On a picture perfect day for Futbol the Seattle Sounders (12-8-11, 47 pts, 4th Place West) came to Talen Energy Stadium to face the barely playoff alive Philadelphia Union (9.13.9, 36 Pts, 9th Place East).
17,431 appreciative fans saw the Union keep those slim hopes alive blanking the defending MLS Champions 2-0.
Seattle Sounders FC Starting XI:4-2-3-1
GK Stefan Frei; D’s Kelvin Leerdam, Chad Marshall, Tony Alfaro, Nouhou Tolo; MF’s Gustav Svensson, Jordy Delem, Nicolás Lodeiro (C), Cristian Roldan, Joevin Jones; F Will Bruin
Philadelphia Union Starting XI:4-2-3-1
GK Andre Blake, D’s Raymon Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Richie Marquez, Fabinho, MF’s Alejandro Bedoya (C), Haris Medunjanin, Ilsinho, Marcus Epps, Fafa Picault, F CJ Sapong
It was a crisply played 1st half with little of the diving nonsense seen in many matches this season, and the officials pretty much letting them play, except for obvious fouls that disrupted the run of play. The Union was the better team, even though the TOP was a close 51.6 to 48.4, as they had nine total shots – three on target – to the Sounder’s zero.
The first SOG was by Picault, off a nice pass back by Bedoya, but saved by Frei 19′
The U finally broke through as Epps booted it in at close range on assists from Ilsinho (4) and Medunjanin (9) 28′. The rookie’s second goal of the season was all the sweeter as he was a late entry due to a scratch of Chris Pontius, who experienced abdominal discomfort during warmups.
The Union kept the pressure on, but the insertion of US stalwart Clint Dempsey early in the half seemed to spark the Sounders as Blake put a point blank shot by Dempsey over the Xbar. Two minutes later Blake made another save on Dempsey, this time it was a dive to his left hand. He had another golden opportunity all alone, barely onside, on Blake in 67′ but put it over the goal.
The Union defense led by Blake who as Head Coach Jim Curtin put it made “spectacular saves look easy” were up to the task of holding off the Sounders throughout the final 45′ +5′ and a goal in the 89′ minute by second half sub Roland Alberg (7), assisted by their second sub Jay Simpson, his first MLS A, iced it for Philadelphia.
Seattle Sounders FC Subs:
Clint Dempsey for Jordy Delem 55′, Henry Wingo for Tolo for 60′, Lamar Neagle for Roldan 80′
Philadelphia Union Subs:
Alberg for Ilsinho who left the match with a hamstring injury 71′. Simpson for Epps 72′, Derrick Jones for Picault 88′
Seattle Sounders FC Cards:
Jordy Delem 21′
Philadelphia Union Cards:
Yes believe it or not the Union are not out of the playoff picture yet, as if they win out and as Curtin said “a certain rival” loses out they can edge in. They have the next International break to rest up for that final push and if they play like they did today, anything can happen.
The Union go back on the road for their penultimate match, to face the Chicago Fire (15-10-7, 52 Pts, 4th Place East) 10/15/17 5PM ET on TCN