PHILADELPHIA UNION v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders FC descend on the land of cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, American Democracy, the Mafia, Rocky Balboa, a definitively higher standard for pizza, and unmitigated spite for a Sunday morning fixture in the Keystone State. Philadelphia Union are the paragon of hospitality, serving up a 10 a.m. Pacific Time made-for-jet-lag kick-off in Chester, PA. A true Philadelphia welcome from the City of Brotherly Love. Gather your green family where ye may and assemble at a viewing party near you. At the pub, at a mate’s house, you know the drill. We keep it loud, and we keep it Evergreen. Join me before kick-off in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

tactics
Looks like switching up the tactics produced excellent results last Wednesday in Seattle. Are we now in full Sounders-for-the-Cup mode, or was it a one-off?

The Good News
The Sounders sit 9th in the league table and are on the verge of clinching an MLS Cup berth. In sharp relief, Philadelphia are in 18th place in the league and are struggling to produce results.

Although the form of both clubs is nearly identical in the last five matches, Philadelphia has only one win in their last eight matches. Seattle have lost only one match in their last 15 (7-7-1).

The Sounders are scoring goals again, having hit three against Vancouver in Wednesday’s midweek fixture. Adjustments to the lineup and swapping some of the roles in our formation produced an outpouring of goals. We did quite well with Roldan in the #10 role, and hopefully, success will continue.

The all-time record favours the Sounders at 4-2-3.

Philadelphia made no signings in the summer Transfer Window, whereas Seattle were reinforced by Leerdam and other significant signings.

Earlier this month, Philadelphia managed only a 1:1 draw at Minnesota United, a club we defeated twice by a combined score of 6:1.

The Bad News
The Sounders have never won a league match in Philadelphia in the MLS era (0-2-2).

Seattle are facing significant attrition as Evans and Morris are injured, Alonso and Torres are battling injuries and may or may not play today, and Rodriquez is unavailable as he has family issues to take care of in Catalonia.

Two matches ago, Philadelphia defeated Chicago by a score of 3:1 The same Chicago side that walloped us 4:1 back in May.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Blake, 26, was developed by Connecticut (NCAA). Philadelphia is his first club and he has played for the Union over 60 times since he signed in 2014. Blake has 22 caps for Jamaica since 2014. Jamaica’s run in the 2017 Gold Cup where they made it all the way to the final, was in part due to Blake’s outstanding play during the tournament.

Defence –
Fabinho, 32, is a Brazilian national who played youth football with a number of notable South American clubs such as Gremio, Botafogo, Flamengo, and Newell’s Old Boys. His career began in 2005 where he played at seven smaller Brazillian clubs until moving to Austrailia in 2011 to play with Melbourne Victory and then Sydney FC. He signed with Philadelphia in 2013 and has played over 100 matches for them.

Onyewu, 35, developed by IMG Academy and Clemson (NCAA), is most well-known for his time at Belgian club Standard Liege (139 matches, 11 goals), and then for a number of short loans to other British and European sides, and signing with AC Milan on a three-years deal but never playing in a league match. Onyewu’s notoriety also stems from having earned 69 caps and scoring six goals for United States. “Gooch” signed with Philadelphia just this season and has played over 20 times for his new club.

Elliott, 22, is an English national produced by West Virginia (NCAA), where he played nearly 70 times. He has played over 25 times for Philadelphia in this, his first season with the club. He is a regular selection for his club despite his limited experience.

Rosenberry, 23, was produced by the Philadelphia Union youth system and Georgetown (NCAA). The Pennsylvania native has played nearly 50 matches with Philadelphia since he signed in 2016. He has only played in 14 matches this season.

Midfield –
Medunjanin, 32, is a Bosnian national developed by AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands. He has had extensive experience in European football at such clubs as AZ, Real Valladolid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, and Deportivo La Coruna. The Sarajevo native has 54 caps for Bosnia and Herzegovina, scoring eight goals in the process. He signed with Philadelphia just before this season began, and has played 31 times for his new club, scoring two goals.

Creavalle, 27, is a product of Furman and Central Florida of the NCAA. Philadelphia is his third MLS club in a domestic professional career that has seen him play over 120 matches. He has appeared 45 times for Philadelphia since he signed with them in 2015. Creaville has two caps for Guyana.

Bedoya, 30, was developed by Fairleigh Dickinson and Boston College of the NCAA. The New Jersey native has seen his football career take him to Sweden (Orebro and Helsingborgs), Scotland (Rangers), and France (Nantes) before arriving at Philadelphia in 2016. He has played 35 matches for Philadelphia this season. Bedoya has 64 caps for United States scoring two goals.

Forward –
Picault, 26, is a product of the Cagliari youth system. At the beginning of his career, he played in the NASL with Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale. After this, he moved to Sparta Prague where he did not make a single appearance. A move followed to FC St. Pauli in Germany where he played 22 times scoring four goals. He signed with Philadelphia just before this season began, and has played 25 times for his new club. Picault has one United States cap. Though listed as a midfielder, he lined up at left-wing in his midweek match against Atlanta United.

Sapong, 28, is a product of DC United and James Madison (NCAA). His eight-year domestic career has seen him play for MLS sides Kansas City and Orlando City before moving to Philadelphia in 2015. He has played nearly 90 times for Philadelphia, scoring 30 goals. His MLS experience is at nearly 200 matches and 50 goals. He has two United States caps. He is the most likely player in the side to score a goal.

Pontius, 30, is a product of UC Santa Barbara (NCAA). Before moving to Philadelphia in 2016 he had already played six years for DC United amassing over 150 appearances and 31 goals. He has played over 60 matches for Philadelphia, scoring 14 goals, since he signed with them in 2016. His total MLS experience encompasses over 210 matches and has seen him score 45 goals. Pontius has five United States caps. Though highly rated by the United States FA, his international opportunities have been limited by injuries. Pontius is listed as a midfielder but lined up at right-wing for his midweek match against Atlanta United.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

Squads
Philadelphia from: Blake, McCarthy, McGuire, Elliott, Onyewu, Rosenberry, Yaro, Marquez, Aaron Jones, Trusty, Gaddis, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Creavalle, Medunjanin, Carroll, Edu, Alberg, Bedoya, Pontius, Epps, Derrick Jones, Picault, Najem, Ilsinho, Mbu, Davies, Herbers, Sapong, Simpson.

Sounders FC from?: Frei, Meredith, Miller, Nouhou, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Joevin Jones, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Bruin, Neagle.

Injury List
Philadelphia –
OUT: Tribbett (Achilles).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Edu (ankle & leg), Herbers (hernia), Ilsinho (Achilles), Aaron Jones (abdominal strain), Yaro (knee).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back), Morris (hamstring), Mallace (quadriceps).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Alonso (quadriceps), Torres (undisclosed).
UNAVAILABLE: Rodriguez (personal).

Discipline
None suspended from either side. Gaddis of Philadelphia is one booking away from a one-match ban.

Fun Fact
Seattle Sounders Academy U-17s currently have an unbeaten 4-0-0 record in the US Soccer Development Academy league. WELL DONE LADS!!!

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