The Seattle Sounders visit the Chicago Fire for their first and only meeting of the 2019 regular season. Here’s everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 10 a.m. PT at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill.
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised on JOEtv and YouTube TV.
HOW TO LISTEN: The match will air on 950 KJR AM and El Rey 1360 AM.
2019 RECORD AND STANDINGS: Sounders: 2-0-0 (6 points, 1st West), Fire: 0-1-1 (1 point, 8th East).
FORM GUIDE (most recent first): Seattle: WW, Chicago: DL
ALL-TIME HISTORY: The Sounders are 7-2-4 all time against the Fire, including a 3-2-2 mark on the road.
PREVIOUS MEETING: The Sounders battled the Fire to a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field on June 23, 2018. Aleksandar Katai opened the scoring with a long-range missile in the 9th minute before Clint Dempsey grabbed the equalizer in the 22nd minute. The goal was Dempsey’s final one before retiring in August.
CHANGING THE NARRATIVE: A major point of emphasis for the Sounders entering the 2019 campaign was a desire to reverse recent history and get off to a hot start in the league. With two consecutive wins out of the gate, Seattle has amassed more points this March than it did in the three previous years in March combined.
373.2 DEGREES KELVIN: Sounders right back Kelvin Leerdam has been on fire to start the season, scoring in each of the first two matches. He earned a spot on the Week 2 MLS Team of the Week for his efforts in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids.
RED-HOT RUIDÍAZ: Speaking of on fire, forward Raúl Ruidíaz has picked up where he left off in 2018, bagging goals in back-to-back wins over Colorado and FC Cincinnati. The Peruvian poacher has tallied 10 goals in his last seven matches for the Sounders and has scored at least once in all seven.
HIT ‘EM WITH THE LEFT: The left side of Seattle’s attack his been nearly unstoppable through the first two matches, with Víctor Rodríguez and Brad Smith forming a devastating tandem. In the win over FC Cincinnati, the dynamic duo repeatedly combined down the left flank as Rodríguez pitched in two assists. While neither ended up on the scoresheet against the Rapids, the pair combined for three key passes.
Combined passing map for Rodríguez and Smith against the Rapids.
BREAKFAST WITH THE SOUNDERS: Saturday’s match kicks off at 10 a.m. PT, marking the earliest start time all season. Grab a cup of coffee and watch the Rave Green play their first road match of 2019, all before noon.
NIGHTFALL IN THE MORNING: On Saturday, the Sounders will compete in their new secondary kit for the first time. Known as “Nightfall,” the black-and-pink uniform combo was unveiled late last month at Zulily headquarters.
STOPPING SAPONG: MLS veteran and first-year Fire forward CJ Sapong has scored twice in as many matches to open the season, including a stoppage-time equalizer last weekend against Orlando City SC. Playing alongside former MLS Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolić, Sapong has made the most of his early opportunities with his new club.
FAMILIAR FACES: Midfield partners under Gregg Berhalter with the U.S. national team, Cristian Roldan and Djordje Mihailović will go toe-to-toe on in Chicago for control of the center of the pitch. Both players occupied free-eight roles for the Stars and Stripes but will be employed in different tactical setups on Saturday.