Seattle Sounders start strong, finish with late heroics over Chicago Fire

Seattle Sounders FC
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Bridgeview, Illinois (March 16, 2019) — The luck of the Irish might have been on the Seattle Sounders side Saturday. After starting strong against the Chicago Fire, Seattle needed some late-match heroics.

For that, Raúl Ruidíaz stepped up to the plate. The Peruvian striker scored his third goal of the season in the 88th minute. Ruidíaz’ goal now brings his goal-scoring streak to eight consecutive matches. 

Seattle Sounders start strong, finish with late heroics over Chicago Fire

Meanwhile, all four members of the “front four” tallied a goal in SeatGeek Stadium. Víctor Rodríguez tallied the first goal of the match in the eighth minute. The goal was the Spaniard’s first of the season. Meanwhile, only minutes later, Jordan Morris notched his third goal of the season. Morris also assisted Rodríguez’ goal.

After some attempts from the Chicago Fire, which resulted in plenty of diving saves from Stefan Frei, the Sounders were able to put three up on their opponents. Rodríguez earned a penalty kick, after a foul by Fire defender Marcelo in the box. Meanwhile, it was Nicolás Lodeiro stepped up to the mark.

At first, Lodeiro’s kick smacked off the crossbar. However, Lodeiro was able to grab his own rebound, heading it past David Ousted.

Despite the third goal, momentum started to swing toward the Chicago Fire. Less than 10 minutes after Lodeiro’s penalty kick, Raheem Edwards caught Cristian Roldan and Kelvin Leerdam off guard, sneaking past both and putting a goal past Frei.

Edwards entered the match in the first half, with Chicago bringing him on to replace the struggling Nicolas Hasler.

Meanwhile, Chicago added some late hope with an 84th minute goal from Fabian Herbers. He entered the match in the 71st minute for Nemanja Nikolic. However, four minutes later, Ruidíaz put the nail in Chicago’s coffin, giving Seattle three points. 

Seattle now owns an undefeated record with three victories in three matches. Seattle has now given up three goals, but has scored 10 goals in three contests. Brian Schmetzer’s squad will have next weekend off, due to the FIFA international matches, and come back for an attempted fourth-win in a row against Vancouver.

Three Takeaways 

  1. Jordan Morris is on fire: This shouldn’t shock anyone. Jordan Morris missed the entire season last year and there was no doubt that he would come back and make noise. However, even the Sounders faithful could have never imagined a start like this. Morris not only recorded a goal in this contest, but he notched an assist. His partnership with his other attackers is truly blossoming.
  2. Kelvin Leerdam almost had another: In the race for the Seattle Sounders Golden Boot award is an unlikely suspect. Kelvin Leerdam, the club’s right back defender, has scored against FC Cincinnati and the Colorado Rapids. He almost had another goal in the second half, but it was whistled offsides. VAR was called in to check the call, but the call remained the same. Either way, Leerdam is having a strong start to the season.
  3. Brad Smith redeemed himself in the second half: The first half was one to forget for Brad Smith. The Australian left back was struggling to keep the ball in Seattle’s favor. He was giving away free kicks and throw-ins throughout the first half. However, in the second half, Smith was the whole reason Ruidíaz’ goal happened. The pace that Smith showed to out-run two defenders was top-notch.

PHOTO: Jordan Morris celebrates his goal against the Chicago Fire in the 15th minute at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois, on March 16, 2019. Morris recorded a goal and an assist. Photo courtesy of Adam Eberhardt/Seattle Sounders FC.