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Fire vs. Sounders: Highlights, stats and quotes

Sounders finish off their pre-World Cup schedule with another win, bringing them to 32 points.

As far as weird games go, this one was up there. Yes, the Seattle Sounders won, beating the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Saturday. But how they got there was strange, to say the least.

Obafemi Martins' first memorable moment was missing a wide open net. His final memorable moment was being red-carded while fighting for the ball following a Fire goal. In between, he scored a beautiful goal, drew a penalty and a red card and converted said penalty for his eighth goal of the season. Even with all that, the Sounders still needed Lamar Neagle to score his fifth goal of the season and some huge saves from Stefan Frei in order to claim the three points.

It's hard to say it's a feel-good win, but that we can even say that about getting three points on the road says a lot about how this season has gone. It took the Sounders 21 games to get to 32 points last year (actually that game got them to 34), six games more than they've played so far this year.

They're also seven points clear of their closest competition for the Supporters' Shield race. The first half hasn't gone perfectly -- the team has not defended particularly well and they've dealt with a fair share of absences -- but they are in much better position than even the most optimistic among us could have hoped.

So take a breath. Enjoy the World Cup and U.S. Open Cup for a couple weeks, and steel yourself for what should be a fun second half of the season.

Scoring Summary:

SEA - Obafemi Martins 31'

SEA - Obafemi Martins (penalty) 38'

CHI - Harrison Shipp (Quincy Amarikwa) 41'

SEA - Lamar Neagle (Kenny Cooper, Marco Pappa) 78'

CHI - Harrison Shipp (Quincy Amarikwa) 82'

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Jalil Anibaba, Leo Gonzalez; Lamar Neagle (Zach Scott 90+1), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Micheal Azira 79); Chad Barrett (Kenny Cooper 66), Obafemi Martins.

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Aaron Kovar, Sean Okoli, Cam Weaver.

TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Martins 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Martins, Neagle 2); FOULS: 13 (Gonzalez, Pineda 3); OFFSIDE: 5 (Barrett 3); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Pappa 4); SAVES: 3 (Frei 3).

Chicago Fire - Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Grant Ward (Victor Pineda 76), Jeff Larentowicz, Chris Ritter (Juan Luis Anangono 63), Benji Joya (Alex 70); Harry Shipp, Quincy Amarikwa.

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Patrick Ianni, Greg Cochrane, Matt Watson.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Larentowicz 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Shipp 2); FOULS: 19 (Amarikwa 6); OFFSIDE: 2 (Amarikwa, Palmer 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Shipp 7); SAVES: 2 (Johnson 2).

Misconduct Summary:

CHI - Chris Ritter (caution) 8'

SEA - Obafemi Martins (caution) 8'

CHI - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution) 24'

CHI - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (ejection) 37'

SEA - Obafemi Martins (ejection) 42'

CHI - Quincy Amarikwa (caution) 90+2'

SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (caution) 90+2'

SEA - Stefan Frei (caution) 90+3'

Referee: Chris Penso

Referee's Assistants: Corey Parker, Peter Balciunas

4th Official: Kevin Terry, Jr.

Attendance: 16,416

Time of Game: 1:56

Weather: Cloudy and 77 degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

Seattle Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid

On the match:

"You know, I thought we made the game harder than we needed to make it. Obviously we are in a good position with a two goal lead playing a man up, and then we get a man thrown out. At that point, we gave up a goal, you know, I think Shipp took both his goals really well, he finished them well, one left footed, one right footed, and they were good finishes, but they were plays we should have stopped a bit earlier. Hats off to him and his finishes, so it made the game tight. Kept it tight all the way through."

What changed when the Fire scored, making it two to one:

"It picked up their spirit. They are obviously playing at home so they want to make a good impression in front of their fans and they want to do well. We've had a good run, played well, and we have a few guys that are banged up out there and so guys are just thinking of making it through. Now we have a 5 day break. Maybe they were thinking of that."

Seattle Sounders Midfielder Marco Pappa

On the physical match:

"I am pretty happy with the group. We were good tonight. We played a strong game. Red cards and many fouls but at the end of the day we have the three points. We are pretty happy about that."

On his return to Chicago:

"I was excited to see to see old faces, old friends, old fans. It was for sure a lot of feelings on the pitch but Chicago has been a big part of my career."

Seattle Sounders Midfielder Lamar Neagle

On his game winning shot:

"It has been something I've been trying to do a little bit more, have some composure in the box, that kind of show. When it was coming down, I did want to hit it first time but it wasn't bouncing right. I didn't want to rush it. Got it down and then tried to curl it in the back."

On the funny bounce it took before he struck the ball:

"I was trying not to panic. It took a long time to come down the first time, then it bounced weird, and just took it off my knee and tried to settle it as much as I could before I took a shot."

On the Fire goalkeeper being screened:

"Yes, I think he was screened. It was definitely behind the defender so he wouldn't have been, or he didn't see it before it was going in. Sean Johnson is a great goalkeeper so luckily the defender was there to block his view."

Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop

On general feeling of the team heading into the World Cup break

"Points-wise, not great. Spirit-wise, I thought tonight was good. Difficult circumstances with the red card and all the stuff that went on tonight. What I liked about the team tonight: we fought, and we stuck up for each other. That's the positive out of it. The negative: we didn't get a result at home, obviously. Frustration is probably the word I would say right now."

On if he had saw the reason for Obafemi Martins' sending-off

"No, I didn't, I haven't looked at a replay. I haven't seen it yet."

On expecting officiating controversies

"I don't know. I thought both teams came out to try and win the game, which is important. Some decisions for us didn't go the right way, and you get frustrated with all that stuff; it spills over to your play a little bit. I'm not going to fault the effort of our players at all; we're not quite able to figure it out yet. We have good moments; we have patterns of play that are good, we look like we're a good side, and then we falter and get punished. It's frustrating. I hate to use the word, I keep saying it, but the balance is not quite there yet. No excuses with the three games in the week, but it's never easy. But I thought we kept going until the end; we could have gotten something out of the game. Obviously that third goal killed the game a little bit. Quincy [Amarikwa] had a great chance I think at 2-1, and then Juan [Luis Anangono] had a good chance at 3-2. That's football. That's the tough part about it. And I'm sitting there just frustrated, and you guys are fans of us, as frustrated as you are; I'm sitting there going, ‘why can't we get it sorted out?' But signs are good, young guys are doing okay. Harry [Shipp] did good tonight, so hopefully we can turn the corner."

On creating chances and goals in play

"We created some good chances. If you look at the experience on their team, it's a pretty experienced team; and we're a little bit younger and naive, and all the guys we have out...there's no excuses. But I'm not going to fault my guys; I thought they fought right to the end, tried to get something out of the game, but just couldn't quite get something out of it. I'm not going to turn to the excuse of ‘we got guys out,' because, I thought the players that played tonight played well for us. Big, important thing is, take the punishment, if you like, and move on. You have to. We have an Open Cup game next, hopefully we can get through that round; I think there's another round of Open Cup, and then we get to get back into MLS. So we're still in the picture, which is always good; although we have to start winning games, obviously. But the progression of the team playing-wise, I thought, showed some fight tonight, which is important."

On the penalty call and ensuing red card against Fire defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado

"Anytime you go with two feet, it alarms referees for some reason. I think that Jhon had no other opportunity to block the ball, and to go with his feet sort of showing. It didn't catch the player; give a penalty kick, but don't give a sending-off. Or give a sending-off, but no penalty kick, whatever you want to do, but I just think the double thing was just, for me, not a great decision. I haven't seen it, but it looked like Jhon was just trying to block the ball; it wasn't malicious, it was low, and it looked like he was trying to get his feet sorted out. But, again, the rules are what they are, so I can't really argue with it. But I struggled a little bit all night with the officiating. I thought it was a little bit one-way, but that's my opinion."

On the World Cup break serving as a chance to get healthy

"You have two main guys out, Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee are out at the moment, so you have to help them get ready for play coming in the next couple of weeks. We have the Open Cup, which is in our break. Alex is not 100%; obviously played a little bit tonight, but he's not close to what he can play like at the moment. So we have a little bit of time to get our guys healthy and hopefully start the next MLS game out with a win, because we need to start winning, obviously, to have any chance to do well this year. But I think the emergence of the young players is my focus, and I think they're doing okay. We're not wishing the season away at all; I make sure that we're ready to play each game and ready to go. I thought again, we didn't flop and buckle under in this game, which we could have done against a good side. Each game we've played, other than maybe a couple, we've been right there, right in the match, right and ready to go; but the naiveté of our team, and it's not a slight on them, it's just reality, we can't figure it out quite yet. It's frustrating as a coach, and the players are frustrated. I think that for us, it's making sure that we build on it, and make sure we get positive with it."

Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire Midfielder

On tonight's loss:

"This may be the toughest so far. You might want to put it up there with the Real Salt Lake game, but they came at us - Seattle didn't. They were content with their lead waiting for us, but somehow they still got the better of us which is difficult."

On where the team goes from here heading into the break:

"We have to decide. Everyone has to go home this week and figure out if they're content with where we are, think about if they're content coming in after games saying, ‘Oh well, we did alright - we didn't score or we didn't finish that chance,' or they can make a difference, they can make a change. I don't know what happened around the league, but we're at the bottom of the conference - we have to make a move and we have to stop being content with half chances and one goal losses at home."

On the team's effort:

"It's not the effort, it's not the effort. It's critical moments in the game when players make a difference or don't make a difference, and at the moment we're not making that difference.

On how to make that difference:

"We can't be content. We can't come in and say, ‘We did alright.' There's no attendance award, we have to come and we have to do something."

On the goals for the remainder of the season:

"I think the goal is always to make the playoffs. We can't come in and say we're going to be the MLS champs - we have to work for it, we have to fight for it. We have to fight to get into the playoffs period. Then you can move on and rewrite your goals. At the moment - sure we've hung with teams, sure we've played well against top competition, but we haven't gotten over that hump. Like I said it's not about sprinting harder, running faster or jumping higher, it's not about that because we do that. It's about the critical moments when we have to make a difference, that's what we have to focus on."

On the Open Cup as an opportunity to turn things around:

"Winning is contagious, I think. You catch it and you want it. We haven't won, it's almost like we enjoy coming in and being content with what's going on. So, sure we win the first round and we play another game before we play a MLS game, so sure we can get the wheels moving, we can get guys healthy and can start pushing on. But you can see we're in games. It's not about personnel; it's just about those little things. Against different competition in the Open Cup maybe we can sharpen those edges."

Quincy Amarikwa, Chicago Fire Forward

On the chemistry with Harry Shipp:

"I think Harry and I are building good chemistry up-top. It's translating on the field and it's turning into goals. We just need to figure it out as a team now, making sure we can prevent teams from scoring multiple goals on us so we can come away with three points. Tonight we can build from it, learn from it and move on."

Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire Forward

On play leading up to the goal, scoring and the result:

"I was trying to show up in places to find the ball, but it was hard. I was getting frustrated, I think everyone was getting frustrated, with our lack of keeping it. Right before the first goal I started feeling a little more comfortable, kind of feeling the touch, and then I hit a good shot. After that the momentum switched and I think we were back in the game. In the second half we gave up that third goal, which killed us, but I think that besides that we really kept the ball, we possessed the ball. We did things we know we can do. We had a chance to tie it up at 2-2 and to make it 3-3, but unfortunately it didn't go in. I scored two goals, but I'm not going to be happy unless I score two more and we win 4-3. That's the difference in this feeling and difference in New York when we won 5-4."

On the chippy play during the game:

"I think we have to keep our focus. There was a lot of extracurricular stuff going on after every tackle, there were people complaining, but I think you just have to keep your head and focus. I think we did a good job in the second half of just moving the ball and playing simple - keeping the ball and interchanging especially through the midfield. It was hard for them to keep the ball. I think if we had done that all 90 minutes it might be a different story."

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