Photo courtesy of John Dorton

Fire Fall To Seattle

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club wrapped up its preseason camp in Florida with a last-minute 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC Saturday afternoon as trialist Servando Carrasco tallied the 120th minute winner just before the final whistle.

The two teams agreed to play two 45-minute halves followed by an additional 30 minutes prior to the game.

In what was the most evenly matched game of the club’s preseason thus far, both sides saw good possession create a number of quality scoring chances.

The Fire had the better of the play early in the match, through some good combination play from Gonzalo Segares on the left and Uruguayan strikers Gaston Puerari and Diego Chaves in front of goal.

The Costa Rican international broke down the flank in the 2nd minute, putting a low, driven ball across the box. Chaves left the ball for Puerari who put his effort just wide right of Seattle ‘keeper Kasey Keller’s goal.

Three minutes later it was Segares who broke free down the flank again, playing a cross to the top of the 18, which Puerari headed just wide left of the Seattle goal.

Sounders FC responded later in the half as a cross sent in from right wing back James Riley found striker Fredy Montero. Chesting the ball down, the Colombian striker put his effort directly at Fire keeper Sean Johnson, taking the teams into the half deadlocked at 0-0.

Fire veteran defender Cory Gibbs was sent off following a second yellow card after a chippy play between himself and an unnamed trialist from Seattle in the 55th minute, but was allowed to be replaced by trialing defender and Fire open tryout winner Pari Pantazopoulos.

Striker Patrick Nyarko’s halftime insertion into the match provided a number of dangerous opportunities that stretched the Sounders back line including when he got on the end of a cross from Marco Pappa on the left in the 60th minute. Nyarko’s first touch deceived him though and the ball easily fell to Sounders keeper Kasey Keller.

As the sides continued to get deeper into the match, a number of substitutions were made and chances became scarce. Just as it looked as though the 120 minutes would end in a scoreless draw, Sounders FC trialist Miguel Montano played Roger Levesque to the left end line where he centered a pass which trialist Servando Carrasco buried past substitute goalkeeper Alec Dufty just before the death, giving the Seattle side a 1-0 victory.

The result ends the Fire’s time in Florida and takes the club’s preseason record to 1-1-2. The club returns to Chicago Saturday night and will be off for three days before flying to Charleston, S.C. for the 2011 Carolina Challenge Cup on Wednesday, March 2. The Men in Red will open up the tournament against Toronto FC on Saturday, March 5 at 4:00pm CT.

The Fire host Opening Day at TOYOTA PARK against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 26 at 3:00 PM CT. Chicago Fire Season Tickets and single game tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com. The Men in Red will begin their 14th MLS season during “First Kick” week when they travel to Dallas to challenge Brimstone Cup rivals and MLS Cup runners up FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 PM CT.

Chicago Fire:

Sean Johnson (Jon Conway 46’, Alec Dufty 91’); Jalil Anibaba (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 77’), Josip Mikulic (Mike Videira 77’), Cory Gibbs (Pari Pantazopoulos 55’); Bratislav Ristic (Yoximar 64’), Baggio Husidic (Corben Bone 64’), Logan Pause (Marko Maric 51’), Marco Pappa (Daniel Paladini 77’), Gonzalo Segares (Michael Muniz 46’, Davis Paul 77’); Diego Chaves (Patrick Nyarko 46’, Martin Rivas 108’), Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 46’, Jason Herrick 106’)

Seattle Sounders:

Kasey Keller (Terry Boss 63’); James Riley (Richard Martinez 71’, Michael Tetteh 114’), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Taylor Graham 71’, Patrick Ianni 104’), Jeff Parke (Zach Scott 71’), Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 71’); Alvaro Fernandez (Trialist 46’, David Estrada 91’), Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 71’), Brad Evans (Jonathan Prieto 71’), Steve Zakuani (Miguel Montano 71’), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 63’, Roger Levesque 104’), Blaise Nkufo (Pat Noonan 63’, Lamar Neagle 100’)

Scoring Summary:

SEA – Servando Carrasco (Miguel Montano, Roger Levesque) 120’

Misconduct Summary:

CHI – Cory Gibbs (caution) 28’

SEA – Trialist (caution) 55’

CHI – Cory Gibbs (caution) 55’

CHI – Cory Gibbs (ejection) 55’

SEA – Miguel Montano (caution) 72’