Union match reports

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 2-2 Seattle Sounders

Photo: Michael Long

Despite having the better of the chances, Philadelphia Union failed to grab all three points on Saturday afternoon and played to a 2-2 draw with the visiting Seattle Sounders.

The Union fell behind through an Eddie Johnson header that Zac MacMath was unable to keep from crossing the line.

While the Union eventually grabbed the momentum, it was not until the second half when Danny Cruz was finally able to level the score, powering home after Conor Casey rang his header off the post. Cruz doubled his personal tally only a minute later, this time latching onto a poor clearance before firing past Michael Gspurning to give the home side the advantage. The lead would not last, however, as Mauro Rosales was able to bundle home on 64 minutes.

With tempers running hot in the final moments, referee Jorge Gonzalez struggled to assert control over the match and handed out three red cards in the final 10 minutes before waving away a legitimate penalty claim from the Union in the game’s final seconds, putting the finishing touches on a draw that will feel more like a loss to the hosts.

First half

For the third consecutive week, Union manager John Hackworth selected the same starting lineup. Casey and Jack McInerney continued their partnership up top, while Danny Cruz and Michael Farfan flanked Keon Daniel and Brian Carroll in front of the typical back four.

While the Union have showed consistency in selections, coach Sigi Schmid has had no such luck with his side and the Sounders entered the match without four of their most influential players. Obafemi Martins, Steve Zakuani and Shalrie Joseph were all unavailable due to injury while Osvaldo Alonso missed the match to be with his wife and newborn child.

Despite their lack of chemistry entering the match, Seattle started the fastest, pinning back the Union with early passing exchanges while the home side was forced to sit deep and absorb pressure.

An 8th minute corner kick had the Union scrambling in their own box, fortunate to see a second effort Sounder shot carom back off a player in green.

In the 10th minute, Eddie Johnson got Seattle off to the dream start when he broke free of Jeff Parke, who was picked on the play by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Amobi Okugo was left to try and get a body on Johnson, but it was too late and the forward smashed his header at MacMath. Though the Union goalkeeper managed to get hands to it, his momentum had taken him into his goal and Seattle was off and running.

A minute later, DeAndre Yedlin could have doubled the advantage when Parke left his feet in a sliding challenge. The young fullback was unable to pull the trigger quickly, however, and Parke recovered to block his shot.

Slowly rising to the fight, the Union began to grow into the match, specifically on the wings. Michael Farfan put Cruz up the line in the 14th minute, giving the winger space to run, resulting in a lay off to Carroll, whose shot was off target.

Cruz was in behind minutes later, but his touch took him too close to the endline and the eventual cross missed everyone.

At the other end, Lamar Neagle had his own chance to open up a two goal cushion when he got in behind the Union defense, but pressure from Sheanon Williams did just enough to put Neagle off, and he fired wide of MacMath’s far post.

With both teams looking for the through ball in behind, the match grew stretched early and the Union were next to try their luck. When referee Gonzalez allowed play to continue after a foul on McInerney, Michael Farfan got in behind the defense only to see his left-footed effort blocked by a last-ditch saving tackle.

In the 32nd minute the Union had their best chance of the half when Cruz laid off to Williams. McInerney’s streaking run was picked out by the fullback, but the Union forward could only direct his header off the top of the bar and over.

McInerney’s off-the-ball movement continued to trouble Seattle moments later when he attacked the left flank, squaring for Cruz who mishit his shot attempt. Moments later, Farfan turned creator, setting up Cruz again, though he failed to get any venom on the shot, side-footing it softly into Gspurning’s chest.

The Union were suddenly in full flight as Okugo sent McInerney away. Picking Farfan out at the back post, McInerney had to watch on as, for a second time, a sprawling tackle kept the winger’s shot out. On the ensuing corner kick, Okugo rose highest and sent his header careening off the foot of the post, where Parke was unable to keep his follow up on target.

Michael Farfan was the first player in the referee’s book on 43 minutes following a strong build up from the Union. Okugo fired forward to pick out Williams who headed on into the path of Farfan. With Gspurning racing off his line, Djimi Traore appeared to shove Farfan to the ground, while the Union player left his foot in the challenge, getting a piece of the Seattle goalkeeper in the process.

At the other end, the Union were forced to make an unexpected first half change when Parke seemed to injure his hamstring winning a race with Johnson in the Union box. With no recognized center back on the bench, Williams took Parke’s place, while Gabe Farfan entered the match pushing Ray Gaddis back to his preferred right flank.

As the Union scrambled to get reorganized, Seattle nearly bagged their second of the half with an almost carbon copy of their first goal, though on this occasion, MacMath was able to keep Johnson’s shot from crossing the goal line.

Second half

The Union would have been frustrated not to have buried any of their 11 first half shots, but they did not have to wait long to tie up the match. It came from interplay between the forwards as Casey played McInerney wide and barreled his way into the box. Accepting the cross from his partner, Casey nodded off the post allowing Cruz to ghost in from the back post and pound home the rebound.

A sense of relief washed over PPL Park as Cruz became the first Union midfielder to score in 2013. Relief turned to euphoria only a minute later when Cruz got himself on the score sheet again. McInerney created the chance when he fired high at Gspurning’s goal. What should have been a simple enough save for the Sounders’ keeper proved anything but and he could only managed to parry the ball off his own crossbar. A frantic bicycle clearance failed to clear Seattle’s lines, and the ball fell to Cruz, who took the ball down off his chest and cracked home his second goal in one fluid motion.

With the Sounders reeling, Daniel could have grabbed an insurance goal in the 58th minute when another wayward clearance fell to him at the top of the box. But with the whole goal beckoning, Daniel fired his shot wide of the target.

That missed opportunity would come back to haunt the Union when captain Mauro Rosales dragged Seattle level in the 64th minute. Only two minutes after coming on, Mario Martinez played the vital through ball to Leo Gonzalez. It took only a brief moment’s lapse that began when Cruz failed to track Gonzalez’ run, who moved the ball to the endline for a cross that found Gaddis left alone to cover both Rosales and Johnson, with Michael Farfan arriving too late to help. Rosales made no mistake, setting up a tense finish.

The Union were undeterred in their pursuit for the victory and McInerney will still be shaking his head at not grabbing his 7th of the year in the 69th minute. After playing Casey in, McInerney continued his run to goal, and when his partner held up the ball and rolled it across the face of goal, he could only look on as it rolled inches in front of his toe.

With Seattle sitting deeper, Michael Farfan took hold of the center of the midfield as he first played in Daniel for a cross that was too far for Casey and then tried to pick out Casey at the back post, though Gspurning did well to punch it away.

As the match wore towards its conclusion, frustrations began to boil over. First Gabriel Farfan joined his brother in Gonzalez’s notebook for a hard foul on Rosales. Then Williams and Neagle were both sent off in the 85th minute. As the ball ran out for a goal kick, Williams appeared to take offense to Neagle grabbing at his shirt. As both players began pushing and pressing their foreheads together, referee Gonzalez watched from afar. Only after MacMath and Johnson joined in the melee did the official intervene.

In a game that was already wide open, the reduction of both teams to 10 men gave further space for the attackers. But on 90 minutes, the Union found themselves up a man when a rush of blood saw Yedlin sent from the pitch. After missing his first attempted tackle on Michael Farfan, he came back after the Union midfielder with a full-blooded sliding challenge from behind that gave the referee little choice.

Seattle could have been forced to finish the match with 8 players when minutes later in extra time Johnson drove through Antoine Hoppenot’s back. Falling hard on the Union player, Seattle’s first goalscorer got to his feet and appeared to throw his knee into the prone Union player. After the red cards that had preceded the play, Johnson was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card.

With only seconds left in extra time, the Union launched their final attack. Casey not only got onto the ball in the box but managed to turn and smash his shot toward goal. But there would be no stoppage time miracle for the home side when the outstretched arm of Leo Gonzalez knocked down the shot. Despite the vehement protests of the Union players, the obvious hand ball was not called, the penalty kick was not given, and the match ended in a deadlock.

The Union will look for three points on the road when they face Chicago Fire on Saturday, May 11 at 1:30pm.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Jeff Parke (Gabriel Farfan ’45), Ray Gaddis; Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot ‘72), Brian Carroll, Keon Daniel, Michael Farfan; Conor Casey, Jack McInerney (Sebastien Le Toux ’85)
Unused substitutes: Chris Konopka, Kleberson, Michael Lahoud, Aaron Wheeler

Seattle Sounders
Michael Gspurning; DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leonardo Gonzalez; Alex Caskey (Mario Martinez ’62), Servando Carrasco, Mauro Rosales (David Estrada ’83), Brad Evans (Andy Rose ’74); Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle
Unused Substitutes: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Eriq Zavaleta

Scoring Summary
10 – SEA: Johnson (Rosales)
50 – PHI: Cruz (Casey)
51 – PHI: Cruz
64 – SEA: Rosales (Gonzalez)

Discipline Summary
43 – PHI: M. Farfan (caution)
81 – PHI: G. Farfan (caution)
85 – SEA: Neagle (ejection)
85 – PHI: Williams (ejection)
90 – SEA: Yedlin (ejection)
90 – SEA: Johnson (caution)

Referee
Jorge Gonzalez

Match Stats

Philadelphia Union Seattle Sounders FC
22 Attempts on Goal 10
4 Shots on Target 3
11 Shots off Target 4
7 Blocked Shots 3
5 Corner Kicks 6
11 Fouls 10
28 Open Play Crosses 9
2 Offsides 2
2 First Yellow Cards 1
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
1 Red Cards 2
51 Duels Won 45
53% Duels Won % 46%
392 Total Pass 314
79% Passing Accuracy % 74%
55.7% Possession 44.3%

68 Comments

  1. Oh god this game. I think there is really nothing definitive to be said about this game except it will be a Rorschach test for whoever tries to comment on it. Some people will say Danny Cruz finally proved himself worthy of the starting XI some will say he was in the right place at the right time for 2 goals and the rest of his play still sucked. Some will say the Union had bad luck, focus on the handball and say they should have won some will say that Seattle did just about anything and everything they could to hand the Union the game and they still barely managed a tie. ect. ect. Some will say Zac is playing better out there some will say no. I think this goes beyond normal sports fan back and forth.

    As the weeks go on this team becomes more frustrating to me because this is apparently as good as it gets. Inevitable defensive subs aside we are never going to see anything new or try anything else and we are stuck with this formation and players come hell or high water.

    • Yes it really troubles me that there has been little change or alteration to the “script.” On one hand i’m glad we have a consistent lineup and not a new one each week like in previous years, but I would argue the starting XI isn’t the Best XI, and the subs and tactics often frustrate me – like in previous seasons.

  2. I can imagine Saoumare was wishing Parke a speedy recovery the most. I doubt there is anything that would make him want to stay here and now there is a need for a Center Back.

    • Philly Cheese says:

      Didn’t Hack say Union has three quality center backs available for selection? Let’s find out if he was telling the truth or if Bakary still is waiting for the trade/release for speaking out in frustration earlier. Too much like the previous self absorbed coach.

    • Will Albright get a start before Soumare?….

      What a fantastically enjoyable game to be honest. Chances galore, late drama, it’s just a shame the ref completely missed the hand ball that would have been fantastic. I can see Johnson being suspended by the DC and given a longer ban than anyone else. Should have been a clear RC and how the referee only gave a yellow i don’t know. If only he would explain it, i’d guess it would be “i didn’t want to infuriate the game any more”. Same reason that he didn’t give more than 3 minutes of injury time, when there clearly should have been 5 or 6 (was only 1minute in the first half too despite the injuries). The referee was awful, and i hope he breaks the “Geiger counter” tomorrow.

      • Trade window is closing. If it’s Sauomare we have him til the next one. I don’t think either party wants that.

      • Interestingly, Geiger was the 4th official yesterday…

      • I assume he was 4th because of his terrible performance the other week. It must be a revolving door to 4th official.

      • Hobosocks says:

        I imagine we’d see Jordan called back before we see Soumare. They had him playing center back in preseason, and I think (but am not sure) that’s he’s playing center back in Harrisburg.

    • Jim Presti says:

      I’m putting money down that Albright plays. It would be interesting to see Soumare play against CHI though.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Parke going down is going to hurt. We will get telling look at Okugo, as a CB. Albright would be my bet as well. Oh boy…

  3. Williams showed once again that he cant control himself… he put himself before the team yesterday and he deserved that card …

  4. It’s ridiculous how much better Marfan is at dribbling and playing out of trouble than loafs like Carrol, Cruz and Daniel. He has some really nice turns and dribbles this game, taking the ball quickly up field and making the best pass to cause trouble.

    • You are being incredibly unfair on Carroll comparing his dribbling skills to Marfan – Marfan is attacking midfielder, Carroll is a defensive midfielder. If Carroll is the best dribbler we have then we are in huge trouble.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Not really, I don’t think that James is comparing Farfan’s flair, to that of Carroll. Just making the point that Carroll is very poor with the ball at his feet. Expecting your CDM to hold the ball (WITH CONTROL) and distribute, is not a lot to ask for. He doesn’t need to take players on, only carry and allow play to open up. Bottom line: he can’t.

  5. Steve l. says:

    The team needs to learn the difference between “Philly tough” and stupidity.. They need to learn to keep there calm and be better about when they return favors. Keon was non factor in the game in my opinion. Cruz did look better, however I still think Marfan is the better option at RM. why don’t we have Baky on the bench, oh because Williams can play CB (I love Williams, but CB he is not). Wrong subs were made in my opinion, hope for Cruz is good, but Keon should have been subbed for kleberson and Casey looked leggy and tired so if a forward was to be subbed out I think it should have been him (he had a great game and I like him, but he looked really tired).

  6. Steve l. says:

    And if anyone wants a good laugh go look at the posts from Seattle fans on the MLS forums. Delusional fans base say what.

  7. I’ll keep harping. Say what you want about the piss poor officiating. Again this was a winable game mismanaged by Hackworth. I was happy Cruz scored but his is a sub not at starter. The Union continue to get exposed by issues on and off the pitch that Hackworth and Sakaiwicz can not or will not address. They’ve created their own ass-backwards reality that ignores facts and honesty.

  8. Concerned Fan says:

    Ok-
    Brian Carroll is God awful. I’m sorry. Captaincy should be taken away from him.

    Akugo once again burned for goals that have cost us points. Burned in NY on the Henry goal, burned again yesterday. It’s time to realize he IS NOT a CB. (I’m sure i’ll get crap – but he’s just not big or strong enough)

    Hack needs to swallow his pride – put Soumare at CB, move Akugo up to MF and replace BC with him. Keon is a lazy m-f’er. So many times just sleeping on the field yesterday. Kleberson, well, I’m giving up hope. He’s an easy replacement for Daniel – but yet he doesn’t even get off the bench. Hack has turned into Peter.

    It’s also time to start Konopka. How Zac can be INSIDE his goal to make a save is beyond me.

    It’s obvious Hack will not make any changes despite the team playing poorly – which is a huge sign of a coach that has no idea what he’s doing.

    I know it’s only 9 games into the season, but I doubt I’ll renew my season tickets next year unless some time of management change is made.

    • Comments shall not be taken seriously until player names are spelled correctly. Thank you.

      • It’s definitely concerning about a fan not getting a players name right, when he has been with us for 3+ years now. It invalidates everything he has said really.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I cannot disagree, regardless of spelling.

      • concerned^2 says:

        Both goals resulted from Okugo losing track of Johnson. Both of Johnson’s runs were straight at the goal. Not the most difficult run to cover… twice. Spelling only matters if you want to avoid facing facts about the guy we think should be on the national team.

      • I’d actually say the 2nd goal came from Cruz standing still, Gaddis being caught out, and Garfan being pulled too far in. But ok, we will blame Okugo.

      • concerned^2 says:

        At 5:40 in the clip above, Johnson gets the ball, Okugo marks him (makes sense central back marking striker), Johnson lays it off, Okugo drops back without picking up another attacker, two Union and two Sounders players move down the wing, Johnson runs straight at the goal unmarked, Okugo watches without marking anyone (I think there’s a term for that), Johnson continues running straight at the goal, and at 5:49 Johnson scores. Other players were involved and could have done better but they did something, which is more than Okugo did. Same as first goal (ZM could have done better).

      • The Black Hand says:

        Okugo has repeatedly been beaten by giving his mark too much space, while in the area. He is not a CB. That is only driven home further by his beautifully played, over the top ball, dropped into his player from midfield. Amobi has soooo much more to offer. It’s time to set him free in the midfield. The stellar CB play has been missing for about a month. He will struggle without Parke, if Parke is to miss time.
        All of that said, Garfan was the one who blew his coverage on the second goal.

  9. The Black Hand says:

    DANNY FREAKIN’ CRUZ!

    • If you flail around the field wildly enough eventually you will be in the right place at the right time. Those goals should have been casey and mac’s, he was lucky to get the rebound.

      • I agree he was in the right place at the right time – and I’ve been calling for Cruz’s benching all season – but I will give him credit for finishing those chances. The first was a rocket and on the second he chested and one-timed it in. Stunning and impressive.

      • I guess if you get enough minutes and chances, eventually you put one or two in the back of the net. If he can start doing this on a more regular basis, perhaps I become a believer. That said, if he is basically going to play as a right winger, don’t we have better options?

      • The Black Hand says:

        His presence is what it is. He is intense. I don’t love his touch, or positioning, but he is always getting a real sniff at goal. He is our best player, at getting in behind defenders. If he could continue capitalize on those (many) chances, he would silence many critics. He is by far the most chastised, by myself included. I thought it was fitting that he toldl us all to “shove it” with his brace.

  10. Andy Muenz says:

    What seems like the biggest negative yesterday (Parke’s injury) may have actually been a huge positive as we saw how much more effective the team was with Garfan at left back. The interplay between the two Farfan’s was some of the best we’ve seen all season.

    And what seems like the biggest positive yesterday (Cruz able to fire on target) was probably the biggest negative as Hackworth will continue to overlook how much of a defensive liability he is.

    Credit should go to Okugo for pulling Hoppenot away from the confrontation when he was fouled and about to fight and get a card of his own. That compares to Carroll in an earlier confrontation (right around the double reds) pushing the Sounder players away rather than pulling his own player out.

    And does anyone know who won the contest between Carroll, Cruz, and Casey as to who could fall down on the pitch the most times?

    • Steve l. says:

      I was saying the sane thing, I think Cruz won, but no after what you would think they would’ve changed cleats at halftime

      • Steve l. says:

        But no matter what at halftime you would then thy would change cleats. (Stupid I pad)

  11. Softest red to Williams. He is king of soft cards. Liked the subs this game.

    • What did you like most about the subs? I thought they were terrible.

      • Steve l. says:

        I was thinking the same thing, Garfan was necisary due to parke injury. Hop for Cruz, ok. But if you sub a forward out, Casey looked tired to me so why sub jack. The real sub in my opinion should have been for Keon who was absent the whole game, preferably for kleberson.

      • Garfan was a great sub… and a sub we have been screaming for for weeks.

        Everything else was kind of retread strikers and no one to get them the ball.

      • Garfan wasn’t a choice it was a necessity.

      • true. and the fact he was forced to make an obvious tactical decision makes it kind of worse.

  12. Was that the second or third time Gonzalez has sent off Williams?

  13. I am convinced afternoon games are a vast conspiracy to sell baseball caps to me. This is the second time I bought a hat at the park to keep the sun out of my eyes. Well played front office… well played.

  14. Positives: Even when he isn’t scoring Jack is proving to be a good player, getting into dangerous positions and creating plays that lead to other players scoring.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Positives:It was a beautiful afternoon.

    • Mac played a part in both goals. He was consistently dangerous and his partnership with Casey is becoming a huge positive for the team. they feed off of each other and play to each other. Its absolute beauty to watch. Also Mike upped his game a bit.

  15. Taking a point from the Sounders is usually an acceptable outcome for our Union. Yes, it could have been three, but it also could have been zero. I was not feeling optimistic after the way they played last week. There were many mistakes made all around, but the worst mistake was missing the handball in the box at the end of the match. Too bad, that one.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Drastically undermanned Sounders. No Alonzo was huge!

      • Aye, but the match could have gone either way. The Union came closer to winning than they did to losing, but a point’s a point. And this result comes a week after some truly dreadful play in Foxborough.

      • The Black Hand says:

        We need to start capitalizing on our chances. We have made some nice things happen, at times, but we are constantly leaving points on the pitch. We need take it when given and we, really, need MacMath to come through for us. A big save and we take three from Seattle. Injuries and “Baby” Alonzo had the Sounders ripe for the picking.

  16. Southside Johnny says:

    Observations from another uniquely bizarre game…Gaddis still isn’t competent at LB. The Farfans and Casey-Mack actually have chemistry. You gotta love Casey. Mac is quickly proving to be a “complete” forward. I hate weak keepers. I hate stupid refs. I hate how hard it is hate Cruz. Le2 plays with energy but won’t play in the air or tackle. Daniel is a walking frigging enigma. I hate my fries got cold so fast. Williams needs to join Mac’s anger management group. I miss Carlos. A lot. If we won it, I would still be drunk.

    • Bizarre is right! Is this what attracts viewers from other countries? MLS seems to have more than its fair share of very strange matches. . .

    • The Black Hand says:

      Agree. McInerney had, what I felt, was his best game. He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but his play was quality. He was making smart decisions, while on the ball, and he made the players around him better. THIS is what I have been waiting to see from Mac. His lack in the creation of plays was one of the biggest gripes that I had with his play. He is proving me wrong and I love it!
      Casey, to me, is very much responsible for bringing about Jack’s form. He is a beast and the chemistry is there.
      Cruz is, kind of, growing on me. Countless mistakes, yet he still goes at it hard (kind of like Rudy Ruettiger). He is very good at getting in at goal. Both of his finishes were excellent. 2g 2a is nothing to shake a stick at. If he has overcome his phobia of finishing, he will be a high scorer. Granted, that is a very BIG IF. Would he be a possible LM? Directional choices seem to matter little to him. He goes straight.
      DAniel needs to up his ‘risk factor’ if he is to make an impact. Waaaay too conservative, in every aspect of his game.
      No Parke scares me!!!

      • Although lets temper the cruz success with the fact that his side of the field was left completely open. cruz saw a lot of the ball because seattle showed more respect to okugo as a goal scoring threat then they did cruz. There were times where cruz had 30 yards of open space all around him and even then only one defender would step to him when the field was switched and most commonly get the ball back. I like the hustle cruz displays just feel like we shouldn’t need a guy with just hustle.
        That being said good on him to score a brace amongst wide spread criticism.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Cruz has repeatedly found himself in the most opportune positions. His finishing has been MIA. If he could finish consistently, he would be our leading points scorer. If that is chalked up to defenses not giving him respect, than shame on those defenders. Cruz does a very good job of getting himself in the right places. I’m not touting him as a great player, only crediting him for having some usefulness. That all said, I still feel that he is a 60’+ sub, not a starting player.

  17. Jaap Stam says:

    Hackworth hates DP’s.

    That said I was glad to see Cruz bury those two goals. It’s now abundantly clear to those paying attention that our starting eleven ain’t changing! Kleberson, Soumare, Torres….will NEVER play, and we better get used to it. Now that I’ve come to this realization it’s easier to enjoy the team. I’m hoping like hell that Cruz, JackMac, and Casey’s success are legit examples of Hack’s master plan slowly manifesting itself.

    No other choice but to drink the cool aid….Go Union…!!!

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