In the second of three straight matches at home, the Chicago Fire welcome Western Conference visitors Seattle Sounders FC for a Saturday showdown at SeatGeek Stadium.
Get the rundown on both sides ahead of the 12 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN+ with the #CHIvSEA Match Storylines pres. by NovaCare:
Seattle enter Saturday's contest as one of only three MLS teams (LAFC, Minnesota United) to have begun their 2019 regular season campaign 2-0-0. Head coach Brian Schmetzer's men put down expansion side FC Cincinnati 4-1 on opening day, before shutting out the Colorado Rapids 2-0 last weekend. While very early, they currently lead the Western Conference on goal differential while sitting level at six points with LAFC and Minnesota United.
A trio of Sounders share the early team lead in goals scored this season. Jordan Morris, Kelvin Leerdam, and Raul Ruidiaz have each chipped in a pair of goals to help power Seattle to their current two-match win streak. Morris -- in his first match since returning from a February 2018 ACL tear -- netted a brace in Seattle's 4-1 win over FC Cincinnati on opening day, while Leerdam and Ruidiaz each enter the weekend heating up having scored in two straight.
Riding his own two-match scoring run is Fire forward CJ Sapong. Sapong got the first Fire goal of 2019 in the Club's 2-1 opening day road defeat to the LA Galaxy, before netting a dramatic stoppage time equalizer in last Saturday's 1-1 home draw against Orlando City SC.
In addition -- just two days after signing their own playmaking Nico -- the Fire will look to keep Sounders' midfield engine Nicolás Lodeiro contained. The Uruguayan international has already provided a pair of assists this season, picking up where he left off after racking up 16 of them (third-most in MLS) in 2018.
Americans in the Midfield
Last June, the Fire and the Sounders split the points in a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field. Aleksandar Katai got the opening goal on a low, curling attempt from outside the 18 just nine minutes in, before Clint Dempsey equalized for the hosts in the 22nd minute.
Seattle last visited Chicago in 2017, a match that saw the Fire cruise to a 4-1 victory in front of a sold out crowd The fire are 2-7-4 all time against the Sounders as it stands, including a 2-3-2 record at home.