The Chicago Fire defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 at Soldier Field on Saturday night behind a goal from Rafael Czichos in the first half.
Following a difficult loss away to Nashville SC on Wednesday, the Sounders came out on the front foot as Jordan Morris nearly found the opening goal in the 7th minute. Nicolás Lodeiro slipped the ball to Morris near the halfway line and the Homegrown winger drove into the box, drawing a flying reflex save from goalkeeping Gaga Slonina.
Chicago responded with a quality chance of their own just ten minutes later as Kacper Przybylko capitalized on a miscued clearance and forced Stefan Cleveland to dive quickly to his right to produce the save.
The Fire then found the eventual game-winning goal in the 23rd minute as Federico Navarro lofted a ball into the box for Rafael Czichos to flick his header inside the far post.
Seattle manufactured a host of half chances throughout the second 45 minutes, only to see their shots blocked, cleared off the line, or narrowly miss the target. The best opportunity of the second half came in the 88th minute when Lodeiro slipped a perfectly-weighted pass into space for Morris, who was denied by another smart stop from Slonina.
One silver lining from the past two road matches has been the steady play of backup goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland. With Stefan Frei out due to Health & Safety protocols, Cleveland deputized well against Nashville and provided another solid shift on Saturday night. Seattle struggled in the minutes after conceding the opening goal, and the Sounders goalkeeper supplied a clutch skate save in the 26th minute to keep the Rave Green in the game. In addition to some really impressive stops, he was strong coming out for crosses and smart in his distribution.
As Seattle pushed for the equalizer, Schmetzer swapped Léo Chú for Will Bruin and moved Morris centrally to play striker. The Mercer Island native's pace through the middle caused problems for the Fire throughout the second half. With Raúl Ruidíaz sidelined due to a hamstring strain, moving Morris to striker is a potential option as the Sounders look to get back in the win column.