Sounders Insider

Schmid says Fire a bit of a mystery

Here's some of what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say today as his team continued training for its match at Chicago on Saturday.

On Chicago Fire) “Obviously right now you don’t know what’s going to happen with Frank Klopas there. Are they going to change systems? Are they going to change some personnel decisions? […] [Marco] Pappa not being there this weekend I think hurts them a little bit. He’s an important player. He will be with Guatemala and he’s been an important player. [Diego] Chaves has played quite well for them. He’s been dangerous and I thought he was good in the last game as well up front. [Dominic] Oduro is someone who always poses problems just because of his speed. I don’t know if [Patrick] Nyarko will be back yet. He’s another one who with his speed poses problems. And [Cristian] Nazarit, the new player, looked like a young player who’s a handful, definitely battled and he has some good size and he was able to hold onto the ball as well for them. So they have those kinds of personnel who can cause problems. [Gonzalo] Segares is still a good attacking left back. So there’s weapons that they have. It’s not like they’ve been beaten in games they’ve played. They haven’t gotten results real well but they haven’t been like thrashed in any of the games.”

On Sounders' team identity) “Our guys have always walked on the field and played with their hearts on their sleeves and have battled for this club and are very respectful of the Sounders emblem and what it means and what it means to play for this club. I never wanted to really question that. I think what we are looking for is that edge, if you want to call it that, that little gruff exterior that sometimes a grizzled veteran team has, that belief that we can win in a difficult situation, that belief that we can win on a not so good a day, that belief that we can pull one out here or we’ll do what is necessary on this day.”

On Alvaro Fernandez's hamstring) “He was much better today. He was able to do a lot more stuff. He is still probably questionable for the weekend. We’ll have a better read on it tomorrow.”

On heat and rain predicted for game in Chicago) “It’s one of the reasons I decided to go a day earlier. Last year we went to Chicago the day before the game. (Leaving Thursday) allows us to train in it for at least a day so we can maybe get [it] out of our system a day early than have it be the day of the game.”

Meanwhile, some other Sounders-Fire basics from the club:

Another opportunity to reinforce their reputation as road warriors awaits Seattle Sounders FC this weekend with a trip to the Windy City. The Rave Green aim to sweep their season series with the Chicago Fire on Saturday night. First kick is 5:30 p.m. PT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. The match will be televised live on KONG 6/16 and ROOT Sports.

Although nothing has come easily for Sounders FC (5-4-5, 20 points) they have battled their way to the third-highest point total in MLS. After a slow start they have gone 5-2-3 in the last 10 games, a run that began with the first meeting with the Fire (1-4-6, 9 points).

The first victory of the season for Seattle was a 2-1 decision over Chicago on April 9. Since then Sounders FC have withstood a series of injuries and misfortune in climbing to third in the Western Conference with a sum that's sufficient to share the lead in the East.

Last week the Rave Green experienced both highs and lows, first dominating but dropping a 1-nil decision to FC Dallas at home, then rebounding three days later to beat Real Salt Lake, the most dominant home side in MLS, on their home turf, 2-1.

Meanwhile, Chicago has taken a divergent path, going winless in nine consecutive matches beginning with the loss to Seattle. After losing three in row the Fire have steadied a bit, drawing five of the last six, including a 2-2 result at home against San Jose last week. Beginning this week, they have a new man in charge. Chicago has replaced Carlos de los Cobos with technical director Frank Klopas for the remainder of the season.

Sounders FC are undefeated (3-0-2) against Chicago following wins in the last three meetings. All were one-goal margins and both games in 2010 were won in the dying minutes.

Seattle could face the Fire again in the U.S. Open Cup this summer. Chicago claimed a berth in the third round by winning a pair of play-in matches. Sounders FC begin defense of their back-to-back Open Cup titles in the final week of June.

Following this week's action, the Rave Green come home for three of their next four matches, starting with a June 11 Cascadia Cup encounter with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Arlo White will be back in the announcer's chair to call the play on KONG, ROOT Sports and 97.3 KIRO FM. The Spanish language radio broadcast is on La Gran D 99.3 FM.