Chicago Fire stun Seattle Sounders with 2-1 victory in humid conditions

Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC
Photo of Robert Beric courtesy of Matthew Stith/Major League Soccer.

Orlando, Florida — One shot on goal against the Chicago Fire. It was uncharacteristic for the Seattle Sounders, but that’s what the final statistics showed. The Sounders only launched one shot on goal, which went in the Chicago Fire’s goal, courtesy of Handwalla Bwana.

It wasn’t enough for the Sounders to muster up any points. Instead, the Sounders had a lackluster day on offense and defense. The Chicago Fire ended up with the spoils, shocking the Sounders with two goals.

Chicago and Seattle met up for the first match of the MLS season this year. The scoreline was the same, but the result flipped. Jordan Morris entered the match in halftime in both games, and did change the tune for Seattle in the MLS is Back Tournament match. It was Morris that assisted Bwana’s goal in the 77th minute.

However, Chicago stole the spotlight. In the 52nd minute, Robert Beric completely dismantled defender Xavier Arreaga and outpaced Yeimar Gómez Andrade. Beric calmly slotted the shot past goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who came off his line in an attempt to smother the ball.

The game-winning goal came from Mauricio Pineda, though.

Pineda didn’t do much, but he ended up losing Arreaga on the play. For the Ecuadorian defender, it was a rough day on defense and he was pulled out of the match shortly after Pineda’s goal. However, Pineda found himself open at the far post on a corner kick, kicking the ball at an angle and sending it past Frei.

Chicago now has three points after a late entry to Group B — due to some shuffling after positive COVID-19 tests from Nashville SC. Meanwhile, Seattle is now left scrambling for points, with two games under their belt.

Three Takeaways from Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders

  • Sluggish Sounders: It’s definitely hot and humid in Florida, and these 9 a.m. kickoff times aren’t helping that. However, Seattle looked particularly slow and sluggish, especially Arreaga and Nicolas Lodeiro. A gifted passer, Lodeiro was sloppy against a Fire team that could have been beaten. Lodeiro had one good cross at the end of the match, but nobody was on the end of it, despite poor marking from Chicago.
  • A new CB pairing? It’s time for it. I’ll get into this more during my longer editorial, but it’s time for Arreaga to hit the bench. Ever since coming to MLS, Arreaga has struggled. He’s customary to receive yellow cards on a regular basis and his defense has been poor in the tournament. The goals weren’t Frei’s fault. While it is tough to blame one player, Arreaga certainly deserves a lot of the blame.
  • Handwalla’s time to shine: Fresh legs and speed. That’s what Handwalla Bwana brings to the table. He made an immediate impact on the pitch. It stunned me to see coach Brian Schmetzer start recent Homegrown signing Shandon Hopeau over Bwana, who has slightly more experience. However, if Bwana continues to make an impact, it won’t be long until he’s a starter.

What’s next in Group B? 

For the first time, the Vancouver Whitecaps will hit the stage at the MLS is Back Tournament tomorrow. Vancouver will take on the San Jose Earthquakes, who split points with Seattle in a 1-1 draw last week. The match will begin at 9 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, Chicago will enjoy a lengthy break before taking the pitch against San Jose on Sunday at 8 p.m. Right after that match, the Sounders will look to build some momentum against Vancouver at 10:30 p.m.

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