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Sounders overcome Shipp brace to douse Fire



For five seasons, the Seattle Sounders seemed short a star striker, seemed lacking the depth to overcome international duties, suspensions, and myriad injuries.

But everything seems to come up Emerald City in 2014. So far, anyway.

On the road against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night, the Sounders raced out to a 2-0 first-half lead and held on for the 3-2 win in a wild, card-filled affair in front of 16,416 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

With the victory, the Sounders (10-3-2, 32 points) hold a seven-point lead over Real Salt Lake for the best record in the league. Seattle has also won eight of its last 10 matches since rallying to tie the Portland Timbers in the first week of April.

The Fire (2-4-8, 14 points), playing their third game in seven days, were still without injured forward Mike Magee. The Sounders were missing Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin to international duty, and lost Obafemi Martins just before the half.

With both teams down to 10 men, Lamar Neagle scored what ended up being the game-winning goal with just 12 minutes to play. The Washington native┬ásettled a Kenny Cooper header in the box before burying a right-footed shot into the far netting for the 3-1 lead. It was Neagle’s fifth goal of the season after scoring a career-high eight goals in 2013.

The goal seemed to put the match to bed, but Harrison Shipp had other ideas—as it seems he often does.

In the 82nd minute, Shipp collected a pass just outside the penalty area, took a touch to create space between Seattle’s center backs, and buried a shot past goalkeeper Stefan Frei. It was Shipp’s second goal on the night and his fifth goal of the season. An early rookie of the year favorite in his first season out of Notre Dame, Shipp also has four assists through just 13 games.

With only two minutes remaining in regulation, Fire defender Gonzalo Segares found Juan Luis Anangano in space at the penalty spot, but Frei dove to his right to preserve the lead.

Martins posted the Sounders to a 2-0 first-half lead before being ejected for picking up his second yellow card of the match just before halftime.

Martins opened the scoring in the 31st minute, stepping into a deflected cross from right back Brad Evans, turning at the corner of the 6-yard box, and rifling a shot past goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Six minutes later Martins earned a penalty kick after referee Chris Penso yellow-carded former Sounder Jhon Kennedy Hurtado for a two-footed, studs-up tackle near the penalty spot.

It was Hurtado’s second yellow of the night, giving Seattle a brief advantage. Martins easily beat Johnson on the penalty for his eighth goal of the season.

Shipp put Chicago on the board in the 41st-minute, gathering a pass in the attacking third, weaving through a slew of Sounders, and finding the back of the net from just inside the 18-yard line.

Martins was ejected just a few moments later for an incident that occurred off-camera as the Sounders tried to restart the match after the goal.

Looking forward, neither team has a league match until July, after the World Cup break. Both sides do play U.S. Open Cup matches on June 18.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. Soccer is supposed to be a clean game, less physical contact and violence than what is allowed. The ref blew his authority position, and the players are disrepectful in return. I see them as clumsy, unable to play within the confines of non-contact rules. This is a long term issue with soccer in the US in my opinion, having played since 1971; and it has gotten worse over the last 20 years. They need to realign the game and the players before we see another Steve Zakawani incident…

  2. I was at the game, and Martins was the instigator. He shoved Fire players several times earlier in the game before any Fire players shoved him, starting with Ritter, as Ritter was trying to get the ball to place it for a free kick. On the red card incident, he punched Benji Joya in the mouth. As the ref was ejecting Martins, Joya came over to the Fire sideline to rinse his mouth, and you could clearly see that we was spitting out blood.

    • You should watch the earlier shoving incident again, he was pushed first four times in a row by my count in about a 10 second span. Would like to see video of the Joya incident, still havent been able to see it yet.

      • Just rewatched the earlier shoving incident. It could be argued larentiwicz and him pushed each other at the same time, you might even be able to argue Martins initiated it a bit. But Segares and Joya clearly come out of nowhere and push Martins without him even knowing they’re there.

      • I was also at the game. Martins was acting stupid from the beginning of the match. First came the incident with Ritter which he totally instigated. Then after Shipp’s first goal, Joya was carrying the ball back to the center kickoff spot and Martins clearly punched him in the mouth. My guess is that Martins tried to punch the ball out of Joya’s grasp, missed the ball, and wound up hitting Joya in the face. Only Martins knows what motivated him, but Joya was definitely bleeding.

  3. FWIW, According to the match report, Oba was sent off for a straight red, violent conduct offense, not a second yellow. Not sure what that means for any extra suspension stuff (or the DC overturning it). Didn’t seem to get picked up by video anywhere, so hard to tell what happened.

    • Ya I have been looking for video of what happened, I’ve not seen a single piece of evidence one way or the other. Fire clearly were trying to get Martins worked up and it worked, dirty play from them but it is what it is and he shoudn’t have reacted like he did. There was one incident in the 7th minute where Martins kept trying to walk away and everytime a new Fire player arrived they shoved him, happened like four times in a row, was disgraceful to see from the Fire. I’m beginning to wonder if my hate towards Lenhart over the last couple of years was misplaced and it should be at Yallop.

  4. If someone gets injured, I’d rather have Harry Shipped up to the USMNT rather than LD. Kid is next level.

    • Wouldn’t go that far, but him and Gil are at the top of my ‘next cycle’ list in MLS. Zardes is another guy I am excited about, among others.

  5. The Fire had their chances, point blank chances and failed to convert. Amarikwa despite great hustle has no finishing touch. In fact much of the Fire was working hard and the home crowd recognized that. Seattle is a better team right now. Seagares is showing his age especially when passing. Overall an entertaining game, but this is indicative of the Fire’s season. Opportunities abound but no one that can finish. (Do they make Shipp a bigger part of the offense?) With Mcgee out, the club is lacking a leader upfront.


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