Photos by Brandon Bleek and Casey Woodrum Captions by Toby Dunkelberg
A surging Philadelphia Union entered CenturyLink Field tied for first in the eastern conference. Propelled by a resolute backline and facing an anemic Sounders attack this looked to be a tough matched up for Seattle.
Both teams started timid, afraid to commit too many numbers forward due to mutual respect for each others ability to counter.
The first 20 minutes saw an even game with each team roughly splitting possession and chances. But gradually Seattle grabbed control, largely due to amazing performances from Osvaldo Alonso and sophomore Cristian Roldan.
But Sounders pressure stalled out in and around the box with the Union practicing they now standard bend but don’t break brand of defense
That is until the 41st minute Andreas Ivanschitz connected with Chad Marshall off a corner for the centerback’s second goal in as many games. Standing at two goals scored this makes Marshall Seattle’s leading scorer.
Despite the lead for Seattle the game entered halftime with the final result still very much up in the air
The Union got off to a great start in the second half. CJ Sapong in particular looked consistently menacing any time he had the ball at his feet.
Any momentum the Union had was abruptly taken away in the 53rd minute when Roland Alberg earned a second yellow and ensuing red for a crunching tackle on Cristian Roldan. Suddenly down to ten men, the Unions attack, which was already struggling, was limited solely to balls over the top to Sapong.
Now free to commit more numbers forward, the Sounders started to see more and more success. Rookies Oalex Anderson and Jordan Morris finally appeared to be on the same page as Clint Dempsey and Ivanschitz, resulting in the Sounders having more success playing vertically then they have since Obafemi Martins left.
Oalex Anderson was forced to make way for Nelson Valdez in the 63rd minute after he stepped awkwardly in the 63rd minute, injuring his ankle in the process. Valdez slotted in without missing a beat as Seattle amped up the pressure as the Union did their best to keep a clean sheet.
After doing everything you’d want a forward to do except for score, Jordan Morris finally notched his first in the 71st minute in a play eerily similar to those that made him so feared in college. The rookie made a smart, diagonal run and was rewarded with a great pass that he quickly taped past keeper in a rather anticlimactic fashion.
The Union wasted no time in responding. Not two minutes later CJ Sapong headed a long ball down to Sebastian Le Toux, who clinically finished past Stefan Frei in front of the fan base that gave him his first shot in MLS.
Despite the best efforts of Sapong and second half sub Tranquillo Barnetta, the Union we’re unable to equalize
After grabbing the full three points on the night, Seattle look to continue their climb from the basement of MLS, while Philadelphia will need a short memory in order to shrug off a loss in a game that they otherwise played exceptionally well in up until the red card.
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