The effort may have been an improvement over the previous road match in New York but the result ultimately remains the same. After a decent start in absorbing pressure and countering in the first fifteen minutes or so, the Fire collectively failed to adequately cover one of the league's most effective set piece targets....on a set piece. Chad Marshall has made a career of heading balls from corner kicks, yet there he was in the 24th minute completely unmarked with a free look at goal.
That was all Seattle needed, although they came close on several other occasions to hold off a Chicago side that couldn't find the net and struggled to threaten in the final third. The Fire amassed two shots on target in ten attempts while giving up the ball for long stretches of time. Seattle held the ball 71% of the time in the first half despite the perceived improvement on last Friday's play.
"I'm really disappointed and sad for our guys because we did a huge job to play against one of the bst teams the way we wanted to play," said Veljko Paunovic in the post game interview. "I think the game plan went well, but unfortunately we conceded that goal. It hasn't happened too many times this year on set pieces."
The Fire have a knack for finding a way.
GK Sean Johnson (5.5) - Had three saves and a couple of them were of some degree of difficulty. The 11th minute stop on Lodeiro, a bigger save on Morris in the 40th, and another quality stop against Velez in the 90th were the highlights. Little he could do against Marshall on the unmarked header in the 24th.
D Johan Kappelhof (5) - Had a handful of good recoveries but only after scrambling to get back after losing his man initially.
D Jonathan Campbell (5) - Fair effort against fellow-rookie Jordan Morris, who did get behind him for one clear chance in the 40th. Part of the group in the vicinity of Marshall on the header.
D Joao Meira (5) - Led all players with some good numbers - 8 interceptions and 5 clearances but he's the player in front of Marshall who seemingly failed to step into the space that the big centerback attacked for the goal.
D Brandon Vincent (5) - Seemed to struggle to get involved getting forward and passing still needs improvement.
M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - The Fire's best passer at 38 of 49 but Seattle did control the ball and the midfield for much of the game. The second half was better in terms of strictly possession (Seattle ended up with a 60-40 lead overall), but Fire attackers didn't get much opportunity to challenge in the Seattle end. Cocis did have one of the shots on target, a long strike in the 31st that was easily handled by Frei.
M Matt Polster (5.5) - Like Cocis, his passing totals were decent (37 of 42) but there wasn't much in terms of getting the ball forward in dangerous spots.
M Arturo Alvarez (4.5) - After a good run of form over the last 6-8 weeks, Alvarez wasn't quite as effective in this match. Ran himself and teammates out of a handful of chances by either hesitating or dribbling himself out of danger. Involved in one good combination play in the 38th and provided a decent cross through the box with no one there in the 61st.
M Michael de Leeuw (4.5) - Largely invisible for most of the game although he was playing in the underneath role that should be the spearhead of the attack. Passing numbers for the attackers show just how little the Fire managed to generate offensively. de Leeuw completed 10 of 16 passing attempts in the "playmaking" role.
M David Accam (4.5) - Like the other front runners, he didn't see much of the ball. Completed 11 of 14 passes. His most dangerous moments of the match came in the 31st and 38th minutes when both of his shot attempts were blocked by the Seattle defense. A long distance try in the 11th was high of the goal.
F Luis Solignac (5) - Created the chance for Accam in the 31st with a good move to get free on the right side and made the play again in the 38th feeding Kappelhof for a pass that led to another blocked Accam shot.
M John Goossens (5) - Replaced Alvarez in the 66th. Didn't really get involved much until the final five minutes of the match. A cross found Arshakyan for a chance in the 85th and and long attempt in the 89th was wide.
F David Arshakyan (4) - Had the Fire's best chances of the night and failed to show that finishing touch that made him a danger in the Lithuanian first division. His headed attempt wasn't close in the 85th, he scuffed a clean look at goal when a loose ball fell to his feet in the 91st although it counted as a shot on goal, and another try from a loose ball in the 92nd was blocked.
- Make plans for November. The Fire have now been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
- The Fire will now travel to Columbus to face the Crew on Saturday.