The Sounders came into Chicago looking to keep Kasey Keller’s goal empty again. 456 total minutes passed before that record streak ended.
Marco Pappa ended it with a low kick into the corner from a superb pass by cagey veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Blanco had to be the key to the game for Chicago; he was in every play at some point.
Seattle was aggressive early in the match, attacking the Fire and making the Chicago defense work. It didn’t help though. Chicago kept taking the ball in the midfield, snuffing out attacks before they developed.
Chances went begging for the Fire, the closest in the 20th minute when Patrick Nyarko hit the left post. At that point, Chicago owned the ball, sending Tim Ward and Blanco up the right side, opening up the Seattle defense on that side and creating real questions for Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid.
Things got worse three minutes into the second half when Fredy Montero threw an elbow into Gonzalo Segares' face while battling for position on a header. Montero was given a red card and ejected. He will also have to miss the next match for Seattle, against the LA Galaxy in Seattle on May 10th. Although I felt the elbow was intentional and deserved a yellow card, a red card seemed a bit harsh. The referee was trying to set the tone and prevent retaliation, something that he did alleviate as the match was played pretty cleanly.
Chicago owned the statistics as well, outshooting Seattle 15-4 by the final whistle. The extra shots didn’t earn the Fire full points though as the Sounders were able to salvage a tie. Tyrone Marshall was able to poke the ball in from a corner kick by Freddie Ljungberg in the 74th minute.
My friends that don’t understand soccer don’t understand why a team could be happy with a tie. To them, it’s all about winning and losing. In soccer, a tie still earns the team a point which adds up in the standings. It’s not as good as the three points given for a win but it is better than no points that a loss give.
In Chicago, Seattle didn’t really deserve a point. Sometimes that doesn’t matter. Chicago is undefeated with two wins and five ties. Against the Sounders, they definitely earned a full three points. Thanks to Tyrone Marshall’s toe on the far side of the goal, Seattle scraped a point.