Sounders top Fire for first MLS win of 2011

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Seattle Sounders could certainly use a healthy Fredy Montero back in the starting XI. In the striker's absence, however, Mauro Rosales has quickly emerged as a credible threat with the ball.

So much so, it would seem, that Coach Sigi Schmid might have a bit of a dilemma on his hands come later this week should Montero be deemed fit to play in Seattle's next match against Philadelphia. Rosales has played well enough in his past two games — including Saturday afternoon's 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire — to earn strong consideration for the starting lineup, meaning someone would have to come out.

All the Sounders wanted to do Saturday, however, was win their first MLS game of the season, and with the help of Rosales and solid play from the midfield, goals by Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White and three big saves from Kasey Keller, they did just that.

Seattle opened the scoring in the 7th minute with Rosales crossing to White, who split defenders Dasan Robinson and Jalil Anibaba for a header that beat Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Not two minutes later, Chicago answered with good passing from forward Gaston Puerari to right wing Patrick Nyarko to forward Diego Chaves, who got position on Sounders defender Leo Gonzalez and scored.

Chaves, a Uruguayan national signed in February, was a difficult matchup for the Sounders' defenders for much of the afternoon at Qwest Field.

Seattle's midfield was collectively strong, with Brad Evans getting himself free for chances, Osvaldo Alonso playing his usual physical style, Rosales leading the attack and Erik Friberg playing perhaps his best match of the season. Zakuani, playing more of a forward with White as the only true striker in the lineup, made a run down the left side and beat Anibaba for a shot that sound the net in the 25th minute.

The Sounders never scored again, but neither did the Fire, thanks to Keller.

Keller had earlier this season been the keeper on two of the league's Goals of the Week awardees, one from New York's Juan Agudelo and the second last week from Khari Stephenson of San Jose. This coming week, however, he might end up with a Save of the Week.

In the 58th minute, the Fire's Marco Pappa took a free kick that was deflected by Seattle's James Riley to Chaves, whose shot Keller stopped. In the 61st minute, Keller stopped Puerari's open shot from in front, and in the 66th minute, Keller was there to clear a shot off the bottom of Pappa's boot that was dangerously close to going in.

Nyarko had to come off in extra time with what looked like a right lower leg injury after a hard tackle from Sounders rookie Servando Carrasco, who was cautioned though the Fire lobbied for a red card. 

The Sounders moved to 1-2-2 on the season while the Fire, playing for the first time since March 26, is now 1-1-1. Chicago began a stretch of three MLS matches in an eight-day span Saturday.

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20 Responses to Sounders top Fire for first MLS win of 2011

  1. PseudoNEmous Commenter says:

    First.

    …is what Sigi said when asked which win of the season this was for his team.

  2. Supsam says:

    Im not a Sounders fan but i do enjoy their victories every once in a while. Everytime they win, we dont have to hear Sigi make lame excuses game after game after game

  3. JimmyJoe says:

    Excuses such as…

  4. Soncho says:

    The Fire flushed yet again

  5. Travis says:

    Did anyone else laugh at that horrendous dive by Oduro? Then proceed to cringe when the ref actually fell for it?

  6. Supsam says:

    Why do we have to play such hard teams in the beginning of the schedule? Why do we start week 1 with 2 games? Why do we play in the west coast and then have to fly all the way to the east coast? Only reason LA won was because counterattacking is the only way to win in this league! Why does san jose have to water their pitch right before kickoff? blah blah blah blah

  7. Supsam says:

    all these excuses and the season has just started….dear Lord!

  8. Soncho says:

    I’d rather listen to him..

    “Im not a Sounders fan but”.. lolz

  9. Jeremy says:

    I didn’t laugh. It was a disgrace. Both Oduro and Chaves should have been carded for their ridiculous dives.

  10. Matt says:

    stop bitching Servando Carrasco tackle was worse then either “dive”

  11. CA says:

    I think the Sounders offense is starting to find its legs.

  12. Travis says:

    Probably, but that isnt an excuse for diving like you guys did all game. Nice job trying to deflect though. Giving him a red there would do nothing, we would just have had to defend with 10 men for 3 minutes, congrats.

  13. The Wild Mushroom says:

    The Fire can’t win or tie when it’s a fair fight.

  14. jason says:

    bitchy sounders fan complaining about diving montero flops around game in game out!

  15. joe says:

    Rosales has been the best Sounder on the pitch for 2 matches in a row. Of course he should start. But Sigi’s Brad Evans love fest probably stands in the way.

  16. Mikey says:

    Ugh, this.

    Evans is a nice guy and all with tremendous work rate. But on the talent Totem pole in midfield, he’s at the bottom. Friberg should distribute in the middle, paired with Alonso. Rosales out on the right with Montero and White up top. I just hope Montero can build the chemistry with White that Rosales has. Before his injury, Montero did not yet have that chemistry.

  17. James says:

    Rosales will start when Montero comes back, probably on the wing in place of Friberg. Neither he or Fernandez has been particularly good on the wing, I think because the system really wants some speedesters who can run at the defense on the wing, as opposed to technically skilled guys. Alonso’s already got the DM position handled, and Montero more or less has a lock on the Withdrawn Forward/CAM role… which leaves Friberg, Evans, and Fernandez to fight it out for the box-to-box CM role. I think both Friberg and Evans have proven they deserve the spot, with a slight nod toward Friberg.

    I don’t think it’ll matter too much, though. Between suspensions, injuries, and international play, whatever the first pick 4 of midfielders will be, it’s unlikely we’ll have any of ‘em together for a good period of time. Whoever loses out on that position battle should still see plenty of first-team action, even if not necessarily at their preferred position.

  18. A. Ruiz says:

    No way, any other day the Fire score of that Chaves rocket that Keller dove and tipped away. They’re definitely in the playoff hunt in the East, it’s a good team.

    And Yes, Sounders fans cannot call out other teams for diving as long as they have Montero and who was that that flopped in the box vs Houston? He even got a yellow, was tha Evans?

  19. laurie says:

    Chicago spend more time on their backs than the entire Craigslist Escort section.

  20. Jeremy says:

    Some of the dives were frustration, Seattle kept on getting away with hard fouls all game. Three studs up stomps, two on the captain Pause, and only one got a card. Plus they were brutalizing Pappa and not even going for the ball half the time. And Montero makes Puerari look like Conor Casey.