Captain Rafael Czichos scored a goal in the 23rd minute to lift host Chicago Fire FC to a 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday night.
Chicago’s Federico Navarro notched his first assist while playing in his 31st career MLS match. Gabriel Slonina finished with two saves to record his second straight clean sheet and ninth of the season for the Fire (6-10-5, 23 points), who improved to 4-1-0 in their last five matches at home.
Chicago played without reigning MLS Player of the Week Jhon Duran due to a left ankle injury. The 18-year-old scored twice in the Fire’s 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on Wednesday.
Saturday’s victory likely was sweet for Fire coach Ezra Hendrickson, who squared off against his former boss in Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer.
Stefan Cleveland made four saves for the Sounders (8-10-2, 26 points), who failed to benefit from 10 corner kicks en route to suffering their third straight shutout loss.
Chicago opened the scoring after Navarro sent a feed into the penalty area for Czichos, who headed the ball past a diving Cleveland. Czichos’ goal was his second in his last three matches.
The Fire attempted to double the advantage in the 26th minute, but Brian Gutierrez’s shot from outside the box was denied by Cleveland.
The Sounders’ bid for the equalizer in the 75th minute went awry as Alex Roldan’s intended cross for Nicolas Lodeiro was cleared out of harm’s way. Albert Rusnak’s attempt for the volley after the corner kick in the 79th minute sailed just wide of the net.
A poor touch by Seattle defender Yeimar Gomez led to a turnover in the 18th minute. Kacper Przybylko, who replaced Duran in the starting lineup, pounced on the ball and unleashed a blast that Cleveland denied.
The Sounders played without All-Star Raul Ruidiaz due to a hamstring strain.
–Field Level Media