Seattle Sounders 1-0 Philadelphia Union
Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Raymon Gaddis
Gabriel Gomez (Josue Martinez – 83)
Freddy Adu, Michael Farfan (Danny Mwanga – 76), Keon Daniel
Kai Herdling (Brian Carroll – 61)
Subs not used: Chase Harrison, Porfirio Lopez, Jack McInerney and Christian Hernandez.
Marc Burch – Patrick Ianni – Jeff Parke – Adam Johansson
Mauro Rosales (Leonardo Gonzalez – 82)- Osvaldo Alonso – Andy Rose (Eddie Johnson – 69)- Alex Caskey (Servando Carrasco – 89)
Freddy Montero – David Estrada
Subs not used: Andrew Weber, Cordell Cato, Sammy Ochoa, Zach Scott
Seattle Sounders – Philadelphia Union
1 – Goals – 0
12 – Shots – 5
6 – Shots on Goal – 1
6 – Corner Kicks – 4
15 – Fouls – 15
1 – Cautions – 1
0* – Ejections – 0
*Andy Rose should have been sent off for a second yellow card.
429 – Total Passes – 377
73% – Passing Accuracy – 71%
52.7% – Possession – 47.3%
The Seattle game is just a continuation of tactics that Union fans are growing tired of seeing on the field each week. Before I really get into a review of the game, let’s list some of the positives and negatives from the game:
Positives: Nowak and Co. are more consistent than they have ever been with the formation, another top Western Conference team held to a 1 goal differential, another one of MLS’s creative stars held scoreless (Montero), we’re not Toronto
Negatives: Even with a “second forward” Pajoy is still all alone, Califf looks old and constantly out of position, the hot Keon Daniel from the beginning of the season has gone missing, substitutions don’t seem to reflect what is going on during the game, no creativity in the attack
The biggest thing to note from this game was that after the 28th minute, the entire game deserves a giant asterick. MLS officiating at it’s finest once again as Andy Rose was left off the hook by Mr. Salazar, the same man that had no problem sending the Union to 10 men in the first half of their inaugural game. It was back to back terrible tackles, the first of which was studs up, foot off the ground and has seen the MLS suspend players retroactively for already this season. The fact that the second tackle, that was very late, and a scissor tackle (which in my humble opinion should be a straight red no matter the circumstances), went punished only by a free kick made me miserable the rest of the game.
The Union’s performance, however, was just not good enough. With the exception of Zac MacMath every single player had a subpar performance. Somehow the defense has been able to put together some very good performances this season as a group, despite individually being poor. Danny Califf is consistently out of position and being beat to headers by players (Montero) who he should win headers over even if he doesn’t jump. Valdes tends to roam forward and not get back with any urgency. Gaddis and Williams have taken the habit of rushing into tackles so recklessely that all the attacker needs to do is a simple cut back and the outside backs are by them. In the midfield there is no creativity. There may be some truth to the notion that the entire midfield is playing out of position. Even Gomez who has been great for the Union this season was forced into the role of defensive midfielder, which takes away his ability to drive forward and push the attack. Marfan was most dangerous in his rookie season when played wide to the right and is now being asked to be the central playmaker. Adu, who was most dangerous in Olympic qualifying in a central position, is being played wide left or right. Daniel I don’t even know what to say. He was so strong the first few games of the season, but with that red card against Chivas has simply disappeared. Herdling played more in the midfield than up top against Seattle, and Pajoy, who has not had the first touch worth writing home about, has been on an island the entire season, with no chance at creating anything.
What it all boils down to, is a team that defends better than most, but can’t attack to save it’s life. The good news is that the important part of the season is still in front of us. Of the 8 games the Union have played, 6 of them have been against the Western Conference. With the unbalanced schedule this year the Union have 3 more games against the West and a whooping 23 games against the East remaining on the schedule. Those 23 games will be where the Union prove what kind of a team they are. This Sunday the most hated team in Philadelphia, the New York Red Bulls, come in to PPL Park. The Union get the bonus of Henry being sidelined, but it might be time to take a step back by this team and figure out who they are and how they are going to progress with the season. There’s nothing to lose this weekend. The Union faithful are calling for a show of life from the side and it might be the game that the shackles have to come off and an all out attack is called. Whatever it is, a sign of life is needed, because there really wasn’t one in Seattle.
New York Red Bulls (5-3-1)
May 13th at 12:30pm