On the nicest evening for Futbol this season the Philadelphia Union (7-3-2, 23 Pts, 2nd Place Eastern Conference) hosted the Seattle Sounders FC (7-1-4, 25 Pts, 2nd Place Western Conference).
A sell out crowd of 18,540 could not will the ball into the net and had to settle for a somewhat frustrating Nil-Nil tie.
Seattle Sounders FC Starting XI: 5,3,2
GK StefanFrei; Ds Kim Kee Hee, Roman Torres, Nouhou Tolo, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jonathan Campbell; MFs Cristian Roldan, Jordy Delem, Alex Roldan, Nicolas Lodeiro (C); F Will Bruin
Union Starting XI: 4,3,1,2
GK Andre Blake; Ds Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Raymon Gaddis; MFs Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (C), Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson, Alejandro Bedoya; Fs Sergio Santos, Kacper Przybylko
Referee: Marcos DeOliveira
The U did what they often do at home, dominate the run of play early, almost 70-30 TOP first 20′ but could not finish. This continued for the rest of the uneventful first half. The U only had one good chance in the 19′ on a shot by Przybylko which Frei pushed away with his fingertips. The returning Blake only had to make one easy save. The U outshot Seattle 7-4, with each team only getting that one shot on target. FWIW the U owned the TOP battle 67-33. Elliott was a big part of the Union keeping Seattle away from the net.
The second 45′ + 3′ saw more of the same as the U kept pressing and pressing with most of the half played in the Seattle end in front of the imploring Sons Of Ben in the River End. As the time wound down it was apparent that the Sounders were playing for a draw as they packed nine men back every time the U would threaten.
Referee DeOliveira did not help matters letting fouls go all game that easily could have been yellow cards, which eventually led to an ugly scrum in the 83′ after the Union felt they were fouled after a play ended beyond he goal line. The frustration boiled over and resulted in a yellow to Fafa who had just entered the game 6′ earlier.
In the end the Union dominated the TOP 67.8 – 32.2, putting up 20 shots to Seattle’s 6, with only the one shot in the first half on target.
Sounders GK Frei would keep the game scoreless making 6 saves – a few were tough ones.
Seattle Sounders FC Cards:
Seattle Sounders FC Subs:
Kelvin Leerdam for Tolo 71′
Handwalla Bwana for Delem 76′
Raúl Ruidíaz for Bruin 79′
I could not put it better than this writer from did:
As frustrating it was to not see the Union score with so many chances, it is a testament to just how good this team is and can be, when a top team like Seattle that used to just roll over the U, played the match this way.
The result does put the Union just barely back on the top of the table
Head Coach Jim Curtin summed up the positives and the frustrations post-game:
“Our guys checked a lot of boxes in a positive way”
“In a weird way tonight was one of our better games… we did a good job because we were aggressive”
“I think it was a good performance, but it leaves you feeling a little empty at the end”
The U need to take those positives and that frustration into next week’s match against a lesser opponent that will most likely play the same way.
The U end their five games at home month of May against another Western Conference team Portland Timbers (3-6-2, 11 Pts, 10th Place Western Conference) I will be back here to cover that one as well.