The Seattle Sounders are coming off their most impressive victory of the season and will head into the World Cup break after facing the only MLS club to never beat them.
The league-leading Sounders will try to continue displaying their top form Saturday night in Chicago against a Fire squad that has struggled to score without Mike Magee.
"We've been a good team on the road, so if we can get three points and get ourselves to 32 points, that would be nice," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid told the club's official website. "But we want to end on a positive result so that we go into the break with that good feeling."
Seattle (9-3-2) ended Real Salt Lake's season-long unbeaten streak with Saturday's 4-0 home victory.
Gonzalo Pineda gave the Sounders a first-half lead from the penalty spot before Marco Pappa, Chad Barrett and Obafemi Martins added second-half goals.
Pineda and Barrett, who will be facing his first MLS club in Chicago, have both scored in consecutive games to help deal with the absence of Clint Dempsey.
"I talked to Sigi, and he said since Dempsey was going to be gone for World Cup, there were going to be opportunities to step in," Barrett said. "In the practice weeks leading up to it, I was going to make sure that my fitness was where it needed to be."
The Sounders are also without defender DeAndre Yedlin, who is with Dempsey and the rest of the U.S. national team.
Seattle is 6-0-3 all-time against the Fire across all competitions, including 2-0-2 in Chicago with two goals conceded.
The Fire (2-3-8) earned their league-high eighth draw with Wednesday's 0-0 final in Colorado. They've managed just one goal in three matches, though the road clean sheet was something to be proud of after the Rapids had scored seven times in consecutive wins.
Still, coach Frank Yallop wasn't impressed.
"Really happy with the point, not pleased with the performance," Yallop told the club's official website. "Having said that, I thought the guys really fought tonight. Effort was brilliant, absolutely fantastic. We didn't play well but you can't always play well."
It also happened to be their first shutout of the year, ending goalkeeper Sean Johnson's career-high run of 13 matches without one dating to last season's finale.
"I'm happy for everybody, not just the defenders in front of me but all the guys on the field that worked over 90 minutes to grind and get the result," said Johnson, who is 0-5-1 against the Sounders. "Now we have to look to build and keep going and look forward to Seattle on Saturday and look to get another result."
Chicago has been without Magee, the reigning MLS MVP, for three matches due to a calf strain and he remains questionable along with midfielder Logan Pause (hamstring tightness).
Seattle has won the last three meetings after a 2-1 home victory Sept. 7. Magee scored in the loss and has three goals in his last four matches against the Sounders dating to his time with Los Angeles.
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- Chad Barrett
- Sigi Schmid