BRIDGEVIEW, ILLINOIS - Making its 2019 road debut on Saturday afternoon, Seattle Sounders FC (3-0-0, 9 points) defeated the Chicago Fire (0-2-1, 1 point) by a final score of 4-2 at SeatGeek Stadium, moving Brian Schmetzer's side to 3-0-0 for the first time since the club's inaugural MLS season in 2009. Víctor Rodríguez, Jordan Morris, Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz did the scoring for Seattle, with the club wearing its new Nightfall kits for the first occasion. For the time being, Sounders FC sits atop the both the Western Conference table and the Supporters' Shield race with a maximum of nine possible points for the club's opening three games.
Rodríguez opening the scoring for Seattle in the eighth minute, converting a low, driven cross from Jordan Morris to the back post, with the Spaniard finishing cleanly past David Ousted. The goal was Rodríguez's first strike of the new season, accompanying his two assists in the first three MLS games of 2019. Since joining Seattle in the 2017 summer transfer window, the Spanish winger now has nine goals and 12 assists in all competitions for the club.
The Rave Green doubled their advantage just seven minutes later, this time with Morris playing the scoring role. The Mercer Island native continued his fine form since returning from last season's knee injury, converting a beautifully-placed through ball from Lodeiro. For Morris, the goal was his third strike of the season, good for the team lead. Similarly, the assist was Lodeiro's team-leading third of the season, and his 39th regular-season assist since joining the club midway through 2016. No player in MLS has surpassed Lodeiro in total assists since the Uruguayan came to Major League Soccer.
After the halftime break, Seattle earned its third goal of the day in the 49th minute, this time through a penalty kick that Rodríguez drew. Lodeiro stepped forward to claim the spot-kick, and while his initial chipped attempt looked to have careened off the crossbar, the ball clearly crossed the line to make the scoreline 3-0. The tally was Lodeiro's first goal of 2019, and his 20th regular-season strike for Seattle.
Raheem Edwards and Fabian Hebers scored in the 56th and 84th minutes, respectively, for the home side to reduce the lead to 3-2, but Ruidíaz sealed the victory for Seattle in the 88th minute to match Morris for the team lead with three goals in 2019. As Chicago pressed for an equalizer, the Rave Green scored on the counterattack, with Brad Smith making a long run up the left flank and crossing to Ruidíaz, who took one touch to avoid a charging Ousted and put his shot into the net to make the final score 4-2.
Following today's contest, Sounders FC heads into the FIFA international break. Five Seattle players are set to represent their countries over the next week, including Nicolás Lodeiro (Uruguay), Gustav Svensson (Sweden), Jordy Delem (Martinique) and United States Men's National Team players Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan. Brian Schmetzer's side then resumes MLS play with its first Cascadia Cup match of the year in Vancouver on Saturday, Match 30. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. PT at BC Place, with broadcast coverage being provided by JOEtv, YouTube TV, Sports Radio 950 KJR AM and El Rey 1360 AM.
- With a win today in Chicago, Sounders FC moves to 3-0-0 for the first time since its 2009 inaugural season in MLS. For the time being, Sounders FC sits atop the both the Western Conference table and the Supporters' Shield race with a maximum of nine possible points for the club's opening three games.
- Spanish winger Víctor Rodríguez scored his first goal of 2019 in the eighth minute of play, accompanying his two assists in the first three MLS games of the year. Since joining Seattle in the 2017 summer transfer window, the Spanish winger has nine goals and 12 assists in all competitions for the club.
- Forward Jordan Morris scored in the 15th minute of play. For Morris, the goal was his third strike of the season, tied with Ruidíaz for the club's scoring lead. Including the MLS Cup Playoffs, Morris now has 20 goals for his hometown club. A native of Mercer Island, the Seattle Academy product signed for Sounders FC prior to the 2016 season. Morris missed the entirety of last year due to season-ending knee injury suffered in CONCACAF Champions League play.
- Assisting on Morris' goal, Nicolás Lodeiro earned his team-leading third helper of the season. He now has 39 regular-season assists since joining the club midway through 2016. No player in MLS has surpassed Lodeiro in total assists since the Uruguayan came to Major League Soccer. Sacha Kljestan is second on that list with 31 assists since July of 2016.
- With his late strike, Ruidíaz matches Morris atop Sounders FC with three goals in 2019, with the Peruvian scoring in each fixture this season. Dating back to last season, Ruidíaz has scored in five consecutive regular-season matches, tying a club record previously set by Fredy Montero (2009) and Obafemi Martins (2015). Ruidíaz now has 13 goals in 17 MLS regular-season appearances after leading the club with 10 strikes last season. Including postseason, the striker has found the net in the last eight games he has appeared in and has 16 goals in 19 appearances overall.
- With his penalty-kick goal in the 49th minute, Nicolás Lodeiro scored his first strike of 2019, and his 20th MLS regular-season tally. Including postseason play, the Uruguayan playmaker has 25 goals for Seattle.
- With today's victory in Bridgeview, Seattle is now 8-2-4 all-time against the Chicago Fire, including a 4-2-2 record at SeatGeek Stadium.
- Saturday's match marked the second time Sounders FC has recorded four goals this season, following a 4-1 win over FC Cincinnati in the season opener on March 2. Seattle currently leads MLS with 10 goals scored this season and a plus-seven goal differential. Its 10 goals three games this season also match a club record for most goals scored in a three-match span.
- Saturday marked the debut of Sounders FC's new Nightfall kits. The club is now 1-0-0 in the new uniforms.
Seattle Sounders FC 4 - Chicago Fire 2
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Venue: CenturyLink Field
Referee: Joseph Dickerson
Assistants: Frank Anderson, Eric Boria
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo
VAR: Kevin Stott
Weather: 39 degrees and sunny
SEA - Víctor Rodríguez 8'
SEA - Jordan Morris (Nicolás Lodeiro) 15'
SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (penalty) 49'
CHI - Raheem Edwards (C.J. Sapong, Przemyslaw Frankowski) 56'
CHI - Fabian Herbers 84'
SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz (Brad Smith) 88'
CHI - Raheem Edwards (caution) 64'
SEA - Cristian Roldan (caution) 77'
CHI - Fabian Herbers (caution) 90'+2'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Brad Smith; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris (Harry Shipp 86'), Nicolás Lodeiro - captain (Román Torres 72'), Víctor Rodríguez (Nouhou 90'); Raúl Ruidíaz
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Jordy Delem, Handwalla Bwana, Alex Roldan
Total shots: 10 (Rodríguez, 3)
Shots on goal: 7 (Three players, 2)
Fouls: 10 (Svensson, 3)
Offside: 3 (Three players, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Lodeiro, 3)
Saves: 10 (Frei, 10)
Chicago Fire - David Ousted; Diego Campos (Brandt Bronico HT), Marcelo, Johan Kappelhof, Nicolas Hasler (Raheem Edwards 35'); Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Djordje Mihailovic, C.J. Sapong; Nemanja Nikolic (Fabian Herbers 71')
Substitutes not used: Richard Sanchez, Grant Lillard, Amando Moreno, Cristian Martinez
Total shots: 25 (Mihailovic, 5)
Shots on goal: 12 (Edwards, 3)
Fouls: 16 (Edwards, 4)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Mihailovic, 3)
Saves: 3 (Ousted, 3)