Fire Burns Defending Champion Seattle

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Chicago Fire’s Luis Solignac celebrating their strong showing against the Seattle Sounders (photo credit: Don MacGregor)

Chicago Fire 4-1 Seattle Sounders FC

BRIDGEVIEW, ILGetting back home couldn’t be more of welcome sight for the Chicago Fire and its fans, especially when the fans produced its first sellout since September 19th, 2015 with 20,153 on hand.

In return, the Chicago Fire really got hot in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Sounders at Toyota Park on Saturday night.

Nemanja Nikolic scored twice giving him eight goals in 10 matches this season. David Accam and Louis Solignac had the other goals.

For the Chicago Fire, it was more home sweet home since the team has been playing better on its own pitch this year. But there’s much more in the scheme of things.

“Every time after a game this year, we say that this is the best game,” Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic said. “What I’m trying to say that there’s a consistency in our improvement with our team and when we play at home the improvement is more evident. Also the stretch on the road helped us to forge that mentality to the great improvement we’ve had this season.”

The Fire (4-3-3, 15 points) were coming off a couple of road losses at Toronto and New York Red Bulls. They also settled for a 2-2 draw against the Galaxy last week which the team has come together in the long haul to this point of the season.

“The team is growing and the smiles are back in Bridgeview finally,” Paunovic said. “It’s not only one game. This is the general feeling our team has in the locker room, outside the locker room. Whether downtown in the city, wherever we are, we feel a passion for the team. There are positive expectations, people can see the results and great games like today. The team feels more confident and is capable to manage difficult games against difficult opponents like the (MLS Cup) champions’ Seattle.”

On Saturday, in the first half each team had its share of chances in the opening 20 minutes until Chicago had the best opportunity in getting a penalty kick in the 25th minute which Nikolic was taken down in the penalty area. Accam stepped up originally for the penalty kick and was saved by Sounders’ keeper Stefan Frei. However, Frei was ruled that he left the line too early which allowed the Fire for another penalty which Nikolic took over the role and buried the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 advantage.

Luis Solignac put the 20,000 plus to their feet on Saturday with a strike past Stefan Frei (photo credit Don MacGregor)

Seattle (2-4-4, 10 pts) answered with a goal of their own just two minutes later, when Clint Dempsey hit a strike into the corner after taking a pass from Cristian Roldan tying the game at one a piece.

In the second half, the Fire managed to build on the past and scoring goals which they put three of them into the net.  Accam scored on a combination of passes that was assisted form Michael de Leeuw and Bastian Schweinsteiger that made the score 2-1 in the 59th minute.

Solignac made it 3-1 in the 73rd minute with a volley kick near the back post after Nikolic volley-touched the ball over for the opportunity. Then, Nikolic added his second goal in the 77th minute of a pass from Accam extending the lead to 4-1.

“Many times I’ve had a start like this before in Hungary and in Poland,” Nikolic said. “So for me it’s not something new, but for the people here or the media, it is. My teammates have helped me out day-by-day for improvement game by game. Also they helped me score two goals to beat a team like Seattle that won a championship last year. It’s very important for this team because it’s new to keep going.”

The Fire will have a short week ahead with a match hosting Colorado Rapids back at Toyota Park starting at 7:30pm.


SCORING SUMMARY:

CHI-Nemanja Nikolic (PK) 25

SEA-Clint Dempsey (Cristian Roldan) 28

CHI-David Accam (Michael de Leeuw) 59

CHI-Louis Solignac (Nemanja Nikolic) 73

CHI-Nemanja Nikolic (David Accam) 77

BOOKING SUMMARY:

SEA-Stefan Frei (caution, dissent) 26

CHI-Matt Lampson (caution, reckless foul) 48

CHI-Brandon Vincent (caution, unsporting behavior) 78

SEA-Joevin Jones (caution, unsporting behavior) 87

SEA-Joevin Jones (sent off, second bookable offense) 89

CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1):  #28-Matt Lampson; #18-Drew Conner (#16-Jonathan Campbell 71), #4-Johan Kappelhof, #66-Joao Meira, #3-Brandon Vincent,  #6-Dax McCarty; #9-Luis Solignac, #31-Bastian Schweinsteiger, #11-David Accam (#20-Daniel Johnson 88), #8-Michael de Leeuw (#2-Matt Polster 71), #23-Nemanja Nikolic

Subs not used:  #5-Michael Harrington, #14-Djordje Mihalovic, #30-Stefan Cleveland, #12-Arturo Alvarez,

SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-4-2): #24-Stefan Frei, #14-Chad Marshall, #33-Joevin Jones, #7-Cristian Roldan, #15-Tony Alfaro, #4-Gustav Svensson, #19-Harry Shipp (#17-Will Bruin 71), #6-Osvaldo Alonso (#8-Alvaro Fernandes 77), #2-Clint Dempsey (#3-Brad Evans 81), #10-Nicolas Lodeiro, #13-Jordan Morris.

Subs not used: #35-Bryan Meredith, #32-Zach Mathers, #91-Oniel Fisher, #12-Seyl Adekoya.

TOTAL SHOTS:  CHI 15-12 SEA

SHOTS ON GOALCHI 6-2 SEA

FOULS:  CHI 15-13 SEA

OFFSIDES:  CHI 3-3 SEA

CORNER KICKS:  CHI 3-3 SEA

SAVES:  CHI 1-2 SEA

Referee: Nima Saghafl

Referee’s Assistants:  Jason White, Brian Dunn

4th Official:  Alejandro Mariscal

Weather:  Mostly Clear and 70º

Attendance:  20,153

Man of the Match: Nemanja Nikolic (CHI)

Sounders FC

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