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Match report: Philadelphia Union 0-0 Seattle Sounders

photo: Paul Rudderow

The Philadelphia Union dominated proceedings but couldn’t find a break through against a stubborn Seattle Sounders team on Saturday night in Chester. Despite outshooting the Sounders 20-6, Philadelphia just couldn’t find the final touch and the match ended scoreless.

Jim Curtin made three changes to the team that defeated Toronto last week. Andre Blake returned from injury to start in goal. Brenden Aaronson replaced the injured Marco Fabian in central midfield and Sergio Santos made his first Union start, taking the place of Fafa Picault.

The opening 45 minutes featured back and forth soccer, with the Union leading the possession and passing stats by some margin. Brendan Aaronson did well to force Stefan Frei into a good save in the 20th minute. Philadelphia found themselves a tad lucky in the 23rd minute when Nicolas Lodeiro fired high and wide after a long throw in wasn’t cleared.

Jamiro Monteiro did well to test Frei from distance in the 54th minute. The midfielder fired a dipping shot from 30 yards out that Frei bobbled but was able to recover in front of the advancing Kacper Przybylko.

Frei was again called into action in the 58th minute. Substitute Ilsinho drove the right wing and fired in a cross that was half cleared. Haris Medunjanin found the ball and floated in a cross toward the back post that Przybylko met, but fired his header straight at Frei from 4 yards out.

Philadelphia could carve out another fantastic chance in the 69th minute. After more impressive one on one work from Ilsinho, the Brazilian played a quick ball into Aaronson near the six yard box, but the youngster couldn’t keep his shot down and fired high and wide of Frei’s goal.

Medunjanin would test Frei in the 72nd minute. Ilsinho did well to draw a foul near the corner of the box. Medunjanin whipped in the free kick that looked destined for the top corner, but Frei did well to just tip it over the bar with his fingertips.

Medunjanin would have one final chance in the 88th minute, firing a hard shot after Seattle failed to clear a ball into the box, but the Sounders defense blocked the shot and finally scuffed the ball clear.

The announced attendance was 18,540 on the night, a complete sellout. The stadium was definitely the fullest and loudest it’s been all season. Philadelphia is next in action when they host the Portland Timbers next Saturday (7:30 p.m.).

Three Points

  • Everything but the goal – The Union dominated the match but couldn’t find the composure to break through an organized Seattle team.
  • Skillsinho – Ilsinho was electric after entering the game in the 57th minute and provided most of the Union’s best opportunities attacking down the right.
  • Stubborn Seattle – The Sounders looked content with the point from the moment the line ups were announced. The team rotated heavily for their 3rd game in the week, but were able to muck up the play enough to grab a draw.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Ray Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Kai Wagner, Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson (Fafa Picault 77′), Sergio Santos (Ilsinho 57′), Kacper Przybylko
Unused Subs: Carlos Coronel, Fabinho, Michee Ngalina, Aurulien Collin, Anthony Fontana

Seattle Sounders
Stefan Frei, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Kim Kee-hee, Roman Torres, Jonathan Campbell, Nouhou Tolo (Kelvin Leerdam 71′), Cristian Roldan, Jordy Delem (Handwalla Bwana 76′), Alex Roldan, Nicolas Lodeiro, Will Bruin (Raul Ruidiaz 79′)
Unused Subs: Bryan Meredith, Harry Shipp, Henry Wingo, Brad Smith

Scoring Summary

Disciplinary Summary

SEA: Nouhou Tolo – 57′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Kacper Przybylko – 72′ (dangerous play)
PHI: Fafa Picault – 83′ (unsporting behavior)
SEA: Jonathan Campbell – 86′ (unsporting behavior)


  1. UnionGoal says:

    Elliott great stop against Lodeiro 50tj minute. Blake looked good but not tested like Frei. Bedoya more defensive mid tonight. Harris and Aaronson pushed up. Wagner looked great but hat’s off to Ray Gaddis– best game I remember watching him play. Awesome! 8-9 on rating this week for him
    Pitch awful__i know the sod company shill is gonna comment on my comment something about it hasn’t taken root yet. I call BS. Pitch did not look this bad last year–this looks like nycfc playoff game. Hope no one gets hurt.
    Attendance stayed as over 18,000– looked more crowded then last time but saw number of empty seats, 5-6 in a row here and there as they panned crowd so I was guessing 17,000-17,300.
    Geiger counters seemed high__nothing called for awhile then series of yellows but no second yellow for number 5 mugging everyone.
    Good game, good point.

    Congrats to Curtin and team.

    • Respectfully disagree on Gaddis. Seemed like Seattle was daring him to beat them. Gaddis had miles of space all night and couldn’t come up with anything but pedestrian.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        The team kept a clean sheet and I bet the RB carried greater than 85% pass completion.
        Clearly the attack is centered more on exploiting the left flank with the LB… who is tendered with an attacking mindset. Ray gets up field. Links play. Forces the other team to account for him. He’s a defender first. We know this. Maybe a bit old school. But very effective with what he offers.
        Ray being Ray. I like it.

      • I’d have to disagree with your disagreement 😉
        Gaddis is there for defense first and foremost. The speed he showed tonight running down loose balls and tracking back was impressive to say the least.
        From where I was sitting, Ray was stymied when had the ball at his feet with a very good defender facing him, no doubt about it. However, all credit to a man who knows his limitations, he didn’t waste a posession trying to be “karaoke Ilsinho”, he moved it along as he should have.
        At the same time, I saw some very impressive runs into dangerous places that definitely occupied the attention of Seattle defenders. It certainly opened up some of the many opportunities his teamates saw tonight.
        All in all, I thought it was one of the better games I’ve ever seen Gaddis play. I’m pretty sure Ray’s rating from his coach and teamates is going to be pretty high tonight, and those are the only ones that matter. I’m willing to bet the stat analysis we see this week will back that up.

      • I agree with Pachy here. I thought Ray was very good tonight. Heavily involved in the possession game, made a few good overlapping runs, and showed off a few nifty one-on-one moves.

      • Whether or not Ray was good is irrelevant to me. What was apparent was the Union’s need for an attacking right back. For once Tommy was right and Ray had acre’s of space. When in the final third on attack, the momentum would die when it went to Ray. To me, this spelled the end for Ray. I think there’s a good chance one will be targeted during the summer window.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Further out on a limb than a squirrel, but … .
        Future right wing back.
        Issa Rayyan.

    • Great One says:

      I disagree on Gaddis. He didn’t play badly necessarily, actually well on defense. I thought this was one of the first times where a team very obviously conceded the high right flank to him on purpose and just let us consistently go there to him, knowing nothing would come of it. I haven’t been a Gaddis hater at all this season, his defense was very strong. However, last night was the first time where another team really made his limited offensive ability a liability.

    • Vince Devine says:

      Agree with everything but the Gaddis comment. He has no idea what to do when he gets the ball. He’ll dribble 15 yards up field, stop, turn and pass back even though mids and strikers are moving for a pass.

    • I also thought the crowd looked less than 18 and change. Our section was missing quies a few rows. Your count seems more realistic. The pitch looked ok but still kept pulling up. At least Seattle’s keeper didn’t need to pull up a huge chunk!

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Was afraid it was going to be the mirror image of last year’s game with the Union giving up a goal late so from that standpoint I’ll take a draw but 3 points would have been nice with Atlanta breathing down the Union’s necks. Hopefully they can take the next 6 against Portland and Colorado.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Followed my request from mid-week to the letter… ‘to earn a well played draw against a good team’ and that was-
    -a well played draw played with an attacking mindset throughout against a very solid if not excellent team from the west.
    ….fucking— Carry On.

  4. Fun, fun game to watch. Frustrating that the U didn’t punch just ONE of those many opportunities in, but it was all entertaining none the less. The U were definitely the better side tonight.
    Sell out or no, the stadium had as many people as I’ve seen in there in a long time. All the folks in and around our seats we remarking how the place had the “buzz” of a proper crowd again. Again, fun!
    Ilsinho is so much more fun to watch now that’s he’s got a few players with a clue and a skillset around him. It no longer feels like his talent is being wasted like water being poured into sand. Electric!

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Frustrating they didn’t get 3, but it wasn’t from lack of effort. They had 4-5 legit chances to bury one. They bossed a Seattle team that to me, didn’t look interested in getting 3 points at all… just didn’t get the goal. Nothing tonight showed this team isn’t legit… they are good and will be good. Aaronson was real good. Thought Montiero was keyed on and couldn’t be as effective as he normally is. Nothing against Gaddis, but the RB position has to be upgraded. He had a ton of space to get forward but he doesn’t have the ability to make the other team pay. Love the effort. Deserved 3 points but I’ll take the one. Nice to see a packed, loud stadium too. Environment was great down there.

  6. My god did they look good. It felt like I was watching a European team out there. The passing, and defensive pressure was outstanding. I’m proud of the way the boys played tonight.

  7. Some quick takeaways:
    •Ray was solid in defense but it was never more apparent that he’s substantially holding the attack back.
    •Can Haris shoot the ball? There were several times it looked like to be the perfect place for a shot outside the box just to see what could happen, and he looked to pass instead. Would like to see him take that risk.
    •Ilsinho is ridiculous. That is all.

    • +1 on all three takeaways

    • Great One says:

      Agreed on all points. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing with how much better our movement was than Seattle. One of the most fun games to watch in a long time.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Even more so than shooting from open play, I’d really like to see Haris take a shot on goal when he has a free kick just outside the box on the right side of the field. Both times they had that situation, the tried trickery which led to nothing rather than taking a shot at goal directly off the free kick.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        +1000. I think he did once later on and it just missed the upper 90. But he definitely needs to fire more shots on the free kicks

  8. Really fun game! The crowd was very into the game! They were great in pressure and controlled the tempo! Well done boys well done!

  9. Second place in the East versus second place in the West. I would like to have seen the Union go up against a Seattle team that was playing for three points to see how they really measured up against the best of the west. Instead, I’m a little upset with the league schedule for giving Seattle no choice but to bunker for a point in this one.

    This could have also been a showcase matchup for the league. Instead, it was a missed opportunity. I get the schedule was made up before anyone thought the Union would actually be good this year, but the current TV setup gives no flexibility to have made this a nationally broadcast game. At least that’s one thing the NFL gets right!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      MLS scheduling is a clusterf**k in general. There is an even number of teams so there really is no need for some to be playing midweek and not others or for a team to have to cross the country on short rest. Until that’s fixed, this will never be a world class league regardless of the talent of the players.

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr. says:

        It will never be fixed until CCL is fixed. Teams get a lighter schedule that are playing in the beginning of the season and more midweek games are because of the Gold Cup
        Why a team is playing a midweek game and flying across the country is perplexing though.
        Crowed is growing….glad to hear the Sons of Ben echoing on the t.v. broadcast again.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Place was rocking down there last night. Really awesome to feel the energy and see the fans out again. Hope it continues.

  10. John P. O'Donnell Jr. says:

    Crowd …… frickin autocorrect.

  11. @uniongoal…. it hasn’t taken root yet. It was only installed months ago. We measure “root-taking” in dog years down here on the sod farm.

    • Company is Hackwork Sod….they promise it will take root one of these days with lots of time and nurture…

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