Seattle Sounders vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
May 3, 2014 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #76)
7 p.m. PT (KCPQ-13 FOX; TCN-Phi)
The hottest team in Major League Soccer in recent weeks, Seattle Sounders FC remain home to take on Philadelphia Union in an interconference encounter on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC rolled to their third consecutive victory last weekend, again hitting for a big attacking output in a 4-1 win against Colorado. Union saw their winless streak extended to seven matches, following a 1-0 loss at the Montreal Impact.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Scott Kachmarik; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 79 games; FC/gm: 27.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 10; pens: 12
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Fabinho
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Union 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 2
AT SEATTLE (3 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 3 goals … Union 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/4: PHI 2, SEA 2 (Cruz 50, 51 – Johnson 10; Rosales 64)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- Union own the only road victory in the six matches in the history of the series, a 2-0 win in Seattle on Oct. 8, 2011.
- The teams have played to draws in each of their last two meetings at PPL Park. Union’s only home win vs. Seattle came in the opening of the Chester stadium, June 27, 2010.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. PHI: P6 W2 L2 T2 … John Hackworth vs. SEA: P1 W0 L0 T1
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC won their third match on the trot, strolling to a 4-1 win against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in a tie for first place in the Western Conference with 16 points from eight games.
- Sounders FC opened the scoring just before the halftime whistle. A through ball from Obafemi Martins put Clint Dempsey in alone on goal. He rounded goalkeeper Clint Irwin and sent in a shot from a tight angle. Rapids defender Drew Moor was able to get just enough of the ball to keep it out of the net, but his block went right to Lamar Neagle, who smashed it into the net.
- Seattle made it 2-0 in the 47th minute. A Clint Dempsey back-heeled flick gave Marco Pappa an open look from about 10 yards out. Irwin made a diving save on the initial attempt, but the rebound went right to Dempsey for a simple tap-in.
- It was 3-0 just five minutes when Pappa put it in a corner that Chad Marshall headed back toward goal, where Dempsey was waiting near the top of the goal area, and he then looped his header over a stranded Irwin.
- The Rapids made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute when Dillon Serna scored his first professional goal, finishing off a through ball from Nick LaBrocca with a low shot in the penalty area.
- But Sounders FC put the match away 13 minutes when Martins took a quick throw-in from Neagle, made a quick move to free up some space and slotted the ball inside the far post from the left side of the box.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Dylan Remick came into the back four in place of Leo Gonzalez.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick - Lamar Neagle, Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso (Andy Rose 82), Marco Pappa (Brad Evans 69) - Clint Dempsey (Kenny Cooper 88), Obafemi Martins.
- Sounders FC moved atop the Western Conference with their third win on the trot, their most since winning five in a row from Aug. 25 to Sept. 13 of last season.
- Sounders FC scored three goals in a period of eight-plus minutes on either side of the halftime break, a club record. It’s the fastest stretch of three goals since Philadelphia Union hit for three in a six-minute span last June 5; the MLS record is three goals scored within a span of three minutes.
- “Our fans are fantastic and we hadn't given them a lot to cheer about the last few home games the way the results went, but we don't think we played poorly in those games, so it was just a matter of getting the result and matching it with a performance,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “[Against Colorado] we got the result to match our performance and I think everybody that was here had an enjoyable time.”
- Clint Dempsey continued his remarkable run of form, netting a pair of goals in the victory. Dempsey has eight goals and two assists in his last five games.
- “Last season I felt that I was getting in good positions and putting people in positions to get forward into the attack. I would say I have to compliment my teammates because they're getting in better positions in front of goal ñ I'm getting better looks right in front of goal,” Dempsey said. “When I first came, I felt like there weren't too many games I could look back and say, 'You know what, I had a lot of chances I should have scored.' I feel like in games now I'm getting good looks and looks that are allowing me to put the ball in the back of the net.”
- Obafemi Martins also scored for a second consecutive match and now has three goals, to go with four assists, for the season. Either Dempsey or Martins, or both, have been involved in 14 of Sounders FC’s 18 goals for the season.
- "We always try to put them together so they can look for each other and you see that showing in the game. The ticky-tack stuff they combine with is pretty pleasurable to watch. Knowing each other and knowing they'll move for each other, they'll combine, so that is our hope,” said Schmid. “... Sometimes they will play short and other times they will play it out to the wing. … I don't think they are overdoing it, but they are out there and when you're having fun you're having fun.”
- Lamar Neagle scored his second goal in as many games and also added an assist, his third of the season.
- “Even as a wide player he's looking to get goals. Last year he only got goals when he played up front, but now he is getting goals coming in wide,” said Schmid. “If you can get 8-12 goals from a wide guy, that's pretty good production. In the past we have gotten that here... We like to have him with us on attack, because wide guys can be dangerous. He is starting to time his runs inside a little better.”
- Sounders FC put 13 shots on target for the Colorado match, setting an MLS club record. “I think it's our team confidence and getting in a good rhythm of play and building off of that. You can see that the link-up play is really good throughout the whole team and we're creating opportunities for each other. It's not just me and Oba. Other players are making a difference and getting in good spots and we've been able to finish opportunities,” said Dempsey.
Philadelphia Union saw their winless run stretched to seven matches, falling 1-0 to the MontrÈal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. Union are in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with eight points from nine games.
- The only goal of the game came in the 15th minute. Impact captain Patrice Bernier intercepted Sheanon Williams’ pass in midfield and continued forward before firing a powerful shot that Zac MacMath failed to control. The ball fell for the onrushing Felipe, who blasted it home from close range.
- Union manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the Houston Dynamo at PPL Park. Danny Cruz and Fabinho came into the midfield in place of Conor Casey and Cristian Maidana.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams (Conor Casey 81), Aaron Wheeler, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Maurice Edu, Brian Carroll - Danny Cruz (Cristian Maidana 66), Vincent Nogueira, Fabinho (Antoine Hoppenot 61) - Andrew Wenger.
- Union saw their winless streak extended to seven games in the 1-0 loss at Montreal. The streak is one game short of the Union club record, set both during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
- “My opinion is it’s always a work in progress,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “And that, in this case we have a team that’s still playing the game very well and we’re just going to have to be patient. I still believe that if we can play that way every single game, we’re going to come out at the better end of it.”
- Said Union defender Amobi Okugo: “We have to start a good run of form, we have to stop the bleeding. I feel like if we can turn it around and get a good result against Seattle it will give our team a ton of confidence.”
- Union also saw their current goalless streak extended to 190 minutes, the ninth-longest in MLS this season, with their second consecutive shutout against.
- “I think we need to execute better and share the responsibilities a little bit more with our front five or six players [on the attack]. I think guys have been looking to provide that next to last pass more than they have to take it themselves,” said Hackworth. “We are still working on those things in training and we are trying to urge whoever gets that chance to take it. I think once we turn that corner you’ll see some of those goals start to follow.”
- Andrew Wenger started his fourth consecutive match as a striker, his goalless drought now at three matches after scoring on his Union debut on April 12.
- “The chances are there for me and other players here and we just need to capitalize,” Wenger said. “I believe that once we get the first one, a bunch more will come. We’ll get going and get on a roll. We just have to keep working. We have to keep creating chances. It takes a little thing here or there. If you keep creating chances, goals will come. I’m confident in my ability and I know the other guys here are as well. We’re going to score goals. It’s just a matter of time. Once that first one goes in, it should open the floodgates.”
- Danny Cruz made his first start of the season, coming in on the right side of midfield and playing 66 minutes. Cruz had not featured since coming off the substitutes’ bench in each of the first three matches, his last appearance on March 22.
- “Danny is a player in this league that absolutely brings the right energy level every single game,” the Union manager said. “He doesn’t get enough credit for his soccer. … And he brings that ability to stretch a defense with his pace ... I think with lineup changes, especially with the group of players we have right now, you’re going to see that happen more regularly because we have some depth. We look at our opponent and we look at maybe some tactical things we can do against them.”
- There was another significant change as Fabinho was lined up on the left side of midfield, after featuring primarily as a left back through the opening weeks of the season.
- “I don’t think of Fabinho as a defender purely,” Hackworth said. “I don’t think of him as a guy who’s out of position. I can understand why people would look at it that way, but he played last year for this club a lot as an attacking player and did quite well. His entire career before he moved to Australia was spent as an attacking left-sided player. I see him every single day. We know what he’s capable on the attacking side of the ball.”