Sounders Preview

Ljungberg's old side visits, but it's Fire who need win


The Basics

Chicago Fire (6-9-8, 26 points, fifth in Eastern Conference) vs. Seattle Sounders(10-7-6, 36 points, fifth in Western Conference), at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

All-time record: Seattle lead series 1-0-2

TV Info:

8 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick, MatchDay Live

Game Intro:

Both teams will be fighting for their playoff lives Saturday night. Seattle are in a relatively good position, holding the eighth and final playoff spot with 36 points. Things aren’t quite as rosy for the Fire, who sit in 11th place, 10 points behind the Sounders for the final postseason slot.

Seattle won the first meeting between the two sides, getting a late goal fromFredy Montero to defeat Chicago 2-1 at Qwest Field on Aug. 28.

Chicago Fire

The Fire, winless in their last six, absolutely must take three points from this game to have any realistic shot of staying in the playoff hunt.

“We need to win,” Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said. “We need to fight in the last seven games. We need all the points.”

If they are to win, they’ll have to do it without the services of center back Wilman Conde, who will be serving a one-game suspension for picking up a red card in last weekend’s match at Real Salt Lake. Designated Player Nery Castillo might also be unavailable due to a hamstring injury suffered last weekend.

Seattle Sounders FC

The Sounders come into the match on a quick turnaround, having lost at Monterrey 3-2 in CONCACAF Champions League play Wednesday night. Though they just played, they won’t have too many tired legs. Only two regulars –Tyson Wahl and Álvaro Fernández – saw significant minutes in Mexico.

But Seattle need to win on Saturday to maintain their three-point lead on surging Kansas City – who hold a game in hand on the Sounders.

Heroes & villains

Fredy Montero vs. C.J. Brown: Ever since Freddie Ljungberg was traded from Seattle to Chicago in late July, Montero has been on a tear. The 23-year-old forward has five goals and two assists since Ljungberg last put on the rave green, with two of those strikes coming against the Fire.

Veteran center back Brown should see a lot of Montero on Saturday night. He’ll need to come up big against the young Colombian if the Fire are to have any sort of chance at ending their winless streak and extending their playoff hopes.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm”

Chicago have scored zero goals in their last three league games. Seattle have five.