Sounders out of Seattle rain, into Chicago Fire
The Chicago weather forecast for Saturday night is 82 degrees, muggy, with a strong chance of thundershowers. Just another challenge from mother nature for Seattle Sounders FC.
Coach Sigi Schmid took his lads in rave green back to the Windy City Thursday afternoon so they can adjust to the time and climate changes. It’s a departure from their normal travel schedule to the Midwest.
“The last two years we flew into Chicago the day before the game,” Schmid told me in the Coach’s Corner show. “I wanted them to get used to the heat and humidity, because we haven’t really faced that this season. We’ve had plenty of rain in Seattle.”
It seems like every match the Sounders have played this season has been soggy, including last Saturday’s important 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in Sandy, Utah. It poured sideways most of the match.
Schmid is still savoring that result.
“It was a great win,” he said. “Any time you can stop a streak like they had going – they hadn’t lost a home game since 2009, – it’s something your team can look back on and be proud of.”
Schmid juggled his lineup last week, benching Fredy Montero because of his lack of production. There’s a chance Montero will be a substitute again for this match against Chicago. Schmid expects to have Mauro Rosales healthy and available for the attack.
Seattle beat Chicago 2-1 in their first meeting last April. It was the Sounders FC’s first MLS victory of the season, and featured the offense of Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White. Both men are now sidelined, Zakuani with a broken leg and White with a blood clot in his leg.
The Fire has also gone through a dramatic roster change after a streak of nine games without a victory. The biggest change was firing head coach Carlos de los Cobos. Chicago’s technical director Frank Klopas is the new interim head coach while the club conducts a search.
Schmid is very good friends with Klopas, having coached him on the 1994 U.S. World Cup team.
“I’m sure he’ll make certain changes to the lineup and how they will play,” Schmid said. “So it makes it a little more difficult to prepare.
“The other thing that happens is when players get a new coach, they get a new lease on life. Some guys who were in the doghouse think, ‘Hey, this is my chance to get out of the doghouse and on the field.’ ”
The Fire is missing a few players who got called up by their countries for some international matches. Most notable is Marco Pappa, who played winger for his native Guatemala in a 2-0 loss to Venezuela.
The pregame show hosted by Matt Johnson airs at 5 p.m. Saturday with Arlo White returning to handle play-by-play at 5:30 on Newstalk 97.3 KIRO FM.