The Sounders have six come-from-behind wins this MLS season. Chicago has seven, total.
On paper, the pairing is a mismatch. Throw in an expected home crowd of 35,000 and I think it’s safe to label Seattle as the favorite to win its third straight U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday at CenturyLink Field.
But it’s not so simple anymore.
The Fire has sneakily become one of the hottest teams in the league over the last several weeks. Chicago, seeking its fifth Open Cup title, is 5-1-3 since early August (Seattle is 6-2-1).
“The team’s changed a lot,” said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid of the Fire. “The key right now with Chicago is they’ve put themselves into the frame of a playoff team. … When you start to win games, you start to believe in yourself. I’m sure they wouldn’t have predicted the (3-0) win they got in Salt Lake, but now they feel very confident having that win and at this stage they’ve got to be a team who’s got to be champing at the bit to win more games and get into the playoffs, as well as the Open Cup.”
Schmid noted a couple tactical changes that have helped Chicago. Speedy wingers Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko have been playing more up top. A couple midseason additions in midfield, Sebastian Grazzini and Pavel Pardo, have also provided a boost.
So what do you think?
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