Fernandez comes off bench to earn Sounders late point

 

With just minutes to spare, the Seattle Sounders disrupted the Philadelphia Union’s formula of winning 1-0 games.

Trying for their fourth shutout victory of the season, the Union surrendered a 91st-minute goal from Alvaro Fernandez, who headed in Fredy Montero’s short, lofted cross from the left side.

The strike canceled out Carlos Ruiz’s curling freekick goal in the 32nd minute, as a swirling rain made the playing conditions difficult all afternoon at PPL Park.

The 1-1 draw moved the Union to 3-1-1 on the season, and the Sounders to 1-2-3.

Despite the driving rainstorm and fierce winds, the Union were aggressive and persistent in their attack, which eventually paid off about a half hour in.

Early in the second half, Sebastien Le Toux andAmobi Okugo both had clean shots on net that were saved by Keller.Even though Philly manger Peter Nowak left some of his top offensive players on the bench to start the game—midfielders Justin Mapp and Roger Torres, strikers Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney—the Union looked as confident as they have all season in opening the field and pushing forward.

But midway through the second half, Sounders manager Sigi Schmid brought on Fernandez and Montero, who saw his first action in several weeks due to wrist surgery. The pair made an immediate impact as Seattle pressed for the equalizer.

Fernandez had a glorious chance in the 78th minute, pouncing on a rebound in the box and, with goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon pulled out of his goal, striking a hard shot destined for the back of the net. But Union centerback Danny Califf blocked the ball before it could go in. A few minutes later, Montero had a good look at goal from just outside the area but fired his shot wide.

Fernandez, though, finally came through. The Uruguayan DP, relegated to a reserve’s role so far this season, outjumped the Philly defense to reach Montero’s high cross from the left side. Fernandez got just enough power on his header to nod the ball in off the right post.

Because their game against Real Salt Lake was rescheduled, the Union have a two-week layoff, next playing April 30 against the San Jose Earthquakes at PPL Park. The Sounders travel to Colorado to take on the Rapids on Friday. 

Scoring Summary:

PHI -- Carlos Ruiz 2 (unassisted) 32

SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez 1 (Fredy Montero 1) 91+

Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James RileyJhon Kennedy HurtadoJeff ParkeLeo Gonzalez (Fredy Montero 66), Erik Friberg (Alvaro Fernandez 77), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales, O'Brian White(Nate Jaqua 66), Steve Zakuani.

Substitutes Not Used: Patrick IanniRoger LevesqueTyson WahlTerry Boss.

Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Keon Daniel, Stefani Miglioranzi (Danny Mwanga 59), Amobi Okugo, Kyle Nakazawa, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Justin Mapp 80).

Substitutes Not Used: Michael FarfanJuan Diego Gonzalez, Jack McInerney, Roger Torres, Zac MacMath

Misconduct Summary:

SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 30

PHI -- Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 55

PHI -- Amobi Okugo (caution; Reckless Tackle) 65

PHI -- Carlos Valdes (caution; Reckless Tackle) 88 

Referee: Terry Vaughn

Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer

4th Official: John McCloskey

Attendance: 15,149

Time of Game: 1:51

Weather: Rain-and-52-degrees