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Fire settle for draw vs. ten-man Sounders

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Despite a straight red card putting them a man up for the second week in a row, the Chicago Fire were unable to walk away from Toyota Park with a victory, tying the Seattle Sounders 1-1 Saturday night.

The Sounders, who went down a man in the 48th minute after a Fredy Montero red card, showed tremendous resolve in earning a point, equalizing Marco Pappa’s 68th minute goal with one of their own in the 74th.

Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall scored the equalizer for the expansion Sounders, who remain in second place in the Western Conference on 13 points.

“We didn’t keep our heads down, we kept plugging away, and with that you never know what can happen,” said Marshall. “We kept fighting and we came up with a goal…that’s Seattle football.”

The result was viewed as tremendously disappointing for the Fire, who, despite their undefeated record, have now tied 4 league games in a row.

“Everybody in the locker room is gutted,” said Fire goalie Jon Busch. “Nobody cares that we’re undefeated at this point. We should be winning these games and we’re not and that’s what matters.”

Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett now can only wonder why his side have consistently let opponents back into matches, often times on relatively soft goals.

“Our concentration, our marking has been bad. Plain and simple,” said Hamlett. “We just have to have the extra motivation and extra energy to say ‘I’m going to take pride and my guy’s not going to score. I’m not going to give up a goal tonight…’ It’s just not been good enough.”

Adding to the pain of the result for the Fire was the fact that they completely controlled the game for much of the 1st half. They created a multitude of chances, but were not able to finish any of them. Fire forward Patrick Nyarko even hit the post in the 20th minute, but the ball caromed away harmlessly.

Saturday’s result demonstrates a disturbing trend for the Fire. They have been unable to finish off teams when they are in control, and one has to wonder how this will affect them later on in the season. The inability to close out games is seemingly a mental obstacle for the Fire and how they will overcome it is anyone’s guess.

On the other hand, Sigi Schmid’s Seattle club has to be thrilled with the result. Going on the road and coming back with a point against a tough opponent (after playing a man down for much of the 2nd half) is yet another momentum builder for the newest MLS club.

What did you think about the match? Disappointed in the Fire yet again? Proud that the Sounders were able to show resiliency and come back on the road?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. JesseMT and Jared – good points.

    i agree *hurtado* is my favorite player on the team. he is all-star material.
    good observation on the “big target men” vs. “slasher types.” Makes me a bit worried about Donovan, who is utterly vicious when he cuts across the field.

    good comments all around – i missed the game and your comments help me get a “feel” for it

  2. Well done Jared. Call out the Flounder fans for what they are: Simple minded, single ideas and so very proud of their words they must use multiple sites to post the same boring commentary. I wonder how many sites Flounder Boy posted the same comments? I’ll summerize every Flounder post:

    1) Montero’s red card was weak – shoulda been a yellow at best.

    2) Ljungberg can’t play 90 minutes

    3) Offense is ‘wilting’

    4) Le Toux should be starting

    Look on any site where Flounders post and I’ll bet it says the same thing over and over and over…

    Boring, Boring Flounders…

  3. 59 last season

    450 team-side games played

    18 so far this season

    105 team-side games played so far

    Stay at this pace, and we’ll have 77 reds this season.

    Yeah, it does seem like a lot this year

  4. Another red card game. Is it me or is every other game in MLS ruined by a red card? I’m curious to know how this season compares to last. So many straight reds, and I’ve yet to see one, except the Keller red, that wasn’t borderline.
    Not enough yellows and too many reds in my opinion. Give the player a yellow, talk to him, and if he commits another bad tackle, then send him off.

    C’mon refs, let them play!

  5. “Montero’s red card was a JOKE! Fredy barely touched him (not a mark on Segares) and the ref pulled it. And when one of their players does a flying press on Keller there’s no red.


    I guess you missed the neck drag takedown in the box in extra time. Cuz that was ridiculous.

  6. ‘I’m going to take pride and my guy’s not going to score. I’m not going to give up a goal tonight…’ -Hamlet

    I think that’s part of the problem right there. Why not keep attacking when it worked so well the first half? And Hamlet is encouraging this bunker mentality…

  7. A feature common to all top teams is the ability to play a horrible game and still come away with a result. It’s premature to say whether the Sounders are a top team, but they are making their case.

    Sigi has some problems to solve with exactly which lineup to use and how everyone should play together. He’s got an opportunity with Montero’s suspension. Le Toux gave a great performance against RSL in the USOC play-in, and his energy up front might be a good spark to the attack. Also, he’s extremely tenacious defensively and good defense from the front line helps take pressure of the midfield and defense. I’m hoping to see the guys put a good performance out there against the Gals at Qwest.

  8. Sounders FC have played the best teams in the league. Chicago looked the best. We were thoroughly outplayed for the majority of the match for the first time but managed to leave the windy city with a point.

    Walking away with points in a tough away match when you’re not playing well is a ticket to the playoffs.

    My biggest complaint was that Ljungberg played so much. I’m a huge Freddie fan, but he flew to Sweden for a funeral and returned in the course of five days. I don’t care who you are or what your job is; it’s tough to be at your best after that.

  9. Dagger,
    I know Madmax commented about the game, players, and coaches. He did so twice, exactly the same way twice. I actually agree with him. I just think its funny that he made the exact same comment for two different posts. Of course, copy and pasting has always cracked me up.

    It does appear the Sounders are having some offensive issues. Montero isn’t dealing with being marked well. Jaqua has yet to really take advantage of the open space given him when Montero is being closely marked. I’m really not sold with Evans on the right, he makes some good passes, but at the same time he seems to concede the entire right side and shift into the middle too often. The backline, aside from a few hiccups, have been surprisingly effective. Marshall and Hurtado have been impressive, and Alonso has been a revelation (especially seeing that the entire league had their chance at getting him).

    You’re post was definitely full of content though. What with the part about me being out of line and having little to say and all. Seriously, that’s Pulitzer winning stuff right there.

  10. JoeW – trust me, Fire fans are not bragging about being undefeated (our FO is another story. . .) Not to speak for everyone, but I think we’re all frustrated with these ties.

  11. Jared, madmax commented about the game, players, and coaches. You commented about his writing style and word choices, nothing on the game. You are way out of line, and a have little to say.

  12. Tom, “Zakuani didn’t train till two weeks before the season started, not long enough to get 90 minutes match fit …”

    I believe Steve Zakuani has been practicing and playing for nearly two months now. I hope there is not something wrong with him medically.

    I agree, Jared is not a jerk, not much there though, when he avoids content.

  13. True the Sounders have some serious offensive issues right now. The Freddies have no chemistry, Jaqua isn’t getting service, and we’re playing without a winger on the right side. Nobody would’ve guessed this going into the year, but defense is the strength of the club.

    The back line seems to do better against big target men like Angel and McBride than little slasher types like Nyarko.

    Next week vs. the Galaxy should be interesting – probably Le Toux starts up front in place of Montero… either that or Ljungberg moves up front, Evans slide back to the middle, and Nyassi starts on right wing.

  14. What the Chicago Fire needs right now is a good old fashion bar fight.

    After a game like that, the whole team goes to a nearby bar and just throw down.

    If that doesnt get them focused nothing will.

  15. Dissapointed because all though the Fire completely kicked Se@ttles a@@ all night they let them tied.

    now we gave everyone an excuse to continue to completely overestimate a
    severely overrated sounders team.

  16. Proud of my sounders for showing up for the second half. the first half, not so much. good coaching Hamlett’s part, they were dominating.

    As much as that really should have been a yellow card on Montero, the game would’ve gotten ugly if he didn’t kick him off.

  17. Zakuani didn’t train till two weeks before the season started, not long enough to get 90 minutes match fit and Zakuani played tuesday in the US Open cup game, Ljunberg flew from Sweden to Seattle on Thursday AND he didn’t start training full time till week one.

    That is why they are not 90 minutes fit MadMax, stop trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

    This was a great result for the Sounders, good team eek out draws like this when they are not fully fit and are being outplayed by a good team.

    Chicago, has to many problems in the back, they can attack all they want but the draws keep bulding of up for them which is not good, they need to be able to take 3 points at home.

    The Sounders are no slouch team, the only lost to the league leaders in Chivas and they didn’t have Keller. Plus the first goal in that game was a freak own goal and the second when Seattle pushed for the draw.

    Chicago when both teams are fully fit is not better then the Sounders if they were they would have won last night.

  18. Did seattle really have only one short on target? I didn’t realize the Fire had dominated that much. Ugh, all the more frustrating.

    Also, about the red card. A few years ago it would have been a yellow, but the USSF has made a point of those being called red cards this week. On their weekly report, they had a video clip of Dane Richards doing almost the exact same thing and not being called for a red.

  19. as a sounders fan I’ve got to be happy with the result, but disapointed with the play. We got our asses handed to us for the first half. poor marking in the back, a failure to hold the ball in the midfield and to top it off it looked like everyone was running on sand.

    “Why Nyassi wasn’t introduced in the game’s last 10 minutes is a mystery to me. He could be a starter.”

    Nyassi is remarkably fast but his decision making leaves a lot to be desired. he holds the ball too long and he often puts himself in a position to recieve it where he has to run at and beat two defenders to use that speed. On top of that at the Open Cup game last week he threw a tantrum on field and sigi immediately pulled him. It could be that he’s in the dog house right now.

    I think Blanco was involved in every single Fire attack. He didn’t do anything spectacular but he was there creating chances over and over again.

  20. Jared, thanks for the ‘compliment’, I think. I do cut and paste on when there are two forums on the same subject. One it gives my idea more exposure and two I can edit the second entry since I do no editing on the first.

    Sigi has a problem with his attack. I would like local reporters to dig in and find out why Ljungberg and Zaukani still can’t go 90. I think I know the answer to Freddy but Stevie Z remains a mystery. Perhaps they should talk directly with the condition coach and medical staff.

    Sigi drops down from a 10 to a 9 for giving slow poke Blanco so much room.

  21. Montero’s red card was a JOKE! Fredy barely touched him (not a mark on Segares) and the ref pulled it. And when one of their players does a flying press on Keller there’s no red.


  22. The fire need a shake up, its time for dennis to do the unthinkable and bench some starters to get the bus rolling again, if you can’t fight through the game you shouldn’t be on the field when it counts, he needs to play nyarko, and rolfe up top give baggio some time out wide, but he needs to shake up the center defense and center midfield.

  23. Hopper,
    Not trying to be a jerk. I just think its funny when people can’t come up with a new comment for a new post.

    Darkman, have you not seen the Sounders before? Because in the matches I’ve seen of them I’ve been really impressed, including tonight. I love the underhanded attacks though: The usual, “Sounders didn’t earn the tie, Chicago lost it”. Well, on a day they definitely weren’t playing their best, the Sounders eked out a point on the road. When it comes down to it, I think that is saying something, I’ve continued to be impressed by the Sounders, and really think they have something going on.

  24. I was very excited to see what the Sounders had to bring to the table and I wasn’t very impressed at all.

    The Sounders looked blah. The reason for the goal on the corner kick wasn’t becuase you were that good. Oh no, the Fire just fell asleep. It is a common theme going on that has carried over from last year. For the life of me I can’t understand why the Fire cannot protect a lead. But score on us first then watch out.

    The Fire literally manhandled the sounders. Conde was bullying as always, Tim Ward had a great game(except for the mental snafu), hell even Blanco was hustling all over the place.

    That’s what sucks about this. It is not a team mistake but individual’s who just let up. Why??? I haven’t a freakin clue. Hamlett needs to figure this out or he will join the elite club of fired coaches while the team is undefeated. Don’t think it won’t happen soon if this continues to happen.

  25. Jared,

    No need to be a (jerk).

    Amazing result for the Sounders considering the circumstances. They were thoroughly outplayed in the first half, lose Montero to a red card to start the second, and managed to salvage a draw. Well done.

    I do have question why Sigi didn’t use his third substitution at the end. His team were working their asses off and could have used a fresh pair of legs. Why Nyassi wasn’t introduced in the game’s last 10 minutes is a mystery to me. He could be a starter.

  26. @Madmax

    I love how you copied and pasted your comment from another post. You must be really proud of yourself for using snappy words like “wilting” and “Sub-par”. In fact, I’m surprised you don’t have your own soccer blog to rival Ives with on the money commentary like that. Good show!

  27. AS a Sounders fan watching last nights game I’d have to jump on the Rolfe bandwagon too.. the guy had an immediate impact .. he shoulda started

  28. I was one of the people that thought the Fire would be one of the top 2-3 teams in MLS this year. They’re certainly the deepest. But they keep missing opportunities to grab points. Fans of the Fire can say “yeah, but we’re undefeated” or “when we play better we’ll…” but good teams grab the points when they’re there for the grabbing. Just look at Columbus last year–except for about 2 matches, every time a match was drawable, the Crew drew, when it was winnable they grabbed the 3 points. That’s what really good teams do. And in a very competitive East, losing opportunities to grab points will come back to haunt you.

    And I was very impressed by the Sounders. After an early impressive run (almost every team in the league will have a hot streak), what they’ve done since then has impressed me more: how they’ve dealt with adversity (losing players to red cards that throws your game strategy out the window, losing Keller, the Montero allegations)–they don’t lose focus, they don’t fall apart, they play their game. Those are signs of a very good team.

  29. Fire keeps on dropping points and will wind up losing a road game in the East final again. WTF. This team is too talented not to be the best team in the league. Get it together Hamlett.

  30. i agree ben, start rolfe, problem solved….

    Thorington played pretty poorly IMO…. start Rolfe on the right and lets go to work….

    great result for Sounders, poor result for the Fire… but as Patagonia stated, even though we are playing poorly we are still getting results…. its only a matter of time before our team fixes its problems and starts rolling in the victories…

  31. Fantastic result for the Sounders. The headline for the game should be more about them earning a tie than the Fire losing a win.

    As the President of the “I hate Blanco” fan club, I have to say he played very well and had so many dangerous balls delivered into the box. It was also very ironic in extra time when he was complaining to the ref that the Sounders were wasting time when they had a player on the ground injured. I’m pretty sure he invented the wasting time idea, along with the diving idea…

    Anyways, it was a great game to watch though, and I thought the Sounders showed a lot of grit and heart to earn that draw and a point on the road.

  32. The sliver lining for the Fire is that they are playing pretty bad right now but still haven’t lost a game. Once they regain form they’ll be even better.

  33. Good result for Sounders. Sigi gave Blanco way too much room. Sigi has a bigger problem though. His offense is wilting. Zakauni, and Ljungberg are in poor condition, neither can play 90, and his Colombian striker Montero appears to be sulking.
    Zaukani couldn’t keep up with Tim Ward’s runs down the right flank which isolated Sturgis way too often. One might wonder if Zak’s problem with quick loss of energy is not from poor conditioning but a medical problem?
    Sigi will have to come up with other ideas as these three attackers are sub-par right now. Where will the attack come from?


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