Facing what many believed to be a so-called "trap game," the Seattle Sounders were nearly snared. Lamar Neagle missed an open chance off the crossbar, Osvaldo Alonso failed to convert a penalty and the Philadelphia Union were gifted the early lead off an own goal. It was starting to look like the Sounders were destined to have "one of those nights."
But in just the latest example of how this team is a bit different, they didn't just grind out a result, they figured out how to win. Chad Marshall's winner in the 84th minute allowed the Sounders to score their third come-from-behind win of the season and was the fourth time they've managed a result after trailing at some point in the game. It was also their fourth straight win, fifth straight match without a loss and moved them to 19 points through 9 games, a tidy 2.11 points per game average that is best in MLS.
Coming off their most complete performance of the season, the Sounders weren't quite as sharp in this one. Even though they probably had the better chances in the first half, they easily could have gone into the break trailing by a couple goals if not for Marshall's efforts. Within a minute, Marshall cleared two balls off the line and is the main reason the Sounders were even in position to make their comeback.
It's just the latest example of what having a standout defender like Marshall can do for a team.
So it was only fitting that Marshall would come up with the game-winner. The center back has been a constant threat on set-pieces and finally made good on one, slamming Marco Pappa's feed into the back of the net for his first Sounders goal.
That the Sounders won a game without Clint Dempsey needing to be the hero is also somewhat notable. During the Sounders' unbeaten run, in particular, Dempsey has been almost god-like, scoring seven goals in his previous four games. He was kept off the scoresheet in this one, even skipping a chance to take a penalty in the first half.
The Sounders have definitely looked better, but good teams need to grind out wins and that's just what they did in this one.
PHI- Brad Evans (own goal) 13'
SEA- Obafemi Martins (Brad Evans) 61'
SEA- Chad Marshall (Marco Pappa) 84'
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Dylan Remick (Marco Pappa 50'), Brad Evans (captain), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle (Kenny Cooper 79'), Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins (Zach Scott 88')
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Clint Dempsey, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Marco Pappa, 2); FOULS: 16 (Clint Dempsey, 5); OFFSIDES: 3 (3 players at 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Gonzalo Pineda, 5); SAVES 1 (Stefan Frei, 1).
Philadelphia Union- Zach MacMath, Sheanon Williams (Antoine Hoppenot 87'), Amobi Okugo, Aaron Wheeler, Raymon Gaddis, Brian Carroll (captain), Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana (Leo Fernandes 76), Andrew Wenger (Conor Casey 81'), Sebastian Le Toux
Substitutes Not Used: Andre Blake, Fabinho, Austin Berry, Michael Lahoud
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (2 players at 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Andrew Wegner, 1); FOULS: 10 (Maurice Edu, 4); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 2 (2 players at 1; SAVES: 4 (Zac MacMath, 4).
PHI- Williams (caution) 31'
PHI- Edu (caution) 35'
SEA- Dempsey (caution) 90+1'
Referee: Silviu Petrscu
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland and Scott Kachmarik
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Rain and 55 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
-Sounders FC remains at the top of the table with 19 points, two ahead of Real Salt Lake.
-Seattle leads MLS with 20 goals scored this season.
-Sounders FC has now won four straight games for the fifth time in club history.
-The win extends the club's unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1), scoring 15 goals over the span.
-Seattle leads the all-time series with Philadelphia at 3-2-2, and Seattle has not lost in the last three meetings (2-0-1).
-Sounders FC is now 3-1-0 this season when conceding the first goal, including wins in the last three.
-Seattle leads the league with 13 goals scored in the second half this season.
-Obafemi Martins now has four goals on the season, good for second on the team. He has now scored a goal in three consecutive games and recorded a point in seven of his nine appearances.
-Chad Marshall scored his first goal of the season. His four points (1 goal, 2 assists) match the most he has recorded in a season since 2009.
-Brad Evans and Marco Pappa each recorded their first point of the season.
-Philadelphia's goal marked the first own goal conceded by Sounders FC since September 10, 2011.
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening Statement)... "Obviously we are pleased we got the win. Today, coming back, we made it hard for ourselves. We had some good chances in the first half-(Lamar) Neagle's off the post, obviously as well as the penalty kick. We didn't put those chances away.... But I am proud of our team, our character, our willingness and ability to fight back again."
(On the come-from-behind victory...) "The guys fight for each other, the guys battle for each other. We said it at the beginning of the season-we wanted to be a team that fought to the very end of the game and we've done that. We're showing that when the crowd is here, and they're behind us, and it's raining, and they're still singing, chanting and jumping up and down-we deserve to keep working for them."
(On Osvaldo Alonso taking the penalty kick...) "Ozzie's wife is pregnant, so the guys let him take a penalty for his new baby."
(On Marco Pappa's performance off the bench...) "Marco came in and helped us. (Dylan) Remick got injured and we needed to take him out. We were thinking about bringing a defender to that position, but I felt we needed to get Marco on and we could move Brad Evans back there to left back. I thought that was a good way to do it. I think Marco's passing certainly helped us getting some combinations and going forward."
(On Brad Evans' first start of the season...) "I thought he did well. That's Brad's versatility, to play midfield for a half then left back for 35 minutes. That's part of what we need him to do...He scored one against us, so I am glad Brad got up there for that one, so that was good."
(On the team's offensive performance...) "I think offensively the flow that we have at times is very, very good, [especially] the ability to find each other and continue to move off the ball. I think we had some really good looks, and sometimes looks don't always reflect themselves in shots, but I thought we had some really good looks in the first half, and we had some good looks in the second half... I think the movement of the ball and the movement of the ball [shows] the confidence they have of getting the ball back."
(On Obafemi Martins' goal...) "Oba obviously saw Brad go up for that, the ball fell in behind, and he was at the right place. He was with the last defender, which is where you need to be in those situations-you need to be able to get your body behind him-and finish the goal."
(On the team's halftime adjustments...) "We needed to close the midfield a little bit. We talked about Brad getting squeezed in a little bit. I told Marco to get inside a little bit more... we also felt we could get some shots from distance, and I felt we did that in the second half."
(On Chad Marshall's performance...) "He's a good defender-that's the reason he's here. We felt that he could help us get further as a team and do better. I think he is a quality player and one of the best center backs in the league. He's got two assists... the assist he had last week and the goal he had this week off set pieces are obviously geared toward him and were very effective. Even when their fast guys go 1 v. 1 against him you don't see him get beat. His first step is really good, he knows how to use his body-he is a calm, smart defender."
(On Clint Dempsey's performance...) "He is still a huge part of our game. Sometimes people get all hung up on goals and assists and that's the key whether or not he has a good game or not. If Chad Marshall hadn't scored the goal and somebody else has, I still think Marshall should have been player of the match, but sometimes we get hung up on who scored the last goal. Clint is certainly very involved in our offensive attacks... even if there are no goals and assists he is still playing a very important role on our team."
Chad Marshall - Sounders FC Defender
(On the game-winning goal...) "[Marco] Pappa served me in a great ball. I felt like we've been close all season to getting one. We've had a couple good saves by keepers and stuff. He served in a good ball, I made a good run and was able to put it on frame. Felt good."
(On the team's success on set pieces...) "We work hard during the week. We got guys who can serve great balls and a lot of guys who are great in the air. It's just a matter of serving good balls, making good runs and you're going to score goals."
(On getting a come-from-behind win at home...) "I'd love a two-nothing or a three-nothing, but we've made it interesting for the fans and I'm glad we got three points."
(On blocking so many shots...) "I'm a big guy, I'm just trying to get in the way. I think I have a nice adidas tattoo on my back right now from one of them. I think everyone on the back line on the whole team is willing to sacrifice their body and keep them out of the net. Luckily I was able to get a couple today."
(On if they work on blocking shots...) "I think when they're in the 18, you want to minimize their chances on goal. You do whatever you can to block or alter a shot."
(On if he'll be thinking more about the goal or the defensive plays when he goes home...) "I think I'll be thinking about the goal tonight. I've been close a couple times this year, so it was nice to get one, especially at home and for it to be a game-winner. It was pretty sweet."
(On center backs getting some attention...) "Yeah, you guys haven't talked to me much this year. It's cool. There are a lot of great players on this team. I'm just happy to be here and contribute."
(On the shout-out to the fans...) "I'm just happy to be here. I've admired what's been going on here for a long time. I'm happy that Sigi brought me here so I can contribute to this team."
Obafemi Martins - Sounders FC Forward
(On the game...) "You guys already know the weather in Seattle. I'm just glad we won today. It keeps us motivated every game, getting the three points. And yeah, I'm glad I scored, too."
(On scoring late goals...) "I'm glad that it's happening to us, but I don't think it's a good sign. But I'm glad that it's happening to us-working hard, trying to win. I think it's a difficult when you're losing to come up again to win the game. That's not the way we want it, but at the end we won."
(On the mentality of the team coming out of the half...) "Usual. Coming in, Sigi was talking about how we get the three points-we had to score early when we're out there, and we did it. We worked hard and scored goals and got the three points."
Marco Pappa - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the goal...) "It's good sometimes to mix it up. They know sometimes that we're going to play second balls with [Chad] Marshall, which normally he wins the ball in the air. I think at the end of the day I hit the ball to try and find a goal. We know Marshall's quality on headers, so it was no surprise for us. It was a good goal for us, good win, especially at home, and I'm looking forward to the next game against Dallas."
(On making an impact as a substitute...) "[Dylan] Remick got hurt, so I had to come in early. I tried to come in and bring some quality. The game was at home. When we're at home, we have to show we're going to play good football and win the game."
Lamar Neagle - Sounders FC Midfielder/Forward
(On hitting the crossbar in the first half...) "It was kind of like my last one. I saw the play developing, was coming in late and just ended up hitting it too hard. I thought there was going to be contact, so I was trying to push through it. I should have hit it a little bit easier."
(On continuing to come-from-behind to win games...) "It's kind of like a broken record. We keep going down and then coming back. It's nice to be able to do that, but like we've said before we definitely don't want to count on that. Everybody knows we can score goals but we definitely need to score them earlier to make it an easier game. We could have killed this game pretty quickly in the first half.
(On the busy week ahead...) "We've had a few little stints-an away stint where we did well, this home one we're trying to continue to do well, then these three games pretty quickly is another one for us. We just keep grinding. We've got a lot of depth, so I think we're ready for it."
Brad Evans - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the game...) "First half I though they did a good job of putting high pressure on us, forcing us to play in behind them a little bit. We were still kind of sticking to our guns in the first half. I thought, and trying to play to feet and connect. I thought we could have done a better job, especially between DeAndre and I, of me clearing some space for him to push forward and create a little bit. We were a little bit disjointed in the beginning of the first half. I thought we settled in-we had a great chance to open up the scoring with Lamar's shot. The penalty kick, as well. There were still chances to be had. The second half I thought we came out with a lot of fire and were willing to go forward a little bit more. Then we dropped me back to left back and I felt comfortable. Yeah, no problem there."
(On a sense of redemption after the own-goal...) "Yeah, the [own goal] I was marking Edu and he didn't even really go up for the header. He was standing offside, so I checked my run and then got in behind him and then it just skipped off my head-the first time I've ever had one of those. Yeah, definitely feels better helping the team tie the game at that point with a header."
(On if he was in the mix for taking the PK...) "Ozzie's daughter's birthday is tomorrow, so he wanted to take it for his family. That was it, so we said, 'You know what, if we get a PK you're going to take it.' That was it. It happens, and we all stuck by him, and we all gutted out the victory together."
John Hackworth - Philadelphia Union Head Coach
(On the result...) "It's a difficult one to take because you came in and played well in the first half and we got up a goal. Even in the second half we had some chances to get a second one and we didn't put those away. You're playing a really good team though; you've got to give full credit to Seattle. They came back to get back in the game and Chad Marshall makes a great play on the corner kick, don't know what to say."
(On Maurice Edu's play recently...) "Mo's a good player; he's done a really good job for us. I thought he had a good game today; the service from Maidana was excellent on the goal. I haven't seen it but I think Brad at the end last touched it but it was a good one by Mo."
(On Maurice Edu's possible inclusion on the World Cup team...) "Yeah, I think he has earned that spot for sure, in my opinion. But that's not up to me; I think he's proven game in and game out that he's capable of playing at a very high level. Right now our issues are our team, not so much individuals. We have a lot of guys that are playing good. We continue to make mistakes in some critical moments."
(On Amobi Okugo...) "I think Amobi has put himself in a position where he should be a guy that, if he can reach his game should probably be included in there in the next cycle as a guy we talk about. He still has some room to improve and he has to first and foremost respond when given the opportunity."
(On Okugo's versatility helping his chances of playing for the national team...) "Yeah, probably; depends on what they're looking for."
(On what they can take from this game into the next game...) "We take way that we can come into probably one of the most difficult environments in the MLS and compete and play with in my opinion probably the best team in the league right now and we had an opportunity to get a result tonight. Once again we kind of let ourselves down."
Sebastien Le Toux - Philadelphia Union Forward
(Thoughts on the match...) "We lost again, it's a big disappointment. We played good in the first half, we were a little bit unlucky on the penalty kick but Zac MacMath had a great save. I thought we could have got the win tonight but we got another loss. Disappointment was the feeling right after the game, it's just very frustrating. I thought we played well but a mistake here and there cost us the game. There's a little bit of frustration and disappointment, but we have to move forward."
(Union's mindset coming into second half...) "We knew that Seattle was coming and trying to push to their strikers, so we dropped a little bit of our line like the coach wanted us to do. They got a goal a little bit quickly and after we knew it was possible to win the game so we tried to continue to play the same way we did in the first half but it was a bit different with the switch Seattle made on the field so we tried to defend the best way we can but one of those plays was a score and that's the way the game goes; but the whole idea was try to get the win."
Zac MacMath - Philadelphia Union Goalkeeper
(On what Union was expecting from Seattle coming into second half...) "Them being down a goal in their stadium we knew that they were going to come at us and they did. I thought for most of the half we did pretty well with it and a couple of unfortunate bounces, a really good goal and a header is the reason why we lost."
(Thoughts on penalty kick...) "It was a tough situation obviously pretty early in the game, I just wanted to give myself a chance to make the save and thankfully I got enough on it to push it around the post."
Amobi Okugo - Philadelphia Union Defender
(Overall thoughts on the game...) "It was tough, tough environment I thought we came out in the first half stuck to the game plan and got a good goal. Second half we came out kind of flat, we still held firm, they got two goal off sort of mistakes and capitalize on their goals and got the win."
(On the team's mentality after the loss...) "We just have to keep plugging away and hopefully we can get some luck on our side. I feel like the defense has a good game and the offense struggles or the offense has good game and the defense struggles we just have to have a complete performance from both sides and hopefully we can get a win."