BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (May 13, 2017) – The Chicago Fire routed defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC 4-1 in front of a sellout crowd and a national television audience on Saturday at Toyota Park.
Nemanja Nikolic recorded a brace while Luis Solignac and David Accam accounted for the Fire’s other two goals. The four-goal output was the first for Chicago since a 5-4 win against the New York Red Bulls on May 10, 2014. Additionally, the sellout was the Fire’s first since Sept. 19, 2015 against Orlando City SC.
Chicago took the lead 25 minutes into the match with a penalty kick from Nikolic. For a second-consecutive week, Nikolic won a spot kick. Accam lined up the initial attempt, but Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei blocked the shot. However, but the Fire were awarded a re-take and Nikolic capitalized with a shot to the lower right corner.
Seattle equalized 2 minutes later thanks to a left-footed shot from Clint Dempsey. The U.S. Men’s National Team veteran teed up from 25 yards out and curled his shot over the outstretched arms of Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson to make it 1-1.
The Fire’s second goal came from an extensive build-up near the hour-mark. At the tail end, Drew Conner laid a pass off for Michael de Leeuw after dribbling to the end line and holding off his defender with some nifty footwork. De Leeuw navigated a give-and-go with Bastian Schweinsteiger, then played a diagonal ball backward to the center of the box where Accam was waiting for a touch and an emphatic finish. The tally was Accam’s fourth of the season.
Solignac added his name to the scoreline in the 73rd minute to extend Chicago’s lead to 3-1. Brandon Vincent sent a teasing cross to the near post where Nikolic was able to acrobatically redirect the ball toward Solignac at the back post. Solignac crushed the ensuing volley off a Sounders FC defender and into the net for his second goal of the campaign.
Nikolic capped the scoring with a close-range finish 3 minutes later. Center back Johan Kappelhof made a daring run through Seattle’s midfield, and slid a pass to Accam near the top of the box. Accam played an unselfish pass back toward the center of the box, and Nikolic took care of the rest. The goal was Nikolic’s eighth of the season, moving him into a tie with Mike Magee (2013) for most goals by a Fire player in his first 10 games with the club.
The Fire return to action on Wednesday, May 17 against the Colorado Rapids at Toyota Park. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. CT on CSN Chicago Plus.
MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire (4-3-3, 15 pts.) 4:1 Seattle Sounders FC (2-4-4, 10 pts.)
May 13, 2017 – Toyota park
CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (penalty kick) 25
SEA – Clint Dempsey (Cristian Roldan) 28
CHI – David Accam (Michael de Leeuw, Bastian Schweinsteiger) 60
CHI – Luis Solignac (Nemanja Nikolic, Brandon Vincent) 73
CHI – Nemanja Nikolic (David Accam, Johan Kappelhof) 76
SEA – Stefan Frei (caution) 27
CHI – Matt Lampson (caution) 48
CHI – Brandon Vincent (caution) 78
SEA – Joevin Jones (caution) 87
SEA – Joevin Jones (ejection) 89
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson, Drew Conner (Jonathan Campbell 71), Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent, Dax McCarty ©, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw (Matt Polster 71), David Accam (Daniel Johnson 89), Nemanja Nikolic.
Subs not used: Stefan Cleveland, Michael Harrington, Arturo Alvarez, Djordje Mihailovic.
Shots: 15; Shots On-Goal: 6; Saves: 1; Fouls: 15; Corners: 3; Offsides: 3
Seattle Sounders FC: Stefan Frei, Cristian Roldan, Chad Marshall, Tony Alfaro, Joevin Jones, Harry Shipp (Will Bruin 71), Osvaldo Alonso © (Alvaro Fernandez 77), Gustav Svensson, Clint Dempsey (Brad Evans 81), Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro.
Subs not used: Bryan Meredith, Oniel Fisher, Zach Mathers, Seyi Adekoya.
Shots: 12; Shots On-Goal: 2; Saves: 2; Fouls: 13; Corners: 3; Offsides: 3