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Three things to know about the Seattle Sounders opponent this week, the Chicago Fire

LA Galaxy forawrd Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) of Sweden and Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof (4) of Netherlands, vie for a ball during an MLS soccer match between LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire in Carson, Calif., Saturday, March 2, 2019. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
LA Galaxy forawrd Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) of Sweden and Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof (4) of Netherlands, vie for a ball during an MLS soccer match between LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire in Carson, Calif., Saturday, March 2, 2019. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) AP

The Seattle Sounders are on the road for the first time this season, facing the Chicago Fire in a very rare Saturday morning affair in the Windy City. Here’s three things you need to know about the Fire.

Chi-Town close calls

Soccer can be a cruel sport and in 2019, the Chicago Fire have experienced that fine line between winning and losing. In the season’s opening matchup with the LA Galaxy, the Fire jumped out to a one-goal lead in the 49th minute by C.J. Sapong. They could not hold that lead as the Galaxy would score in the 68th and 80th minute to pull out the 2-1 victory.

Last week the Fire needed more dramatics from Sapong as he scored the game-tying goal literally in the final seconds of stoppage time and down a man against Orlando. One can make a case that Chicago should be 2-0-0 or 0-0-2.

Soaring Sapong

The Fire needed a little more punch to their offensive attack after dropping from third in the MLS standings in 2017 to 10th last season, which is why they acquired Sapong, 30, on a trade with Philadelphia. The former MLS Rookie of the Year has made his time in Chicago count so far accounting for both of Chicago’s goals this season.

“I’m very fortunate to have been on the score sheet the last two games,” Sapong told reporters after the game. “But I personally feel within my game, how I’m cohesively working with the team there’s a little bit on a way for me to get there but yes it’s good to get on the score sheet and I’m going to go and build off that.”

Overwhelming advantage but no payoff

On the surface, a loss and a draw to start the season can be frustrating. When you peel back the layers of how the Fire have played so far, it only adds to the frustration. They are in the top 10 of possession percentage with 55.8 percent according to whoscored.com. The Fire offense enters the the defensive third 30 percent of the time and while that is the same number as the Seattle offensive attack, the payoff is what lacks.

Both of Chicago’s goals have come from open play while Seattle has scored in a variety of both open play and counter attacks. Add in the first of two Chicago goals of the season was due in part to an awful error on LA Galaxy’s part.

Chicago’s made furious second half pushes in both games with possession reaching the 60 and 70 percent mark. With just two goals to show for it, it’s somewhat disappointing for Chicago supporters.

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