Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs Seattle Sounders
Saturday, May 4th, PPL Park in Chester, PA, 4:00pm, 6 ABC.
Our boys in blue take on the Seattle Sounders in what should be an interesting match up. The Sounders are dead last in the West currently with a record of 1-3-2 (5 points in 6 matches), while the Union sit in sixth place in the East with a record of 3-3-2 (11 points in 8 matches).
The Union are coming off of a rather disappointing performance from last week with their 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution.
On paper, this should be a game the Union can win. However, on paper, we should have also have beaten the New England Revolution. Consistency is the devil when it comes to the 2013 Union so far. Jack McInerney has been brilliant in his goal performance thus far with the help of Conor Casey in particular. However, that can only get you so far when your midfield seems to be muddled in confusion. There seems to be no cohesiveness or strong communication ability when it comes to this position on the field. As Union manager John Hackworth has said numerous times in the past, there are many options for the midfield and that some difficult decisions would have to be made. However, Hackworth seems hesitant to make any sort of real personnel changes even though the options present themselves and the results have been frustrating in games we should have won.
In the Union’s press conference on Wednesday, Hackworth indicated that this weekend will most likely not be the time to make any drastic changes in personnel. Expect the same lineup the team trotted out last week with Zac MacMath in goal and a back line of Sheanon Williams at right back, Jeff Parke and Amobi Okugo at center back, and Ray Gaddis at left back. From Hackworth’s comments in the midweek press conference, it appears that yet again Danny Cruz and Keon Daniel will get the start over a World Cup Champion in Kleberson and that Roger Torres will not see the field. Also expect Brian Carroll and Michael Farfan to start in the midfield and Conor Casey and Jack McInerney to start up top.
Sigi Schmid has been the antithesis of John Hackworth, utilizing a different lineup in every single match the Sounders have played this season. While the Sounders have most often employed a 4-4-2, the first match of the season against Montreal saw them line up in a 4-4-1-1. Don’t let his record fool you – goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s Goals Against Average is 0.83, 4th best among goalkeepers with more than 90 minutes played. He is a formidable keeper and the Union will have to work to put the ball past him. Seattle’s back line has been mostly the same, with Leonardo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, and DeAndre Yedlin getting the lion’s share of starts with Marc Burch and Zach Scott also seeing starts. The midfield has been less clear, with Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonso, Shalrie Joseph, Brad Evans, Alex Caskey, Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose, and Mario Roberto Martinez all getting starts thus far. Up top has seen Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins, Steve Zakuani, Eddie Johnson, Samuel Ochoa, and David Estrada get starts. With all of those names, your guess is as good as mine to who gets the start against the Union.
Until Hackworth commits himself to take real chances in changing the midfield chemistry, we will continue to not play to our potential on the field. My prediction for this game is a tough call, but I think we will walk away with point in a 1-1 draw.