Seattle Sounders 1, Chicago Fire 0: Gritty win means Sounders finally in playoff position

SEATTLE - Chad Marshall scored a goal in the 24th minute to pace the Seattle Sounders to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday evening, vaulting the Sounders into Western Conference playoff position for the first time in 2016.

With the win, Seattle (12-13-5) moved to 41 points on the season, tying them with the Portland Timbers for the sixth and final playoff spot in the West. The Sounders own the tiebreaker with more wins on the season, and still have a game in hand heading into the final month of the season.

The Sounders have now won three matches in a row and are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games.

The goal was Marshall’s fourth of the season, matching a career high he reached in 2008 and 2009 with the Columbus Crew. Marshall slammed a wide open header past Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson off a corner kick from Andreas Ivanschitz, staking the home side to the 1-0 advantage the defense was able to hold for its second shutout in three games.

Forward Jordan Morris almost doubled Seattle’s advantage in the 40th minute off a chip feed from Ivanschitz that found him behind the Chicago backline. But Johnson made managed to make a reaction kick-save to deflect Morris’ shot away.

Neither side managed to crack the scoresheet in the second half, although Chicago’s David Arshakyan almost knotted what would have been a devastating stoppage time tally that Sounders ‘keeper Stefan Frei managed to deflect away with a diving save, allowing Seattle to hang on for the all-important midweek result.

Wednesday’s match was not entirely positive for Seattle, however, as star midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro was issued a yellow card in the 57th minute that means he will be suspended for the Sounders’ next match due to accumulation.

The Sounders face a short turnaround before that next match, a Cascadia Cup clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Sunday that will afford the Sounders with an opportunity to continue their recent climb up the Western Conference standings.