CHESTER, Pa. – It was the Danny Cruz show at PPL Park on Saturday.
But Cruz’s unlikely brace wasn’t enough to give the Philadelphia Union a full three points as the Seattle Sounders got goals from Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales to escape with a 2-2 draw in a game that turned ugly near the end of the second half.
In a one-minute span in the second half, the oft-maligned Cruz managed to score as many goals as he had in his previous 36 games.
In the 50th minute, with the Union trailing 1-0, the right winger roofed a rebound into the upper 90 on a rebound of a Conor Casey header that hit the post. Then, in the 51st minute, Cruz again beat Sounders goalie Michael Gspurning on a rebound – this one off a long-range Jack McInerney shot that took a favorable bounce off the crossbar – to give the Union a 2-1 lead.
Cruz, who was booed earlier in the game when he whiffed on a first-half shot in the box, got a nice ovation when he left in the 72nd minute. His goals were the first by a Union midfielder this season.
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Seattle tied it up at 2-2 in the 64th minute when Rosales scored his first of the season on a left-footed shot following a cross from Leonardo Gonzalez and through ball from Mario Martinez. That tally gave the Sounders – which had scored just three times coming into Saturday’s game – their first multi-goal outing of the season.
In the 85th minute, both Seattle’s Lamar Neagle and Philadelphia’s Sheanon Williams were sent off after a scuffle in the Union penalty area. In second-half stoppage time, the Sounders were shown their second red card of the match when DeAndre Yedlin was sent off following a late tackle on Michael Farfan.
But despite playing up a man for the final few moments and seeing a PK shout go ignored, the Union couldn’t find another goal as they moved to an even 3-3-3 on the year. The Sounders moved to 1-3-3 with the result.
Much earlier, Johnson, who was making his first start since March 30 because of a hamstring injury, opened the scoring in the 10th minute when he headed in a corner from Rosales.
Union goalie Zac MacMath appeared to block the initial shot but was inside the goal line when he did so, giving Johnson his second goal of the season. It was also the second goal in two games at PPL Park for Johnson, who scored the stoppage-time winner in last year’s MLS All-Star Game vs. Chelsea.
Following Johnson’s goal, Yedlin made a nice run into the box and Neagle hit a shot just wide after a Union turnover. But midway through the first half, the Union turned the tides and began to apply more pressure than the visitors.
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With some space to operate on the left side of the field, Michael Farfan had two close-range shots blocked by Seattle defenders. And Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney both hit the post on headers as the Union failed to find the equalizer in the first half.
Philly center back Jeff Parke, playing his first game against his former team, had to leave the game with an injury in the first half, forcing manager John Hackworth to insert Gabriel Farfan into the game at fullback and shift Williams over to center back.
The Sounders were already playing shorthanded as Obafemi Martins (knee), Steve Zakuani (abdominal strain), Patrick Ianni (foot), Marc Burch (groin) and Sharlie Joseph (hamstring) were among the sidelined players. Osvaldo Alonso also did not travel because his wife recently gave birth.
The Union return to action next Saturday with a road match at Chicago. The Sounders have a quick turnaround, traveling to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Danny Cruz||The constant harrying we know Cruz for was ever present at PPL Park, but the goals? Both were quality and much needed.|
|2||Conor Casey||Philly wanted a target and they've got it with the big man. A handful all day, hitting the post, and should have gotten PK call at the death.|
|3||Djimi Traore||Seattle weathered the storm for much of the match, and Traore led the way. His block on Michael Farfan was especially crucial.|