Keller quells Fire in Seattle's victory


Keller quells Fire in Seattle's victory

Saturday, April 9, 2011
Posted: 6:16 p.m.

By Dieter Kurtenbach

SEATTLE Goals from Steve Zakuani and OBrian White gave the Seattle Sounders the lead, and critical saves from Kasey Keller preserved it, as Seattle won its first game of the season 2-1 over the Chicago Fire Saturday at Qwest Field.

White put Seattle on the board in the seventh minute, using a precision cross from Mauro Rosales, whose service found Whites head 16 yards from goal, and the Jamaican striker, despite being double-marked, expertly bent the header inside the goalpost.

The Fire responded a minute later, with Patrick Nyarko streaking up the right flank and sending a low cross into the box. Diego Chaves found the other end of the pass and, with a deft touch, slid the ball past Keller to equalize, quieting the raucous Qwest Field crowd.

Chaves has now scored in each of his first three games for the Fire, becoming the first player in franchise history to do so.

Seattle bombarded Chicago from the wings throughout the game, with Zakuani leading the charge. Zakuani and Whites give-and-go along the left sideline in the twenty-fifth minute sprung Zakuani from two Chicago defenders, giving the speedy winger a one-on-one with Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Zakuani caught the indecisive Johnson flat-footed and blasted a shot inside the near post for the game-winning goal.

Chicagos offensive game came around in the second half, but the play of Keller prevented great chances from becoming equalizers.

Keller, the 41-year-old Seattle captain, first stopped Chaves in the fifty-eighth minute after a blocked free kick pinballed in the box and fell to the feet of the unmarked Chicago striker ten-yards out. Keller was able to recover his positioning just in time to make a diving reaction save to Chaves shot.

Minutes later, a through ball from Chaves gave Gaston Puerari a breakaway. Keller came out to cut Pueraris angle and was able to deflect the Uruguayans shot with his foot.

Puerari has had breakaway opportunities in each of his first three games for the Fire. Against Sporting Kansas City he scored, but Saturday and in the season opener against FC Dallas, the crafty forward was foiled by top-notch saves.

The loss is the first of the season for the Fire, whose record is now a poetic 1-1-1.

The team will remain on the West Coast this week in preparation for its game against the expansion Portland Timbers on Thursday night. That game will be the first home game for Portland (0-2-1) as an MLS franchise. The Timbers played in the USL and USSF Division 2 between 2001 and 2010, before becoming the eighteenth member of MLS.

Wake-up Call: Russell injured in loss; White Sox blow late lead; Fire's McCarty to join national team

Wake-up Call: Russell injured in loss; White Sox blow late lead; Fire's McCarty to join national team

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Addison Russell feels ‘sharp, pinching pain’ in shoulder as Cubs face more questions with All-Star shortstop

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Cubs in sink-or-swim mode with Nationals looming: ‘Keep the floaties on’

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Bears’ Markus Wheaton says wide receiver group is 'definitely underrated'

Dax McCarty named to U.S. national team roster for Gold Cup

Preview: Cubs-Nationals Monday on CSN

As MLB addresses long game times, why Mark Buehrle’s zippy pace is worth highlighting

A step forward for Kyle Hendricks and Cubs rotation

Carlos Rodon to make season debut for White Sox this week

Preview: Cubs-Nationals Monday on CSN

Preview: Cubs-Nationals Monday on CSN

The Cubs take on the Washington Nationals on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 6 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Monday’s starting pitching matchup: Eddie Butler (3-2, 4.19 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.96 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the Cubs: All of the most recent news and notes.