Sounders pick up point with draw at Chicago
The Sounders came away with a 0-0 draw at Toyota Park on Saturday night to extend their unbeaten streak over the Fire to six matches.
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BRIDGEVIEW, ILL. — Seattle knew it wouldn't be easy going into Chicago to face a team that had made a coaching change. And it wasn't. But the Sounders came away with a 0-0 draw Saturday before 13,839 fans at Toyota Park to extend their unbeaten streak over the Fire to six matches.
They also earned their fourth point in eight days on the road after beating Real Salt Lake last weekend.
Sounders FC (5-4-6) came into the match with a 3-0-2 all-time record against Chicago, including three straight wins. The Fire (1-4-7) entered with a new coach in Frank Klopas, who replaced Carlos de los Cobos after last week's loss, but ended the night setting a club record with a 10-game winless streak.
After an energized first half in which Chicago edged the Sounders 4-3 in shots on goal, play slowed in the second half on a warm and humid evening that had a game-time temperature of 85 degrees.
Although Seattle outshot the Fire 4-3 in the second half, Chicago had the only shot on net.
"We had some chances, but at the end of the day we're playing a team that's motivated, they're playing for a new coach and to be able to come away with a point is not that bad," Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said.
"We talked about being able to match their intensity at the beginning of the game and I think we did that. If we could have snagged a goal (early in the game) it would have changed things. But after that they put us on our heels a little bit."
Sounders defender Tyson Wahl missed an attempt off a direct free kick in the 51st minute, shooting from his left foot high and wide right from more than 35 feet. And Fredy Montero, who lost his starting job at forward last week against Real Salt Lake, did not start but entered the game as a sub in the 53rd minute, replacing Nate Jaqua.
Montero, who came into the game with four assists but only two goals, took a right-footed attempt from a direct free kick but missed to the right.
Chicago defender Cory Gibbs missed a header after taking a cross in the 69th minute. Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller got over the top of Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic in the closing minute of stoppage time to thwart Chicago's final scoring attempt.
Keller, who came into the game second in MLS with 41 saves, added to his total in the first half with four stops. Keller dove and deflected a shot by Fire midfielder Daniel Paladini in the 26th minute.
"It was a tough game, the second half was a battle," Keller said. "Nobody could get that final touch, that final piece of magic. Maybe a different occasion it could have been a 1-1 or 2-2."
Keller also stopped a shot by forward Diego Chaves in the 30th minute on a play that finished with Fire forward Cristian Nazarit running into the goalie.
"I just collected the ball and he kind of came in and I was protecting myself and he kind of caught me," Keller said. "It was no big deal. I expect him to go for the ball and that's part of the game."
Sounders FC had six shots in the first half to Chicago's nine, with Osvaldo Alonso and midfielder Lamar Neagle leading Seattle with two apiece.
Neagle took a cross from midfielder Mauro Rosales in the early minutes and punched a header at Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who deflected the ball away.
• Seattle was without the services of midfielder Alvaro Fernandez, who did not make the trip due to a hamstring strain.
• Neagle, from Federal Way, said he felt good in his first MLS start: "In the first half I was kind of excited, a lot of adrenaline, but at the end of the first half I felt my second wind. Then in the second half it was kind of the same thing. That's just something I have to adjust to. Once I get my fitness up I'll be good."
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
|Chicago||0 0 — 0|
Seattle — Kasey Keller, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales (Roger Levesque, 67th), Lamar Neagle, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Michael Fucito (Servando Carrasco, 81st), Nate Jaqua (Fredy Montero, 54th).
Chicago — Sean Johnson, Yamith Cuesta, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Bratislav Ristic, Corben Bone (Gaston Puerari, 67th), Dominic Oduro, Cristian Nazarit (Orr Barouch, 78th), Diego Chaves (Patrick Nyarko, 54th).
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