It goes final at Sounders 2, Chicago 1 ... and the key to the second half were three brilliant Kasey Keller saves that made the thing stand up.
The Sounders now stand at 1-2-2 after their first win of the season. They'll have to improve on their five-points-in-five-games pace, of course. But they have looked pretty solid over their last three matches and very dangerous for long stretches today.
Here's the overview from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid:
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“Obviously, we’re happy to win. We didn’t make it easy on ourselves in the second half, but we got some great saves; Kasey Keller made some big time saves for us. Sometimes when you’re trying to grind out that first win, sometimes you need a little of that going your way. I thought in the first half we played well. The two goals we scored I thought were good and we should have probably had a third on Eric Friberg’s opportunity there, and I thought the goal we gave up was a little soft right after we scored the first goal. That’s something we need to do better on. A win’s a win. We got three points and get that monkey off our back a little bit, and now we can move forward and start to concentrate on Philadelphia.”
... and from Chicago coach Carlos de los Cobos:
“This was a very difficult match, but I’m very satisfied with my team. I think the team played good and I think we had a very good second half. The best player today was Seattle’s goalkeeper (Kasey Keller). My players had a very good effort and we had some really good moments on the pitch. We had two mistakes and they took advantage of this. We had some chances to score and we couldn’t come away with more goals. The most important thing to take away is the attitude of the group and players. I like my team because they are showing the evolution our team is having this season.”
Chicago falls to 1-1-1 and remains winless all-time against Seattle.
The unofficial box score:
SEA -- O'Brian White 2 (Mauro Rosales 2) 7
CHI -- Diego Chaves 3 (Patrick Nyarko 1, Gaston Puerari 1) 8
SEA -- Steve Zakuani 2 (O'Brian White 1) 25
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 Puerari, Diego Chaves.
Substitutes Not Used: Yamith Cuesta, Marko Maric, Dan Paladini, Davis Paul, Jon Conway.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (3 tied with 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Diego Chaves 2); FOULS: 10 (4 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 2 (Marco Pappa 1, Dasan Robinson 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Marco Pappa 2, Gaston Puerari 2); SAVES: 2 (Sean Johnson 2)
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 64), Erik Friberg, O'Brian White (Servando Carrasco 81), Steve Zakuani.
Substitutes Not Used: Alvaro Fernandez, Patrick Ianni, Lamar Neagle, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Osvaldo Alonso 3, Steve Zakuani 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1); FOULS: 16 (3 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (O'Brian White 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Erik Friberg 3); SAVES: 4 (Kasey Keller 4)
SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Tackle) 32
SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 47+
CHI -- Dasan Robinson (caution; Reckless Foul) 71
SEA -- Servando Carrasco (caution; Reckless Tackle) 90
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants:-Fabio Tovar; Cameron Blair
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-52-degrees
Second half: Has begun ... no substitutions.
Halftime: Sounders up, 2-1. Extremely entertaining first half with Sounders regularly looking dangerous ... to Chicago and themselves.
Shots 6-1 Seattle; shots on goal, 3-2 seattle; corners, 4-0 seattle; fouls 8-6 seattle.
24th minute: Seattle goes ahead, 2-1. Zakauni makes a nice run down the left side, turns it into the area, and beats Sean Johnson to the near post.
Eighth minute: Chicago answers instantly -- and from around the same spot on the field as Jeff Parke tumbles and Diego Chaves finishes. 1-1.
Seventh minute: Sounders, 1-0. Rosales crossed into the box, where O'Brian White heads it home from around the penalty spot.
Kickoff: We're under way. Sun peeking out. Breeze apparently died down a bit. Fire in red/red; Sounders in rave/blue. Pretty good dotting of empty seats at kickoff.
Sounders lineup: Very interesting lineup for Sounders today -- a 4-3-3 with Hurtado returning to the starting lineup -- GK, Keller; D RIley, Parke, Hurtado, Gonzalez; M Evans, Alonso, Rosales; F Friberg, White, Zakuani.
Reserves: Boss, Carrasco, Fernandez, Ianni. Jaqua, Neagle, Scott.
Chicago lineup: The Fire just tweeted this lineup:Johnson; Anibaba, Robinson, Gibbs, Segares; Nyarko, Videira, Pause, Pappa; Chaves, Puerari.
It's a cloudy morning at Qwest Field. And we're counting down for a game far bigger than I could have expected an early season Sounders-Fire game to be. Seattle is still looking for its first win of a season four games old. And with their next two on the road -- Philadelphia and Colorado, respectively -- it feels important that they get it. Chances aren't the point today. It feels like they need a win or we're going to start seeing even more changes than we already have.
Details: 1 p.m. kick; game on KING 5 and usual radio outlets.
And, of course, we'll keep this post open all day ... and we're sure hoping for the terrific pregame, in-game, and postgame discussion that we've had over the past couple of seasons. I'll also have more regular in-game notes on the doruiztnt Twitter account linked to at left.
Meanwhile, here's a game preview from the Chicago Sun-Times ... and another from ESPNChicago. And here's the preview from today's TNT, which is really more of a stroll down memory lane to the Sounders-Cosmos game that was the first game played in the Kingdome, 35 years ago today.