Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sounders finally get their first win of the season, 2-1 over the Chicago Fire

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders, after a rough first 4 games with the season with 2 losses and 2 draws, find an answer to all critics and defeat the Chicago Fire 2-1 in front 36,233 at Qwest Field. With Fredy Montero missing the second straight match after having surgery on his right wrist, Sigi Schmid went with a 4-3-3 formation with O'Brian White partnering up with Steve Zakuani and Mauro Rosales.

In the 7th minute, the Sounders get on the board first. Mauro Rosales sends in a bender into the top of the area and O'Brian White's thumping header from 16-yard beats goalkeeper Sean Johnson who had a terrible jump on that play, thinking that it was gonna be an easy save. It was White's second goal in as many matches. Did I mention earlier this season he was gonna have a breakout year? He came from Toronto where he scored 2 goals in 9 appearances in 2009 and 2 goals in 24 appearances in 2010. He's played in all 5 matches so far and already has 2 goals.

A minute later, Chicago would pick one back. Leo Gonzalez got caught on a give-and-go between Patrick Nyarko and Gaston Puerari. After received the pass from Nyarko, Puerari sent Nyarko away down the right hand side, and the Ghanaian used his speed to get around Gonzalez and send a driven cross into the penalty area for Diego Chaves for an easy tap in to quickly tie the match up at a goal a piece. With that goal, Chaves also became the first Chicago Fire player to score in his first three games.

In the 23rd minute, Sounders had what I believe is their biggest opportunity by far this season. Leo Gonzalez sent in a chip into the penalty area aiming for Rosales, Sean Johnson came out to try to clear, but Rosales got a head on it and Johnson was dead meat but Erik Friberg failed to take advantage of the opportunity as his touch sailed over the bar. He couldn't get a better chance to score his first Sounders goal. But the Sounders would continue to dominate and this time they got a goal two minutes later.

In minute 25, Osvaldo Alonso started the attack by intercepting a pass and playing it out wide to Steve Zakuani who took on Jalil Anibaba. After a give-and-go with O'Brian White, Zakuani got around Anibaba and instead of squaring it to Erik Friberg, he went for goal alone and slotted it past Johnson for his second goal of the season.

Seattle had another opportunity to go up 3-1 from the corner when Mauro Rosales's out swinger found Jeff Parke at the near post, but his header fell straight to the hands of Sean Johnson.

In the Second half, Kasey Keller came up huge on a couple of Chicago Fire opportunities. In the 59th minute, Marco Pappa's free kick hit the wall, James Riley's attempted clearance failed and Diego Chaves had a golden opportunity to take advantage of it but Keller went down and denied a potential equalizing goal. Two minutes later, Chaves's through ball found Gaston Puarari who beat Jhon Kennedy Hurtado but couldn't beat Keller as he made a kick-save to stop Chicago yet again.

In the 75th minute the Chicago Fire got caught on a counter attack, Nate Jaqua's long ball sent Steve Zakuani off to the races, took on Logan Pause. He cut to his left foot and ripped a shot wide as he was aiming for the far corner. With about 5 minutes to go, Nate Jaqua found Servando Carrasco overlapping on the right. Carrasco had a chance to put the game out of reach, but again, no luck. That was just about the last opportunity of the game. With those opportunities the Fire had in the second half, the Sounders could've ended up with a draw or maybe even a loss if Kasey Keller hadn't made those saves, but good or bad, the only thing that counts is the Sounders winning their first match of the year 2-1.

It was really fun catching this match in person, I had pretty good seats, the atmosphere was fantastic, everyone standing for 90 minutes. I mean, ever since November 2007 when they announced that Seattle was going to join MLS, the fan base has just kept on rising. Before then, soccer wasn't really as big in Seattle as it is now, and I hope that doesn't change at all and that the fans continue to attend these matches and Give their full 90'. This is the 2nd match I've seen since they joined MLS. I didn't go to a game in 2009. I went to one last season when Colorado came to town, that one also resulted in a 2-1 win, but I think I enjoyed this match more than the Colorado one. This one was an early season game, the Colorado match was late in the season.

Scoring summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - O'Brian White (Mauro Rosales) 7'

Chicago Fire - Diego Chaves (Patrick Nyarko, Gaston Puarari) 8'

Seattle Sounders FC - Steve Zakuani (O'Brian White) 25'

Misconduct summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - James Riley (caution; Reckless tackle) 32'

Seattle Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Reckless tackle) 47+'

Chicago Fire - Dasan Robinson (caution; Reckless foul) 71'

Starting lineups:

Chicago Fire - Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Dasan Robinson, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares (Dominic Oduro 83'); Logan Pause, Marco Pappa, Michael Videira, Patrick Nyarko (Orr Barouch 90'); Gaston Puarari, Diego Chaves

Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leonardo Gonzalez; Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 64'); Erik Friberg, O'Brian White (Servando Carrasco 81'), Steve Zakuani

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