The Seattle Sounders got a first-half goal from Clint Dempsey but conceded four times, eventually falling 4-1 in their road matchup against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday.
Striker Nemanja Nikolic opened the scoring on a hotly contested first-half penalty kick and added the final tally in the 76th minute, while David Accam and Luis Solignac also netted to pace Chicago.
Dempsey equalized the contest with his fourth goal of the season in the 28th minute, but the three second-half goals would ultimately seal the result.
The contest was open throughout the first half, with both sides generating dangerous changes within the first 10 minutes. Midfielder Nicloas Lodeiro had a shot deflect off the crossbar and Dempsey narrowly missed a close-range header for Seattle, while Nikolic had an opportunity on a breakaway that forced Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei into a reaction save for Chicago.
Chicago would grab the first-half lead in controversial fashion in the 25th minute after Sounders defender Tony Alfaro was whistled for a foul by referee Nima Saghafi in his own penalty box, giving Accam a chance from the spot. Frei would save the ensuing attempt but both sides were whistled for encroaching on goal and Nikolic would get to retake the shot despite the Sounders’ fervent protests. Nikolic then converted the retake, giving the hosts the game’s opening goal.
Dempsey would equalize just three minutes later, however, off a perfectly weighted strike from just outside the penalty box that slotted past diving Chicago ‘keeper Matt Lampson, knotting the contest up at 1-1 scoreline that would hold heading into halftime.
But Accam would start Chicago’s second-half flurry in the 60th after collecting a feed from midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and finishing past Frei to give the Fire the 2-1 advantage. Solignac would add insurance in the 73rd and Nikolic would add his second of the night just three minutes later, sealing the 4-1 final.