Sounders FC

Weakened Sounders enter dip in schedule

A trainer looks at the shoulder of Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who was injured in a collision in the first half against DC United on Friday, July 3, 2015, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
A trainer looks at the shoulder of Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who was injured in a collision in the first half against DC United on Friday, July 3, 2015, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The Seattle Times

CHICAGO FIRE (4-9-3, 15 POINTS) VS. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (10-7-2, 32 POINTS)

5:30 p.m. Saturday, Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois

TV: JOEtv. RADIO: 97.3 FM

HEAD TO HEAD: Seattle leads the series 6-0-3 overall and 3-0-2 at Chicago. The Fire is the only MLS team never to have beaten the Sounders (other than 2015 expansion teams Orlando and New York City). Last season, the Sounders won 3-2 at Chicago. This is the only scheduled meeting this season.

Seattle is tied with Vancouver atop the Western Conference standings. Chicago is last in the league. … The Fire is on a five-game winless run, while the Sounders ended a three-game losing streak last week with a 1-0 win over D.C. United. Tyrone Mears’ late strike was voted MLS goal of the week. … Chicago has a league-low 18 goals and is the only MLS team averaging under a goal per game. … The Fire is second-to-last in MLS goal differential (minus 6). … Chicago is 4-4 at home, and the only team in the league without a home draw. Seattle is 3-5-1 on the road. … The Sounders will be without forwards Clint Dempsey (U.S. national team) and Obafemi Martins (leg), midfielder Marco Pappa (Guatemala national team), defender Brad Evans (U.S. national team) and probably No. 1 goalkeeper Stefan Frei (shoulder). Newly acquired midfielder Eric Friberg will not play. Dempsey and Martins share Seattle’s goals lead with seven, and Dempsey leads with six assists. … Chicago forward Mike Magee and forward/midfielder Patrick Nyarko are available after lengthy rehabs from injury. However, defender Joevin Jones is on international duty with Trinidad & Tobago. Forward/midfielder David Accam (hamstring) is questionable. … Accam and Jeff Larentowicz share the Fire’s goals lead with four. Harry Shipp leads with five assists. … Seattle defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is one caution away from a yellow-card suspension. … Chicago averages 15,590 per home match. The league average is 21,023. … The forecast calls for temperatures around 80 with a 20 percent chance of rain. … The referee is Allen Chapman.

QUOTE: “It’s a team that every game that they’ve played in has been very close. ... Basically, they’re in every game. It’s going to be a dogfight.” – Sounders coach Sigi Schmid on the Fire.

NEXT: Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m. July 18, CenturyLink Field.

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