The Sounders led 2-1 at the break and needed several timely saves.SEATTLE, Wash.—Before a crowd of 36,223 at Qwest Field, the Sounders (1-2-2) ended their winless streak with a 2-1 triumph over the Chicago Fire (1-1-1), who saw their unbeaten streak end.
With Fredy Montero recuperating from a fractured wrist, Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid decided to start three forwards in an attempt to generate more offense. Steve Zakuani, O’Brian White and Erik Friberg were in front of the nets in the 4-3-3 formation.
All of the scoring took place in the first half of play for both sides. The Man of the Match honors went to Seattle’s Kasey Keller. He made three fabulous stops in less than eight minutes in the second half to stop the Fire from earning an away draw or win.
Seattle struck first with a header by O’Brian White in the seventh minute of play. Midfielder Mauro Rosales made a perfect cross into the box that somehow found White between Chicago defenders Jalil Anibaba and Dasan Robinson. The Jamaican redirected the ball past Chicago ‘keeper Sean Johnson to give Seattle the early 1-0 lead and notch his second goal of the MLS campaign.
Chicago answered a minute later with Diego Chaves’ third goal of the year. Forward Gaston Puerari sent a seeing eye through pass to midfielder Patrick Nyarko on his right. He found Chaves positioned on the right post. The Uruguay native had an open net and placed his shot inside the left post to tie the match 1-1.
In the 23rd minute, Friberg’s missed a wide open net when his header sailed over the crossbar. Rosales received a cross inside the box and headed high in the air. Friberg had plenty of net to go for, but the ball failed to find the mark.
Two minutes later, on a give-and-go Zakuani scored his second of the year to give the Sounders a 2-1 lead. The former first round draft pick started the play with a pass to White. Zakuani received it back on a one-touch pass and maneuvered towards the goal. He found the space between the left post and the Chicago ‘keeper to notch the go-ahead tally for the home side.
| Steve Zakuani was key for the Seattle victory
The Fire missed a golden opportunity to level the score a minute before the end of the half. Defender Gonzalo Segares sent a cross into the box from the left side the goal. Forward Gaston Puerari redirected the ball towards the goal but it failed to find the back of the net.
Kasey Keller made an outstanding save on Chaves in the 58th minute to keep Seattle up on top. Marco Pappa lined up outside the box and sent a free kick into the penalty area. The ball eventually found Chaves in front of the veteran Seattle ‘keeper. Keller dove to his left and extended his arm to make the stop.
Three minutes later, Puerari was one-on-one with only Keller between him and the goal. Once again the Washington native came up big to prevent the tying tally.
In the 66th minute, Keller faced his third threat of the half. Pappa found himself in front of the Seattle ‘keeper. Keller extended his body to make another timely stop.
Seattle tightened up defensively for the rest of the match to prevent further scoring from the visiting Chicago side.
The Sounders travel to Philadelphia for another afternoon encounter with the Union next Saturday. Chicago plays another Pacific Northwest matchup when they head down to Portland for a mid-week game against the expansion Timbers.
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