MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
(All times Eastern)
Chicago (10-10-5) at Seattle (13-8-4), 10 p.m.
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Seattle Sounders FC will aim to continue its
push toward the MLS Supporters' Shield on Saturday when the club welcomes the
Chicago Fire to CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders enter the match as the hottest team in the league having won six
of their last seven league matches to climb within five points of Real Salt
Lake for the Supporters' Shield lead.
Seattle faced several challenges in its last league game on Wednesday against
Chivas USA. The club was missing several key players as forwards Clint Dempsey
and Eddie Johnson missed the match due to international duty with the United
States, striker Obafemi Martins was unavailable due to injury and defender Leo
Gonzalez missed the game due to suspension.
Despite being without their marquee attackers, the Sounders were on the front
foot for most of the match against the Goats and collected the only goal of
the night in the 24th minute via a well-executed set piece.
Defender Marc Burch whipped a free kick into the box and Lamar Neagle got free
to finish past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy with an acrobatic strike.
"It doesn't matter who's on the field. We have 25 guys healthy right now and I
think every single one of them can step on and put in a good performance,"
said Burch. "I think everyone that was called on tonight did it."
Chicago, meanwhile, had an opportunity to thrust itself closer to the playoffs
against the Houston Dynamo last Sunday but conceded a late equalizer to settle
for a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park.
The Fire dominated the early portion of the match and took a lead in the 37th
minute when Houston defender Bobby Boswell headed it into his own net.
But Adam Moffat answered with a laser into the upper 90 late on to salvage a
point for the Dynamo.
"I thought the guys played well. I think we came out and created a lot of
opportunities," Chicago head coach Frank Klopas said. "It's a shame we didn't
put the game away. It's tough the way you lose in the last minute, but that's
how it is sometimes. It's disappointing.
"We have to make sure we play all the way to the end. Obviously, this hurts
right now dropping these two points at home. We have a tough stretch of three
games coming up so all of the points really count. So we have to find a way to
pick them up somewhere else."
09/06 16:27:53 ET