Philadelphia Union learn tough lesson after cards leads to loss in Seattle

SEATTLE—Prior to his team’s 2-1 defeat to the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin said he and his coaching staff talked at length with their players about the red card debate in MLS – and how to avoid making tackles that could result in one.

But it wasn’t enough to prevent the Union from becoming the latest MLS side to be dealt a game-altering ejection for a two-footed tackle. Philadelphia played the final 38 minutes of Saturday’s contest a man down after midfielder Roland Aberg was issued a second yellow card by referee Drew Fischer for a tackle on Seattle’s Cristian Roldan in the 52nd minute.

The Union would manage to score a shorthanded goal in the 73rd minute thanks to a finish from Sebastien Le Toux but couldn’t manage to find an equalizer.

“It’s a recurring theme in MLS right now,” Curtin said. “We’ve talked with our guys about staying on our feet to try and avoid these things. We still pushed, still fought, I thought we had a lot of the ball and created some chances. But in the big moments we came up a little bit short.”

Curtin said he felt that both yellows on Alberg were soft. However, he also didn’t express shock by the call, saying that it is incumbent on his team to adjust to how the games are going to be officiated.

“Once you leave your feet, in MLS 2016, they’re going to make a decision one way or the other,” Curtin said. “We’ve talked with our guys a lot about that. Leave your feet to maybe block a shot, that’s about it.”

All things considered, however, Curtin says he is pleased with how his side has handled a difficult early-season schedule that has seen them play four out of six matches on the road. The Union are now 3-3-0 and in second place in the Eastern Conference through six games.

“We’ve started with a difficult schedule with four out of six on the road,” Curtin said. “We’re not happy with where we are but we got through a difficult stretch pretty well. Now, we go home for three in a row.”