By: Karen Watson
SEATTLE – The Qwest Field confetti canon finally got a work out as the Sounders remained unbeaten against the Chicago Fire in a 2-1 victory while also picking up a valuable three points for the first time this season.
Previous to today, Seattle remained winless in their last eight games all the way back to October 15 whereas Chicago were looking to remain unbeaten in the opening weeks of the season. Since last season the Fire picked up sixteen new players including a trio of international players who have provided all of the team’s goals thus far, Guatemalan Marco Pappa and Uruguayans Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari.
Although the Fire displayed much crisper and controlled passing in the opening minutes, Seattle forward O’Brien White started the scoring off early with a gorgeous header in the 7’ from a sweet flick sent in by former River Plate player Mauro Rosales. Rosales was later subbed in the 64’ by Nate Jaqua but the newest Sounder was in great form, providing mobility/creativity thru midfield and giving terrific service to White and Steve Zakuani.
The lead was short lived however as Chicago immediately answered in the 8’ with a goal from Chaves who neatly dodged defender Jeff Parke, gliding a ball right past Sounders keeper Kasey Keller. Parke later took a ball directly to face off a Michael Vidiera free kick in the second half, requiring on field treatment, but he was able to finish out the match.
But Seattle pulled ahead in the 25’ with a goal from Zakuani who made a great run, crossing the ball diagonally across the front of goal and burying it in the back corner. Designated player Fredy Montero was still sidelined from wrist surgery, leaving White and Zakuani to do the job up front and it proved to be a fruitful partnership. With Montero goalless in his last fifteen appearances, today’s performance by the Sounders almost begs the question, “Fredy who?”
Man of the Match Keller made several impressive saves in the second half, protecting the Sounders precious win and bringing high praise from Coach Sigi Schmid. “That was Kasey Keller from his prime. He was world class and those three saves were big time.” Another Chaves shot in the 59’ and shortly after in the 61’ a Puerari breakaway caused some anxiety before Keller punched the ball away. And finally in the 66’ Pappa almost capitalized on a poor clearance from the Seattle defense but again Keller shut down the chance.
Zakuani had a chance to make 3-1 in the 75’ off a run from 40 yards out, but the ball sliced to the right off the bounce.
Schmid summed up after the game, “Would I classify this as our best game, yes, because we got three points. Technically was it our best game, maybe not. But the talk coming in was can we score goals, and now we have five goals in the last two games.”