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  • September 25, 2010
  • • 8:00 PM
  • • Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
  • Referee: J. Anno
  • • Attendance: 17477

Chicago Fire 0-1 Seattle Sounders FC: Fire Playoff Hopes Cooked By Late Blaise Nkufo Goal

Chicago Fire 0-1 Seattle Sounders FC: Fire Playoff Hopes Cooked By Late Blaise Nkufo Goal

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire’s chances of making the playoffs heading into Saturday night’s game were pretty slim. As has been the case for several weeks now, the Fire had to win and yet again left the game disappointed.

Blaise Nkufo sealed the 1-0 victory for the visitors with his fourth goal in two games as the Sounders tightened their grip on a playoff slot.

First Half

With the game being important for both teams it was high energy from the start. In the third minute Marco Pappa raced through the Sounders defense on the right side and found himself in a one-on-one with Kasey Keller from a difficult angle. However, the veteran keeper was up to the challenge and prevented the early goal.

The Sounders were active from the start as well and had four corner kicks in the first 10 minutes. The last one should have been a goal as Nathan Sturgis' corner found Osvaldo Alonso all alone, but the midfielder headed the ball past the post, missing a great opportunity.

While neither team took control of the game, the Sounders enjoyed the greater opportunities in the first half. Sanna Nyassi was a menace for the Fire all night and had his first good chance about 20 minutes into the game when Gonzalo Segares misjudged a ball in the back and the outside midfielder got in behind and put a shot on Johnson from a tough angle.

Chicago had a good chance a few minutes later when John Thorrington received a through-ball on the wing and then hit a good low cross that found Calen Carr at the near post. The striker, making his first start of the year, was unable to do anything with it and the game remained tied at zero.

After a few header attempts by Nyassi that were not very close, Chicago put pressure on Seattle the last few minutes and nearly scored a couple of times.

First Segares lobbed in a cross from the left side that found Marco Pappa all alone on the back post. Unfortunately for the Fire, the Guatemalan's shot was blocked by Keller.

Freddie Ljunberg found Segares on the left side a minute later and the defender whipped in a low cross across the face of the goal, but Calen Carr couldn't get a foot on it and the game went to halftime all tied up.

Second Half

Chicago worked extremely hard the entire second half but did not have an answer for an organized and effective Sounders defense.

Much like the first half, neither team dominated, but once again it was the visitors that enjoyed the majority of the opportunities.

Just 10 minutes into the second half Seattle missed a golden opportunity when Sean Johnson inexplicably came out of his box to go after a ball that he was beaten to by Nyassi and Segares. In the ensuing scramble the Sounders missed a wide open goal by a few feet.

Five minutes later Nyassi hit in a great cross that skipped once in the box and found Montero alone at the six. The Colombian headed the ball on goal but the effort went straight to Johnson.

Late in the game de los Cobos brought in both McBride and John into the line up in hopes of grabbing victory.

Freddie Ljunberg had a great shot on goal in the 75th minute from the top left corner of the box, but once again Keller was up to the task and tipped the effort wide.

Just a few minutes before the final whistle Blaise Nkufo broke the Fire’s back with a goal. Nkufo was sprung free on a counterattack and looked to be sending the ball in for a cross but then cut it back and put a shot on goal that was deflected by CJ Brown and into the back of the net to give the Sounders a 1-0 victory.

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