SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. PHILADELPHIA UNION Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Two straight matches with Sounders gaining a result! Is there a crack of light in the darkness? Sure, we’re playing smash & grab football to take points now. You’d have to think, though, that as we find our feet and get to know our new neighbours on the pitch a bit better, that things can only improve. I am cautiously optimistic, and rather bullish on the Sounders in terms of the team getting back in the competitive swing of things. Maybe Saturday night is the match where Jordan Morris turns the corner and hits one home for our boys. Maybe Dempsey explodes for a hat trick, or draws so much help coverage that he threads exquisitely crafted through-passes for multiple Sounders goal scorers. In any case, for all of us in the Sounders family, the same is required of us as it is for every match – no matter what the form book says we stand tall. We sing and yell at the top of our lungs, supporting our boys to the last nanosecond of stoppage time. There is no quit, only resolve through unflagging support. In the words of Sly Stone: “It’s a Family Affair.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNQpYz1ztx8 As always, I toast to you the FCF, The ECS, and all the rest of our satellite membership: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

The Good News
Sounders come into this match with something approximating decent form with results from the last two matches. In the brief four match history between the clubs at Royal Brougham Park, Seattle have won three of four. Seattle are no longer last in the league in scoring goals. We’re second to last in goal scoring, tied with NY Red Donkeys. With seven goals for and five goals against in five matches, Philadelphia looks as if they concede nearly as many goals as they score. This is excellent news for a Sounders side, hungry for a three point meal. In four matches at Royal Brougham Park, Philadelphia have only managed three goals against us. Maurice Edu is on injury list for a stress reaction in his leg. As he is one of the most experienced and decorated members of Philadelphia’s midfield, his absence will be one less worry for our lads to contend with. Should Andre Blake start in goal again for Philadelphia, it would be only his 13th appearance for the club.

The Bad News
Decent form for the sounders has only been two matches out of six this season. Still no Torres (hampered by a torn ACL), and likely no Friberg. In the eight match history between the clubs, Philadelphia have narrowly outscored us, ten goals to nine. Philadelphia have won four of their last six matches. We are second to last in league goal scoring. Andre Blake’s 12 matches for his club hasn’t stopped Winfried Schäfer from selecting him for Jamaica (12 Jamaica caps since 2014). Philadelphia are tied for 8th best in the league on 9 points, whilst our lads sit 18th in the MLS table on 4 points.

The Rest
Discipline in the all-time series: Bookings: Seattle 8, Philadelphia 12, with two sent off for each side. Three of those four sending-offs were from the same infamous match in Philadelphia in 2013 with Williams, Neagle and Yedlin all seeing red. Former Chicago mainstay Jim Curtin has managed Philadelphia since 2014. Curtin was known as a hard and uncompromising defender. Will his team play  the same rugged style that he did? Most likely to score for Philadelphia: #17 Sapong, #9 Le Toux, #10 Barnetta. Ultimately, the Seattle starting eleven must figure a more frequent way to score goals. If not, the match will degenerate into the smash & grab type (arguably successful for us recently with a win and a draw) that we’ve seen over the last two matches.

Familiar Faces
Former Sounder, #9 Sebastian Le Toux plays for Philadelphia now. This is his second stint with the Union. Le Toux has 151 appearances in total for Phiiladelphia. Union forward #17 C. J. Sapong, played as an 88’ substitute for Sporting Kansas City in the super sad 2012 US Open Cup Final that we lost on penalties, infamously officiated by Ricardo Salazar.

Selections for Last Match
Seattle: Frei, Mears, Evans, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Dempsey, Roldan, Kovar, Morris, Ivanschitz.

Bench: Miller (gk), Scott, Remick, Fisher, Sturgis, Gómez, Anderson.

Philadelphia: Blake, Rosenberry, Tribbett, Marquez, Fabinho, Carroll, Nogueira,
 Le Toux, Alberg, Pontius, Sapong.

Bench: Matthew Jones (gk), Gaddis, Conceição, Barnetta, Fernandes, Restrepo, Herbers.

Injury List
Seattle:
OUT: Torres (ACL)
MATCHDAY DECISION: Friberg (MCL strain), Farfan (hamstring strain)

Philadelphia:
OUT: Edu (left tibia stress reaction – out 3-4 months)
MATCHDAY DECISION: Ilsinho (hamstring strain), Tribbett (ankle sprain)

Discipline
No players suspended.

Fun Fact
Brad Evans, our skipper, is tied for most goals in the all-time series against Philadelphia with Rosales at two goals each. However, in all fairness, one of Evans goals was scored against his own side https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au37h-mW5Y4. This match was played in 2014 at Royal Brougham Park with the final score at Seattle 2:1 Philadelphia. All three goals were scored by Seattle, even the own goal scored by Evans. One possible conclusion: Only Brad Evans scores on Brad Evans?

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