SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. CHICAGO FIRE Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Chicago Fire leave the friendly confines at Bridgeview for the crisp air of the Pacific Northwest and a midweek fixture against our Sounders FC. The Green Family have heavy hearts as we found out yesterday that Dempsey is out for the rest of the season. We can only hope that he becomes well again, as he has family to look after and all of that must come first before football. Dempsey’s absence continues to heap pressure on young Jordan Morris, though he is just out of short pants and just on solid food. As it turns out, Jordan has rather broad shoulders and seems like he’s handling the load just fine having hit two goals in Carson on Sunday. Good job we signed him up. Sounders FC are in a rich vein of form and we have the chance to feast on a three point meal at the hands of Chicago, who are currently reeling and trying to find their way up from the basement of the MLS league table. If you don’t have a ticket for the match, or are out of town, it prevails on our supporters to find a local viewing party as our boys in Green need us more than ever. We’re so close to taking that last MLS Cup berth away from the wretched Treecutters. Raise your glasses tonight and join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

The Good News
Seattle have lost only one match in the last nine. We have recently won against Vancouver and at Los Angeles in matches the form book would say we had little chance of winning. Morris has seemed to have turned a corner, and is rounding into the type of forward that is consistently a legitimate threat to score. Chicago have won only two of their last 12 matches, and were soundly thrashed in their visit to The Bronx by New York City FC last Friday 4:1 with their only goal coming from journeyman forward, Solignac. The Treecutters who currently hold the last Western Conference MLS Cup berth, are only three points clear of us. A Sounders victory over Chicago, and a Treecutters’ loss in Colorado would see the Sounders and Portland level on 41 points. Chicago sit at the bottom of the MLS table on 27 points. Chicago have won only once in 14 away matches this season.

The Bad News
Dempsey is lost to the side for the rest of the season. The chance that his condition could end his career saddens us all. Although Dempsey’s health must be of paramount concern, the idea that he may not ever suit up for the Sounders FC or Yanks again is a sobering one. The numbers and trends paint Chicago as an inferior opponent. Let’s hope that manager Brian Schmetzer has the lads all chuffed up and ready to play with the understanding that overconfidence or complacency in the team will not be tolerated. This would be a bad match to rest key members of the first team, we made that mistake in Houston, and it cost us two points.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Sean Johnson is the most skilled and experienced of Chicago’s three ‘keepers. He has played five times for the Yanks, winning a CONCACAF Gold Cup with them in 2013. His understudy McLean, has only 63 professional appearances, only two of those with an MLS side.

Defence – Young Ramos is on loan from Brazilian club Coritiba and has only 27 pro appearances. Kappelhof played 123 times for FC Groningen in Netherlands. Fair to say he is an experienced hand.  Meira played a ton in Portugal before coming to Chicago so you’d think he can also be counted on as an experienced pro. Harrington is also a seasoned pro with nearly 250 pro appearances under his belt, all earned in domestic football.

Midfield – Cocis played 50 times for Romania and has 63 career goals to his name. Polster is young, 23, and has only 56 pro appearances on his resume. Alvarez played 43 times for El Salvador, and once won a Hungarian League title with Videoton FC. Cocis and Alvarez are legitimate threats to score.

Forward – de Leeuw played seven years in Netherlands before coming to Bridgeview. He has 98 career goals, so there’s your danger man. Solignac, newly arrived from Colorado has 33 career goals in 100 matches. Accam once hit 30 goals in 62 matches for Helsingborgs IF of the Swedish league. So all of these guys are legitimate threats to score.

Bench – Thiam, a Senegalese midfielder on loan from Hungary’s MTK could be a threat to score. Stephens, won a ton of silverware with LA Galaxy and once played 30 times for Stabæk Fotball in Norway’s top league. Arshakyan hit 36 goals for his old Lithuanian club, FK Trakai. Gehrig won his club’s Defender of the Year award in his rookie season at Bridgeview.

Familiar Faces
Chicago defender, Brandon Vincent, played 80 times for Stanford (NCAA). Defender, Michael Harrington played 58 times for Portland Timbers. Defender, Jonathan Campbell played 12 times for Sounders U-23s.

Selections for Last Match
Seattle: Frei, Mears, Torres, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Fernández, Lodeiro, Ivanschitz, Morris.

Bench: Miller (gk), Scott, Fisher, Valdez, Gómez, Sturgis, Anderson.

Chicago: Johnson, Ramos, Kappelhof, Meira, Harrington, Cocis, Polster, Alvarez, de Leeuw, Accam, Solignac.

Bench: McLain (gk), Gehrig, Campbell, Vincent, Thiam, Stephens, Arshakyan.

Injury List
Seattle –
OUT: Dempsey (irregular heartbeat, out for season).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Evans (calf), Friberg (ankle), Kovar (broken clavicle).

Chicago –
OUT: Goossens (back), Lampson (toe).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Morrell (hamstring).

Discipline
No players suspended.
Seattle – Joevin Jones, Alonso, and Lodeiro out next booking.

Fun Fact
As a former Sounder, Freddy Ljungberg was booked twice and sent off playing against Chicago in the Sounders’ inaugural 2009 season. One year later, playing in Chicago red, he was booked playing against us. It’s a crazy world.

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