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Scouting Report: Sounders looking to sail to another win in the Windy City

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The Sounders aim to make it three wins in three tries when they hit the road for the first time in 2019.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

What You’ll Watch

The Seattle Sounders hit the road for the first time this season as they head to Bridgeview, Illinois to take on the Chicago Fire. This will be the one and only regular season meeting between these two teams and this is the second Eastern Conference team the Sounders will have faced in the first three weeks of the season.

The Sounders currently sit at the top of the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference standings with a record of 2-0-0 (six points in two games played; 3.0 ppg) while the Fire sit in eighth place in the East with a record of 0-1-1 (1 point in two games played; 0.5 ppg). The Sounders are coming off a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids after two goals in the first eight minutes of the game. Chicago is coming off a 1-1 draw against Orlando this past Saturday.

This will be 14th all-time regular season meeting between these two clubs, with Seattle holding a 7-2-4 advantage overall, with 16 goals scored and 13 conceded. In Chicago, err Bridgeview, the Sounders are 3-2-2 with eight goals scored and nine conceded.

Tale of the Tape

Seattle

Leading Goal Scorer: Jordan Morris, Kelvin Leerdam and Raul Ruidiaz, two each

Assist Leader: Nicolas Lodeiro and Victor Rodriguez, two each

Chicago

Leading Goal Scorer: CJ Sapong, two goals

Assist Leader: Przemysław Frankowski, one

Injury Report, Suspensions and International Duty

Chicago

Out: N/A

Questionable: Andre Reynolds II (thigh injury)

Suspensions: Jorge Corrales (red card, 3/9)

International Duty: N/A

Seattle

Out: N/A

Questionable: Henry Wingo (left groin pain)

Suspensions: N/A

International Duty: N/A

Match Officials

REFEREE: Joseph Dickerson

AR1: Frank Anderson

AR2: Eric Boria

4th: Baldomero Toledo

VAR: Kevin Stott

AVAR: Peter Balciunas

What to Watch

  • Controlling possession. In their first two games, the Sounders pinned back the opposition by possessing the ball more than 60 percent of the time, largely in the offensive end. That’s a big reason why they’ve been able to get their two fullbacks so involved in the offense, directly contributing to four of their six goals. But those games were at home against subpar opponents. This is the first time the Sounders will be trying to do that on the road and facing a team that likes to possess the ball themselves. The Fire have held 55 percent of combined possession against the LA Galaxy on the road and at home against Orlando City.
  • Room to roam. It’s not just possession that has made the Sounders so effective, it’s their ability to transition that has kept defenses unable to settle in and defend in blocks. Victor Rodriguez and Brad Smith have both been allowed to pick up the ball at pace and run at defenders; Jordan Morris has rarely needed to touch the ball while standing still; and Nico Lodeiro has found time and space to pick out runners. The Fire will no doubt be looking to slow down the Sounders’ attack, but will need to do it with a backup left back after Jorge Corrales was red carded in their last match.
  • Danger up top. None of Chicago’s attackers have gotten off to great starts, but there’s plenty reason to worry about the Fire’s attack. Nemanja Nikolic has scored 39 goals over the past two seasons, CJ Sapong has scored in both games this year, and 20-year-old Djordje Mihailovic has already started carving out a place for himself as a USMNT central midfielder. Containing the Fire’s attack will be the Sounders’ biggest defensive test yet.

How to Watch

Date/Time: Saturday, March 16 @ 10:00 AM PT

Location: SeatGeek Stadium — Bridgeview, IL

TV: JOEtv

Streaming: YouTube TV

Radio: 950 KJR AM (English), El Rey 1360AM (Spanish)