Your Seattle Sounders can cap off their scorching start with a win at the Chicago Fire. No matter the result in Bridgeview, Illinois, no other team can unseat Seattle as MLS Apertura Champions.
On paper, the Sounders have this game in the bag. Chicago has been bumbling around the cellar of the Eastern Conference, and the injury bug has beset them. Even with league MVP Mike Magee, possibly out with a calf injury, and the always-dangerous Patrick Nyarko, knee, Chicago has not been winning. Scoring yes, but not winning. Chicago is almost Seattle-lite. They score a lot of goals and they give up a lot of goals. Too many goals, as their differential is -2 (as opposed to Seattle’s +8). Chicago, seeking to tighten their defense, did get a clean sheet Wednesday at Colorado. Former Sounders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni are members of that shaky Chicago backline (though Ianni is out, SURPRISE!, with an injury). The Sounders look to continue their record-setting attack against a vulnerable Fire side.
Bold Prediction: Both teams are looking forward to a breather during the World Cup break. The team that best stays focused gets the result. Seattle’s attacking midfielder Marco Pappa, he of that world-class free kick last week, is making the his MLS homecoming to a former team. I see him staying razor sharp. Chicago rookie Harry Shipp shows vision and touch, and seeks to prove his mettle against big bad Seattle. So who’s gonna brain fart?
I love him but JKH is always good for some bone-headed bumbling, Obafemi Martins makes him pay. Chicago has nothing to lose and they press, hard, to equalize. Neither team is fielding an ideal eleven, though Seattle’s celebrated depth is the difference. Seattle 2-1.