The Fire have squandered opportunities at home in front of big crowds in the last seven years but didn't waste the chance to make an impression in front of a national television audience this time. Seattle has been in less than top form early this season but they're still formidable as defending MLS Cup Champions despite the slow start. Chicago showed that they will be difficult to beat at home with a convincing second half and 4-1 defeat of one of MLS' showcase franchises.
The Fire were the beneficiary of some dubious officiating decisions in the first half but played well enough to come away from the first 45 minute with an earned 1-1 scoreline. The second half was all Fire, however. After a 48th minute Matt Lampson giveaway, Seattle conceded control of the match and Chicago kept their foot on the pedal after taking the lead at the hour mark.
Putting teams away at home has been a sore spot for the Fire over the course of most of the last seven seasons but this team apparently finally seems to be learning to win at Toyota Park. Another winnable match lies ahead against Colorado on Wednesday night but it may be hard to top the combined atmosphere and result of the best Fire home game since the Blanco era.
GK Matt Lampson (5) - In his second consecutive start Lampson wasn't tested much again. Seattle didn't threaten much outside of the first twenty minutes although they did muster 9 shots. His only save of the night came late in the game but there were numerous shaky moments throughout. His failed touch in the 48th almost resulted in disaster before he was forced to take a yellow card to stop the play. Seattle hit the cross bar early on a deflected shot and Dempsey's goal came from an unchallenged look.
D Brandon Vincent (6) - Good effort on both ends. His well placed cross in the 73rd resulted in the Fire's third goal and ensured the result.
D Joao Meira (6) - He didn't put up big numbers but Seattle's attackers didn't get much in the way of clear looks despite enjoying some possession in the first half.
D Johan Kappelhof (6) - Teamed with Meira to limit Lodeiro, Morris, Dempsey in the middle. Looked like a #10 a run up the field that led to the fourth goal in the 76th.
D Drew Conner (5.5) - Had issues early with Jones on the right side but settled in once Paunovic made an adjustment and got him some help. Misread at least two plays where he should have come forward on passes from Kappelhof that ended up harmlessly rolling out of bounds. Participated in the highlight reel passing sequence that led to the go-ahead goal in the 60th with some fancy footwork.
M Dax McCarty (6.5) - Was caught up the field a bit and out of position on Dempsey's goal but he was instrumental in the Fire's control of the second half. His 94% passing was higher than the team's 88% and e continues to show why he was so important to NYRB's success over the last several seasons. Seattle had more of the ball in the first half but they were drubbed in the second.
M Bastian Schweinsteiger (6.5) - After three road games in which his influence waned, he was back in form for this match. Instrumental in reversing the possession advantage and flow of the game in the second half and keeping the team going forward after taking the lead. Played a part in the picturesque passing sequence that led to the Fire's second goal.
M David Accam (6.5) - His passing numbers (67%) don't reflect in this match but he was involved in much of the Fire's dangerous play. Started the play that led to the PK call. Missed the PK and had it nullified for a second consecutive week. Finished beautifully in the 60th to give the Fire the lead and also involved in the play for the fourth goal. Active throughout the entire night.
M Michael de Leeuw (6.5) - Sacrifice a little bit offensively in the first half as he dropped back on the right side to provide help for Conner. Effectively shut off Seattle's best line of attack in the right side. Assisted on the go-ahead goal in combination with Schweinsteiger, Conner, and Accam.
M Luis Solignac (6.5) - Played a solid, if unspectacular field game and finished the third goal in the 73rd after beating Seattle defenders to the spot. Completed 95% of his passes.
F Nemanja Nikolic (7) - Finishing chances is what the Fire brought him in to do, and he's doing exactly that. Converted the PK in the 25th after creating the opportunity himself, in what appeared to be some embellishment. His touch in the 73rd deflected to Solignac for the third goal, and he scored the fourth himself in the 76th.
M Matt Polster (6.5) Replaced de Leeuw in the 70th and helped control the match after the Fire took the lead ten minutes earlier. Drew a foul from Jones after beating him to the ball, which resulted in his second yellow in two minutes late in the game. Looked good in his first game action of the season.
D Jonathan Campbell (6) - Subbed in for Conner in the 70th as the Fire looked to put away the game. Chicago scored twice shortly after the substitutions and Seattle essentially waved the white flag after the third goal.
M Daniel Johnson (5.5) - Came on for Accam in the 88th. Only had three touches but he was active.