BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire could have looked back at 2011 fondly if it weren’t for the Seattle Sounders.
During a difficult season, the Fire made a run to the US Open Cup final, but lost 2-0 to the Sounders at CenturyLink Field. That loss is on some of the Fire players’ minds heading into Saturday’s regular season matchup (7:30 pm CT, NBC Nonstop; 97.5FM ESPN Deportes), the only matchup between the teams this season.
“They beat us, and that’s something that burns inside of us,” defender Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “This is our chance to get back at them.”
Saturday’s game will also give Chicago a chance to register their first win against Seattle. The Fire have an 0-3-3 record against the Sounders in their opponents’ first three years of existence.
All eight of the Fire’s points this year have come against teams that were either short-handed or near the bottom of the standings. A win against Seattle would be Chicago’s first against a team with a winning record this season.
“They’re a tough team to play against,” midfielder Logan Pause told MLSsoccer.com. “They’re an incredibly disciplined team to play against, but I don’t look at the [head-to-head] record. Saturday is a big opportunity for us and we know it’s not going to be an easy game.”
Chicago will be without newly acquired forward Chris Rolfe, who didn’t practice this week. Without Rolfe last week, the Fire were able to score multiple goals for the first time this season by scoring three in a 3-2 win over Toronto FC.
The Sounders are in the midst of their own offensive slump – they’ve only scored one goal in their last three games.
Pause knows about the slump, but he also knows the Sounders have weapons.
“I think the strongest part of their team is the midfield,” Pause told MLSsoccer.com. “You’ve got guys like [Fredy] Montero and Eddie Johnson and this young kid, [David] Estrada playing up top. But I think this game will be won or lost in the midfield. We’re looking to make sure we highlight that and make sure we take care of business.”