Friday, April 8, 2011

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders vs. Fire match preview

On Saturday, the Sounders will face off against the Chicago Fire (1-0-1) in front of a home crowd at Qwest. Match time is scheduled for 1 p.m. and King 5 will have the coverage.

The match will mark the fifth of the year for the Sounders. At this point in the season it is hard to believe we are asking when the Sounders will finally get their first win, but unfortunately that is the case. With the news that Fredy Montero is likely to miss his second straight match recovering from wrist surgery, it’s hard to expect a win.

However, I am feeling rather optimistic. I think this is the week the Sounders snatch their first win of the year.

Here is why…..

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1) At the beginning of the year the Sounders were supposed to be near the top of the table. Returning a solid back line, a deep midfield, and enough talent up front to help produce. But as we know, talent does not always translate into wins, but how long can it be contained? The last two matches the Sounders have not come away with the result they wanted, but they have shown a vast improvement from the first two matches. They have played some great stretches of soccer but have not put together a full 90. I think the Sounders talent shines through this weekend and is too much for Chicago to handle.

2) While the team may not be panicked just yet, there is no question they feel the pressure to succeed. The urgency to win now should bring an energy that Chicago won’t be able to match.

3) The Sounders are playing at home. On their own pitch, in front of their own fans. The place should be popping as always which usually brings out the best from the Sounders.

Last year, the Sounders defeated the Fire on both occasions. A late goal by Fredy Montero in the first meeting, and another from Blaise Nkufo in the second, earned Seattle 6 points.

With Montero apparently missing another match, the question is, will Sigi stick with the same lineup as last week? Here is what he said regarding this issue.

"Last week I thought offensively we played alright, but we're still looking at possibilities and maybe some lineup changes. Overall, I thought offensively we did alright and I thought Rosales had a good 45 minutes for sure,” Head Coach Sigi Schmid said.

I am not sure exactly how long Rosales will go in Saturdays match, but I do believe he will start. He looked great in the first half against San Jose, but seemed to lose steam in the second half.

It also appears Erik Friberg is fully recovered from his illness that proved bothersome in last weeks match. I expect him to start on the outside.

Chicago Fire Head Coach, Carlos de los Cobos has been known to go with a 3-5-2 formation, which I believe he will use this Saturday. Stacking the center will be an attempt to contain the Sounders strong midfield.

Chicago has played well at times so far this season, however has been prone to making mistakes in the back. The key for the Sounders will be capitalizing on these mistakes.

The match should be a good one, but I think Seattle takes the match 2-0 and sends the crowd home happy.

Reach Ryan Kinney at