Sounders Insider

Sounders going through final preparations for Fire

chicago_100Sounders training in Illinois today. So while news isn't breaking, here are some club notes on their 5:30 p.m. Saturday match against the Chicago Fire (the only MLS team never to have beaten the Sounders):

Series NotesSounders FC is unbeaten (5-0-3) in eight MLS meetings with Chicago, including a 2-0-2 record at Toyota Park. Seattle has won five of the previous six meetings (5-0-1), including its current two-match winning streak. Despite the discrepancy in wins and goals, the shooting has been relatively even with Seattle holding a slight advantage in shots (98-96) and shots on goal (33-30). Current Sounders FC midfielder Marco Pappa was previously the most lethal Chicago player in the series, as he is still the Fire's series leader in goals (2), shots (16) and shots on goal (7). Seattle has netted five goals in the final half hour against Chicago while the Fire has scored three of its five goals in the opening half hour.

About ChicagoWith seven draws in the first 12 matches this season, the Fire currently sit ninth in the Eastern Conference with 13 points (2-3-7) - 10 points behind first-place New England. Chicago is 1-1-4 at Toyota Park, most recently playing to a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy on Sunday and defeating Kansas City, 2-1, on May 18. The club is tied-seventh in MLS with 20 goals scored-including an even (9-9) goal differential at home-and has been fouled the sixth-most in MLS (173). From March 16-April 29, the Fire recorded six consecutive draws, the longest streak in MLS this season. Half of the team's 20 goals have been scored in the first 30 minutes of matches this season, while also conceding 10 of 22 goals in the final half hour.Fire NotablesQuincy Amarikwa leads new Head Coach Frank Yallop's attack with a career-high five goals this season, but the eight-year veteran has not scored since May 10. Defending MLS MVP Mike Magee is second with four goals in just eight starts, but suffered a calf injury and has not played for Chicago since scoring a brace in a 2-1 win over Kansas on May 18. Rookie Homegrown Player Harry Shipp leads the Fire with four assists to go along with three goals. The Notre Dame-product scored a hat trick and recorded an assist in a 5-4 win at New York on May 10. Veterans Jeff Larentowicz (three goals, two assists) and Patrick Nyarko (one goal, two assists) also provide support in the attack for Chicago, which has seen eight different players record a goal.

SEA/CHI ConnectionsSounders FC has several ties to the Chicago Fire. On January 15, Seattle acquired defender Jalil Anibaba, the eighth overall selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and a 2015 conditional third round SuperDraft pick from the Fire in exchange for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni and the 13th overall selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Anibaba started 93 of 96 appearances for Chicago over three seasons, including a league-high 34 starts in 2013. He has started three of five appearances this season for Sounders FC, recording one assist. Ianni and Hurtado were both on Seattle's inaugural team in 2009. Ianni registered 83 appearances in his five seasons with Sounders FC while Hurtado made 108 appearances. Hurtado has started all 12 games for Chicago this season, scoring one goal, and Ianni has started three of four appearances.

In addition to Anibaba, Sounders FC also acquired former Fire midfielder Marco Pappa in the offseason. Seattle used its No. 1 selection in the Allocation Ranking Order to acquire Pappa, who made 112 appearances with 26 goals and 16 assists for the Fire from 2008-12. Saturday's match will mark the first opportunity for all four players to play against their former team.