SEATTLE — After a slew of emotional wins, highlighted by Tuesday night’s victory that gave them their third straight Lamar Hunt US Open Cup championship, the Seattle Sounders were bound to eventually have a letdown.
It came on Saturday night to the benefit of the Philadelphia Union, as the Sounders fell 2-0 to a Union side that now leads the Eastern Conference.
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“I think we’ve had some emotional highs in the last two weeks and sometimes you come out a little bit flat and they were a little bit flat today, especially in the first half, and we left it for a little bit too late,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It just serves as a reminder that in this league everything is so tight that if you come and aren’t wholly prepared to do all the work you need to do, you end up coming up short.”
Seattle were outplayed in the first half, but still managed to outshoot the Union and the game remained knotted at 0-0. In the second half, the Sounders did a better job of breaking down Philadelphia’s 4-5-1 formation, but were unable to capitalize with a goal.
“We came out slow, that’s the bottom line,” Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said. “We absorbed pressure. They had good possession but they weren’t dangerous. They didn't get any good clear opportunities the first half. When we did get possession we didn't connect enough passes. That’s the name of the game. They got two soft goals that we gifted them, too, and that was it.”
The Union found chinks in Seattle’s armor in the second half – first after a nice individual effort from Gabriel Farfan to set up Freddy Adu, and then on a break when former Sounder Sébastien Le Toux fed Brian Carroll.
“It was just one of those bad days,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “Everybody can look at whatever different excuse you want to come up with. But at the same time we just weren’t good enough today and we have to hold our hands up and say, ‘That’s not good enough. Let’s get that out of our system and get ready to roll through the rest of the season.’ That’s at least how I’m looking at it.”
Seattle will host the San Jose Earthquakes in the Reserve Division on Monday, then again in the regular season home finale on Saturday, Oct. 15. In addition to Fan Appreciation night and Breast Cancer Awareness night, it will also be Keller’s last regular-season home match for the Sounders. He will be recognized in ceremonies after the match for his illustrious career and contributions to the Sounders FC and soccer in the Northwest.