s name.
The game should be an emotional occasion of sorts for Harry Shipp. who is originally from Illinois and started his MLS career in Chicago. Shipp was heartbroken when he was traded to Montreal, although you know he would love to score if he gets the chance.
In theory at least, the Sounders are the better team and should win. However, given this was the scenario last weekend, don’t except them to take anything for granted on Saturday.
What are you predicting for Saturday’s game in Chicago? What do you think the final outcome will be, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section.