SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders conceded an early opener but Clint Dempsey got an equalizer in the 22nd minute, allowing the Sounders to salvage a 1-1 draw in their home matchup against the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night.
Aleksandar Katai got the Fire on the board first with a distance shot in the ninth minute, but Dempsey equalized with his first goal of the season 13 minutes later. The score would stay that way the rest of the contest, allowing the sides to split a point apiece.
Katai bagged the shocking opener for Chicago shortly after kickoff after he collected the ball and unleashed a well-placed shot from just outside the area that snuck by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, staking the visitors to a 1-0 lead inside of 10 minutes.
Dempsey found the leveler, however, capping off a beautiful sequence with a point-blank finish into an open net off feeds from Harry Shipp and Will Bruin, knotting the contest at 1-1. Neither side would manage to find the net the rest of the way, with that scoreline holding as the final.
Saturday’s tally marked a breakthrough in more than way for Dempsey, who bagged his first goal of 2018 with the 22nd-minute leveler. He also made a bit of franchise history as well, as the goal now officially leaves him tied with Fredy Montero for the most goals in Sounders MLS regular season history with 47. He probably would have preferred it come in a victory, but it was nonetheless another historic milestone for a player who has had plenty of those over his career.
Dempsey celebrates after scoring his 47th regular season goal for the Sounders / Mike Fiechtner
Seattle’s attacking struggles through the first part of their MLS season have been well-documented and Head Coach Brian Schmetzer will certainly be disappointed that they couldn’t muster more than one goal against what has been a leaky Chicago defense. But there have been signs of progress in recent weeks, mainly thanks to the team getting healthier. Víctor Rodríguez and Harry Shipp each put in solid shifts on Saturday, with Shipp picking up a secondary assist on Dempsey’s goal and Rodríguez looking spry throughout the evening. A bit of a damper was put on that development late, however, as Shipp had to leave the contest in the 72nd minute after suffering a non-contact injury.
TIMBERS COMING UP
The Sounders will spend much of the month of July on the road, but before that they have one more match to care of in the friendly confines of CenturyLink. A huge Cascadia Cup rivalry matchup with the Portland Timbers is next on the docket, with Seattle looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat that they suffered at Providence Park back on May 13. Form and most other external factors tend to go out the window in high-stakes derbies like this, so get ready for an eventful affair come next Saturday.
CHI - Aleksandar Katai (Brandt Bronico) 9'
SEA - Clint Dempsey (Will Bruin, Harry Shipp) 22'
CHI - Bastian Schweinsteiger (Time wasting) 44'
CHI - Jonathan Campbell (Unsporting Behavior) 61'
CHI - Elliot Collier (Simulation) 85'
SEA - Cristian Roldan (Unsporting Behavior) 87'
SEA - Nouhou (Unsporting Behavior)) 90'+1'