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Match report: Union 1-1 Sounders

“Don’t be afraid to score the second goal.”

That was Peter Nowak’s message to his team after Saturday’s 1-1 home tie against Seattle. A brilliant Carlos Ruiz free kick put the Union on top, but an extra time header from Alvaro Fernandez punctured Fortress PPL for the first time this season.

As the Union have scraped together 1-0 wins, their manager made no apologies for the team’s oft-ugly performances. Unable to recite a long-winded version of “scoooooreboard,” Nowak admitted that he wanted more from his offense going forward.

“We didn’t expect to play a beautiful game but passes still need to go from A to B,” he conceded.

While praising Amobi Okugo’s improved play, Nowak insisted that there was no offensive system for the players to master. Instead, he called on the team to feel more comfortable with the ball and to play with more speed and precision.

It was a bit surreal to hear the emphasis on offense after what appeared to be the team’s most impressive display of possession and movement. Certainly Carlos Ruiz was far and away the best striker on the pitch, showing the calm distribution and deft touches that one expects from an influential center forward. Combining with Seba Le Toux and Keon Daniel, Ruiz proved his quality to a skeptical crowd.

Philadelphia controlled much of the play for the opening half hour, and it was the young duo of Okugo and Nakazawa who joined Daniel in showing poise and patience on the ball. It was Nakazawa who confidently ran at the defense in the 31st minute, beating one man and cutting onto his left foot before earning a foul just outside the box.

Carlos Ruiz stepped up to the free kick 25 yards from goal and, with the spin of a seasoned politician, clubbed the ball into the back of Keller’s net.

It should have been the crowning moment of the Union’s best 90 of the season. But a late defensive lapse allowed Seattle to steal a split of the points and deal a blow to the Union’s stout defense.

Fredy Montero lofted a ball into the box and fellow sub Alvaro Gonzalez touched it in off the post with his head to close the game at a 1-1 tie.


  1. The team was falling apart at the seams with 10+ to go when the Sounders switched to a 3-5-2. we’re lucky that Califf was there to stonewall the sounders in the 88th minute or it could’ve been 2-1.
    However, this month ending with RSL (not anymore) on the schedule looked to be the toughest month on the schedule. so to get out of it with 4 points against 3 of top MLS squads is a good indicator for the rest of the season….I hope.

  2. gbotic, hafta agree with you. i hated the subs yesterday. thanks adam for recognizing ruiz’s play yesterday. i actually think that was a really poor substitution bringing him out. he looked good with the ball on his feet and was dishing them out at times too. if anyone should have come on for him it should have been torres who is a positive player and can move the ball and distribute. would have been better than playing the half pitch version of soccer that the last 10 mins turned into.

  3. We should have won that game without a doubt. Another soft goal off a set piece, making both goals conceded this year off set pieces through five games. Really poor game management by Nowak from my perspective, migs off for Mwanga really confused me at the time. We were up 1-0, why not bring in defensive support? Most upsetting to me was Le Toux’s inability to score the second on his most clear cut opportunity of the season in the second half…kicked it right at Keller. The team needs to be more clinical in front of goal.

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