SEATTLE - APRIL 09: O'Brian White #13 of the Seattle Sounders FC is congratulated by Steve Zakuani #11, Osvaldo Alonso #6, and Brad Evans #3 after scoring a goal against the Chicago Fire at Qwest Field on April 9, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire: Sounders Earn First Victory With 2-1 Win Over Fire

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Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire: 2-1 At Full Time, Sounders Earn First Win

The Seattle Sounders have their first win of the 2011 season after being the Chicago Fire at Qwest Field 2-1. All three goals came in the frenetic opening half hour of the match, with each team trading goals before Seattle finally managed to get ahead for good. O'Brian White opened the scoring with a lovely header off a cross from Mauro Rosales that left goalkeeper Sean Johnson with no chance at all, but the home fans barely had time to celebrate before Diego Chaves swept home past a despairing Kasey Keller to level the scores again.

Steve Zakuani didn't let the 1-1 score stand for long though, bursting into the box and finishing from a narrow angle to make it 2-1, and this time the Sounders held out. Keller put in a string of fine saves in the middle of the second half to keep the lead, and towards the end of the match it was the hosts who looked more likely to score than the Fire. Eventually, the visitors simply ran out of steam, leaving Seattle to savor their first three-pointer of the year.


Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire: Steve Zakuani Makes It 2-1 Seattle

Steve Zakuani rejoins O'Brian White as the Seattle Sounders' leading scorer after putting the home side 2-1 ahead of the Chicago Fire in the 24th minute. After both sides traded goals in the opening spell, Zakuani was given the ball with the angle tight against Sean Johnson, but he finished superbly to give the Sounders a crucial lead against the Fire.

To be honest, the Sounders should have been up by a goal even before Zakuani's strike. Erik Friberg, fielded as the right prong in Sigi Schmid's attacking trident, was faced with an open goal only to deflect the ball well over the crossbar shortly before Zakuani broke the deadlock. Friberg should be embarrassed not to have scored there - it was comparable to Brad Evans' now legendary miss last season.

Although the Sounders claim to be lined up in a 4-3-3, they're certainly not playing like it. Ostensible central midfielder Mauro Rosales is routinely further up the pitch than both Friberg and Zakuani, and Seattle are looking much more like a 4-5-1 than anything else. Whatever the shape is, it seems to be working - Seattle look irresistible going forward if rather weak in the back.


Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire: 1-1 Tie After Teams Trade Goals

The match between the Seattle Sounders and the Chicago Fire at Qwest Field is still elvel, but it's level at one apiece after the two sides exchanged goals inside the first ten minutes. Seattle got on the scoresheet first with an excellent header courtesy of O'Brian White, hammered home from deep past Sean Johnson to give the home side the lead, but not two minutes later Diego Chaves leveled matters after turning home a low cross past goalkeeper Kasey Keller - before the home faithful had even stopped celebrating the opener.

So, we're back to square one at Qwest - it;s incredibly disappointing that the Sounders conceded so soon after going ahead, but at least they've scored for the third game running. The Chicago goal came from a cross from the left -after a string of increasingly ineffective displays at left back, is it time to re-evaluate Leo Gonzalez's place in the starting lineup?


Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire: Lineups

The Seattle Sounders are still looking for their first win of the season four matches in, and they'll have to do it without Fredy Montero yet again as they host the Chicago Fire at Qwest Field. The Seattle lineup has finally started scoring with three goals in the last two matches, but the defense has been alarmingly porous over that time too, resulting in a 1-1 and a 2-2 draw the last time out. This time, Sigi Schmid appears to have opted to a formation better suited to the tools at his disposal ,using Erik Friberg and Steve Zakuani as his two wide forwards in a 4-3-3. Will that be enough to penetrate the Fire?

Seattle Sounders (4-3-3): Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, James Riley; Oswaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans; Steve Zakuani, O'Brian White, Erik Friberg.

Substitutes: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez, Nate Jaqua, Lamar Neagle.

Chicago Fire (4-4-2): Sean Johnson; Gonzalo Segares, Cory Gibbs, Dasan Robinson, Jalil Anibaba; Marco Pappa, Logan Pause, Michael Videira, Patrick Nyarko; Gaston Puerari, Diego Chaves.

Substitutes: Jon Conway, Yamith Cuesta, Davis Paul, Marko Maric, Daniel Paladini, Dominic Oduro, Orr Barouch.


Seattle Sounders Vs. Chicago Fire, Preview: The Absence of Fredy Montero Continues

It may not seem tragic on the surface, the absence of Fredy Montero from the Seattle Sounders lineup. After all, the Sounders scored two (!) goals against San Jose without their star forward. O'Brian White finally found the net, as did Brad Evans, playing in central midfield. But despite this, Seattle still hasn't recorded a win, picking up just two points in four matches. While Montero can't perform miracles, it would sure help to have him on the pitch against the Chicago Fire.

Instead, Seattle will likely start Mario Rosales just behind White, with Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani and Erik Friberg rounding out the midfield. The defense remains set: Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke and James Riley all in front of, who else, Kasey Keller. Meanwhile, the Fire won't be starting the much-anticipated 3-5-2 formation, which is upsetting for those of us who'd like to see more of a three-man defense in the MLS. But Josip Mikulic didn't travel with Chicago, and without the center back, the Fire will shift to a more standard 4-4-2.

The visitors have the same number of points as Seattle, although Chicago have a win, 3-2 at home to Sporting Kansas City. The Fire also just beat the Colorado Rapids to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup, so they'll be feeding off that victory as they head to Seattle. The Sounders, meanwhile, have been increasing their momentum as of late, so could this be the time to collect all three points? After all, Seattle have never lost to the Fire, so if anytime is the time to start winning, that time is Saturday at 1PM PST.

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