Seattle’s physicality was allowed by the referees from the very beginning—physicality that continued throughout the match. It was dirty and at times unnecessary, yet it was effective.
What has been somewhat lost in the discussion of the Fire’s defeat was a disallowed goal in the 61st minute.
If given, it would have cancelled out a Sounders lead established six minutes before the break when David Estrada's effort was deflected off Arne Friedrich for an own goal.
However, striker Dominic Oduro was adjudged to have interfered with Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning before Fire midfielder Marco Pappa netted from 18 yards.
Although Oduro did not appear to make contact with Gspurning, the officials felt otherwise. As a result, the call placed much of the Fire’s momentum on hold.
Dominic Oduro said after the game:
“Apparently I was in front of the goalie destructing the play. Again it’s the referee’s call. I’m just here to play.”
The Sounders did not waste much time by responding with a goal six minutes later by Eddie Johnson to make it 2-0.
Pappa narrowed the lead when he scored a fine curling effort from a corner kick in the 89th minute, but it was too little, too late.
During his postgame press conference interview, Chicago Fire coach Frank Kloppas said:
“The second goal took a lot out of us. We came. We scored the one goal which I didn’t think the goalie could have it (referring to Seattle goalkeeper Gspurning). And again, Dominic wasn’t there but I think that the second was the difficult one.”
The second goal scored by Seattle did indeed deflate the Fire, but Kloppas remained optimistic about his team’s performance by praising their ability to “create opportunities.”
Eventually those opportunities will turn into goals scored and more victories.
Ernest Shepard is an Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first-hand.