Preview: Seattle Sounders FC look to extend win-streak against Chicago Fire

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Seattle Sounders
PHOTO: Raul Ruidiaz and Victor Rodriguez celebrate Ruidiaz' goal against the Colorado Rapids last weekend at CenturyLink Field. Photo courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.

Chicago, Illinois (March 14, 2019) — The Seattle Sounders FC are a new-look team from last year. No, they didn’t toss out last year’s roster and build a brand new team. Instead, the Sounders are off to a hot start.

Last year, this wasn’t the case. Seattle picked up three consecutive losses last year to start the season. This year, after victories against FC Cincinnati and the Colorado Rapids, Seattle is looking for third consecutive wins. The club’s next opponent is the Chicago Fire.

Preview: Seattle Sounders FC look to extend win-streak against Chicago Fire

Meanwhile, Chicago has begun the season with a loss against the LA Galaxy and a draw against Orlando City SC. Highlighting Chicago’s roster, of course, is Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German legend has started both matches this season. Meanwhile, the Fire picked up C.J. Sapong in the offseason.

Sapong is off to a hot start for Chicago, scoring two goals in two matches. Also, David Ousted is the team’s goalkeeper and is looking for his first clean sheet of the season.

Seattle went back-to-back with the same starting lineup — and same bench — against FC Cincinnati and the Rapids. Head coach Brian Schmetzer could very well do the same thing right before the international break.

Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC
2019 MLS Regular Season
SeekGeek Stadium
March 9, 2019 — 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN+

What To Watch For

Raúl Ruidíaz

What else can be said about Peruvian international and Seattle Sounders FC goal-scoring machine, Raúl Ruidíaz?

In the last seven matches, extending all the way back to last season, Ruidíaz has scored at least one goal. While the return of Jordan Morris has certainly taken over the spotlight — for good reason — Ruidíaz still finds his way to beat goalkeepers. His arrival to Seattle last year sparked the team to a nine-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, Ruidíaz isn’t just about himself.

He’s working well with Morris and Nicolás Lodeiro up top. His communication and coordination is getting better with Víctor Rodríguez. He’s putting shots in the back of the net which make fans go wild. Sometimes, it seems like teams forget that he’s the talented striker he is. Do teams forget to watch video on him?

Chicago has their hands full with Morris, Lodeiro, Rodriguez and, of course, Ruidíaz. He has a great chance to put another goal past Ousted to continue his goal-scoring streak.

The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

For the third week in a row, there’s only one player listed in this department. Henry Wingo is still listed as questionable with a left groin injury. He has not been on the match day squad this year.

Chicago Fire

Chicago also has an equally small injury list. Andre Reynolds II, a defender, is listed as questionable with a thigh injury.

Last Meeting: June 23, 2018

As part of the MLS Eastern Conference, the Fire and Sounders only meet once a year. Last year, in Seattle, the Sounders managed to draw with the Fire.

Aleksandar Katai earned the first goal of the match, in the 9th minute. However, in the 22nd minute, now-retired forward Clint Dempsey slipped in the equalizing goal. Will Bruin and Harry Shipp assisted Dempsey’s goal.

The match was a goalkeeper affair, with Richard Sánchez making seven saves for the Fire and Stefan Frei compiling six saves.

Prediction: Seattle 2, Chicago 0

Give another clean sheet to Frei.

To my own amazement, I have been correct on 2/2 predictions this season. It’s incredibly early into the year, but I want to keep the ball rolling. Seattle will likely see another goal from Ruidíaz, extending his goal-scoring streak to eight matches. Morris had a good game against Colorado last week and Kelvin Leerdam has been a surprising goal scorer this season.

However, give the second goal to Rodríguez. He had an off-game last week after a strong opening weekend performance. He’ll want to swing a goal in to gain some momentum and confidence.

PHOTO: Raúl Ruidíaz and Víctor Rodríguez celebrate Ruidíaz’ goal against the Colorado Rapids last weekend at CenturyLink Field. Photo courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.

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