Twenty-seven shots, three goals, a saved penalty, and an own goal in the eighty-ninth minute all contributed to the thriller at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night.
The Fire came into the game as a road team facing a team they had never won a match against – in fact, the only team in Major League Soccer to never have beaten the Seattle Sounders FC – and with the task at hand of dealing with what was by far the largest crowd the team has been – or will be – faced with this season, and a team that has surged up the standings after a poor start, entering the game as the second seed in the Western Conference.
The Fire managed to get the start they wanted by Mike Magee buried a pass from Dilly Duka into the back of Michael Gspurning’s net, but would fail to beat the Seattle keeper again.
The Sounders looked poised to tie the match just minutes later when Bakary Soumare was called for a hand ball inside the box, resulting in a Seattle penalty kick. Osvaldo Alonso would take the kick, and Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made an excellent save to preserve the lead. Seattle eventually would find the equalizer in the fortieth minute, and Soumare would later get called for a second hand ball. Fortunately for the Fire, the second offense was outside the box and resulted in only a free kick, rather than a penalty.
Regardless of the Neagle goal, the Fire entered half-time with a tied score on the road, and appeared to be in fairly good position to earn at least one point in standings. The road side would continue to play hard and prevented the Sounders from finding the back of Johnson’s net for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately, the team was unable to stop themselves from scoring on their own keeper, as Gonzalo Segares’s own goal in the eighty-ninth minute of play vaulted the Soounders into sole possession of second in the Western Conference.
The Fire again failed to capitalize on an opportunity to finally move into a playoff spot, and still sit two points behind both Houston and New England with only three home matches remaining.
The Fire return to action on Wednesday, September 11 in a midweek tilt north of the border at Toronto FC. The match will be televised on My50 Chicago and is slated for a 6:30 PM CDT start time. Of course, the match will also be broadcast in Spanish on La Ley 107.9 FM.