Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Seattle Sounders
Back atop the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia Union remain at home for a second successive week when they take on Seattle Sounders FC, their opponents for the opening of PPL Park. Union returned to the top of the East last weekend with a 1-0 win against New York. Sounders FC are coming off their first win of the season, a 2-1 home victory against Chicago.
REFEREE: Andrew Chapin. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: John McCloskey; MLS Career: 26 games; FC/gm: 27.7; Y/gm: 4.8; R: 8; pens: 3
INJURY REPORT: PHILADELPHIA UNION – OUT: MF Gabe Farfan (R toe dislocation); DOUBTFUL: MF Brian Carroll (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Carlos Ruiz (L hamstring strain) … SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – QUESTIONABLE: FW Fredy Montero (R wrist fracture)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none; SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Leo Gonzalez
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Union 1 win, 3 goals … Sounders FC 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 0
AT PHILADELPHIA (1 meeting): Union 1 win, 3 goals … Sounders FC 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 7/23: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/25: SEA 2, PHI 0 (Evans 12; Montero 43)
6/27: PHI 3, SEA 1 (Le Toux 55; Fred 78; Mwanga 84 – Noonan 45)
- The teams split their meetings in Union’s inaugural campaign last year.
- Union’s first game ever came at Qwest Field, a 2-0 Sounders FC win March 25. Then history was made again in the second meeting as Union defeated Sounders FC 3-1 on June 27, the opening game at PPL Park.
- Coaches record: Peter Nowak vs. SEA: P2 W1 L1 T0 … Sigi Schmid v PHI: P2 W1 L1 T0
Philadelphia Union won for the third time in four starts on the campaign, again scoring the game’s lone goal in a win against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union have 9 points from 4 matches on the year, having moved back atop the Eastern Conference to begin the week.
- The game's lone goal came in the 68th minute. New York defender Tim Ream gave the ball directly to Union striker Danny Mwanga in his own half, and Mwanga slid the ball to substitute Roger Torres, who had come on barely a minute before. Torres fired a low shot past Red Bulls ’keeper Bouna Coundoul from inside the area.
- Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon was called upon to make just one save, but he was twice saved by the woodwork on first-half efforts from Red Bulls striker Juan Agudelo.
- Union boss Peter Nowak made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Justin Mapp and Keon Daniel came into the midfield for Kyle Nakazawa and Danny Mwanga.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Faryd Mondragon - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey - Justin Mapp (Danny Mwanga 59), Brian Carroll (Amobi Okugo 6), Stefani Miglioranzi, Keon Daniel - Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Roger Torres 67)
- All three Union victories this season have come by 1-0 scorelines. Last season, Philadelphia recorded two shutouts all year.
- "What's the difference if we win 5-0 or 1-0? What do you want to achieve? Before the season started, I told the guys we need to be effective, smart and efficient," Union manager Peter Nowak said. "At this point of the season, beauty doesn't count. You count the goals and you count the points. We have three goals, three wins and three shutouts. I am not going to complain about that too much."
- In their expansion season, Union did not record their third victory until the 3-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC in the opening of PPL Park on June 27, on their way to eight total league victories.
- "We have made some huge strides," Union defender Danny Califf said. "Everybody recognized last year we were better than our record, and this year we are validating that we are a better team and are putting up the results."
- After recording six assists in his first MLS campaign last season, 19-year-old Colombian midfielder Roger Torres scored his first goal for Philadelphia, the difference in the 1-0 win against New York.
- "He's a hard worker," Nowak said. "He's a good example for young guys waiting for your chance."
- Union were forced into an early change when Brian Carroll suffered a hamstring injury just six minutes into the New York match and was replaced by Amobi Okugo.
- After missing two games with a hamstring injury, Justin Mapp was put into the starting lineup on one wing.
- Nowak returned to four in the midfield with Keon Daniel getting his first MLS start on the opposite flank.
- “Keon reads the field really well and he’s smooth,” said Mapp. “I thought he was really, really good. He has great technique and all the skills you’re looking for.”
- After the break, Daniel moved into a central midfield playmaking role as Sebastien Le Toux moved out wide, leaving Carlos Ruiz as the lone striker.
- “In the first half, when New York was basically playing five on the defensive half and five on the offensive half, there was a big space in the middle,” said Nowak. “With the 4-2-3-1 formation, you have the guy who will be able to take care of this, and not allow New York those passes that bypass our midfield line. We found those spaces where we can get the ball and play forward to either Danny Mwanga or Sebastien Le Toux. There was a purpose and design. We wanted to cut off those passing lines, the balls that bypass our midfield.”
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC won for the first time on their 2011 campaign, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field. Sounders FC have 5 points from 5 games on the season, sitting in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference.
- Sounders FC took the lead after just seven minutes. Mauro Rosales drove in a cross from the right flank and O'Brian White beat tight marking to snap home a header inside the near post.
- The Fire pulled level less than a minute later. Patrick Nyarko sped away down the right and sent in a low cross, where Diego Cháves beat the Seattle defense into the box and finished tidily to the back post.[inline_node:332106]
- Seattle took the lead again in the 25th minute. Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White unlocked the defense with a neat give-and-go down the left side, with Zakuani turning the corner and slipping a tight-angle shot under goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that tied 2-2 with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado returned to central defense in place of Patrick Ianni.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani - Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 64), O'Brian White (Servando Carrasco 81).
- It was a trio of second-half saves from 41-year-old goalkeeper Kasey Keller that ensured Sounders FC would win their first game of 2011, in front of another sellout crowd at Qwest Field.
- “That was world class,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “That was Kasey Keller from his prime. As you finish out a career, to be able to manage and put out performances like that is a tremendous tribute to the work that he does on a daily basis. Those three saves were big time.”
- After going to the substitutes’ bench for two games, following his return to the Sounders FC lineup for the opening two matches after a knee injury last season, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado came back into central defense ahead of Patrick Ianni.
- “Coming off his (knee) injury and getting back into the flow, I think he needed to get away from the week to week a little bit and catch his breath,” Schmid said to the Tacoma News-Tribune. “My goal always was to put J.K. back in. We thought today, defensively, he’s one of the ones that’s pretty good and their guys are pretty good one-on-one forwards, so we looked at last week’s game and made a decision between Parke and Ianni.”
- With Fredy Montero still out following wrist surgery, O’Brian White has grabbed the starting striker role for Sounders FC to great success, with two goals and an assist in the last two matches.
- “We wanted O’Brian White to stay up top and in the first half he did a great job,” Schmid said. “When you look at when they were attacking, there was always two guys back marking O’Brian White. If he can tie up two guys, that’s a huge benefit to us.”
- Montero was expected to be able to return to full training during the week; as well, Nate Jaqua is close to a return after missing the start of the season following hip surgery in the offseason.
- “He knows that Nate’s (Jaqua) about ready to go and if that’s motivating him, that’s fine,” Schmid said. “I thought (White) played well. He took a pretty good knock in the ankle and that really started to bother him in the second half.
- The victory against Chicago snapped Seattle’s five-game winless run, one shy of the club record set May 2- June 6, 2009.
- "There was a little bit of pressure taken off but we're still not where we want to be," Brad Evans said. "We can still certainly be better, that's for sure. ... Once we match our play with our intensity — if we combine those things and finish our efforts — we will be a very good team."