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Philadelphia Union Vs. Seattle Sounders: Highlights, Opta-Enhanced Statistics, Quotes

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For the first time this year, I had a chance to watch this game purely as a fan. So, I wasn't really watching it with my analyst hat on, but I did feel like this was the kind of game I expected the Seattle Sounders to play. Facing a Philadelphia Union team we largely expected to come out very defensive, Sigi basically kept it simple early and threw the kitchen sink out there after about the 70th minute, something his quotes clearly back up.

It worked almost to perfection, as his three subs -- Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua and Alvaro Fernandez -- were easily the most effective players. I won't pretend like a six-minute highlight package proves anything, but those three players are involved in every dangerous chance the Sounders had down the stretch. Montero, in particular, was more of a playmaker on Saturday, and seemed to be dangerous every time he touched the ball.

Now that we have access to Opta-enhanced stats, I also included some of those, which show a Sounders team that was actually pretty aggressive. They only completed about 67 percent of their passes, for instance, but they also attempted a lot more passes than the Union did. The out-possessed their opponent for the first time on road and equaled the Union with seven shots.

Goals by Period




Seattle Sounders




Philadelphia Union





Scoring Summary:         

PHI - Carlos Ruiz 1 (unassisted) 32

SEA - Alvaro Fernandez 1 (Montero) 91+


Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez (Fredy Montero 66), Erik Friberg (Alvaro Fernandez 77), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani, Mauro Rosales, O'Brian White (Nate Jaqua 66).

Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Roger Levesque, Tyson Wahl, Patrick Ianni

Philadelphia Union - Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Caiff, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Stefani Miglioranzi (Danny Mwanga 59), Keon Daniel, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Justin Mapp 80)

Substitutes Not Used: Zac MacMath, Jack McInerney, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Roger Torres, Michael Farfan


Misconduct Summary:

SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution, Reckless Tackle) 30

PHI - Stefani Miglioranzi (caution, Reckless Tackle) 55

PHI - Amobi Okugo (caution, Reckless Tackle) 65

PHI - Carlos Valdez (caution, Reckless Tackle) 88


Referee: Terry Vaughn

Referee's Assistants:-Gregory Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer

4th Official: John McCloskey

Attendance: 15,149

Time of Game: 1:51

Weather: Rain-and-52 degrees


Philadelphia Union   Seattle Sounders FC
7 Attempts on Goal 7
3 Shots on Target 2
4 Shots off Target 4
0 Blocked Shots 1
2 Corner Kicks 2
14 Fouls 17
18 Open Play Crosses 13
2 Offsides 1
3 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
47 Duels Won 47
50% Duels Won % 50%
381 Total Pass 408
73% Passing Accuracy % 67%
48.6% Possession 51.4%




Sigi Schmid
General thoughts:  I think a tie was a fair result of the game.  Obviously, Ruiz scores a great free kick in the first half, but I didn’t think either team created a whole lot of chances.  They had some shots from distance, but there weren’t a whole lot of chances.  Second half we weren’t generating that much so we switched to a 3-5-2.  When we switched to that and brought in Montero and Jaqua I thought we got more offense created and I think based upon the last 15 minutes we deserved to get an equalizer.  I thought we wer creating more chances up front even though we left ourselves open a little bit in the back.  I think we were around 2 or 3 opportunities—Fernandez before he scored, Montero with the flick better, Montero another one he should have shot better when he looked for Jaqua so we had chances.
How big was goal for Fernandez: It was big.  He and I talked this week I’ve tried to be very clear as to what I need from, what I was looking for.  He responded well in training and I said if the opportunity presents itself we’ll get you in and he came up huge for us.  It was a big goal.
Montero coming back: It was good. Obviously he’s been out for two weeks, hasn’t been able to really train that hard so his timing’s going to be off a bit, but he’s someone that in terms of presence a team has got to worry about him.
Weather:  It was the same for both teams.  Obviously the wind wasn’t favoring the team attacking towards the video screen, but you have to play a little differently.  When you’re playing into the wind, you can hit more long balls, the ball holds up and gives your forward a chance to run under it which we tried to do a little bit more in the second half.  We had some success with that.  In fact the corner that we won was the result of that kind of a ball.  But it’s the same for both teams.  It’s not ideal, but for each team it’s the same.
On the surface (natural grass):  We have no problem playing on natural grass; we prefer playing on grass.  We train on it all the time and I think for our game, although today I don’t think it was a great game for us, but normally for our game playing on grass helps us because it slows the ball down a little bit.  Sometimes in our stadium it gets a little too quick and fast.  We like playing on grass, that’s not a problem
On Parke:  I thought he was solid.  I was just upset with him on one play when he was having a discussion with the referee while the play kept going, but outside of that he’s been solid for us.  He had toe surgery in the offseason and struggled a little bit in the beginning of the year just trying to come back from that.  He’s getting stronger with each week so we’re very happy with him,
On starting the same lineup two straight games: Yeah it’s obviously important when you can put guys out there and establish a rhythm.  Now you have Montero coming back into the mix as well so you’ve got to figure out how to fit the pieces of the puzzle work together.  So we talked about it, depending on how the game goes we might go into a 3-5-2 that might suit getting all those pieces onto the field.

Steve Zakuani
On the game
The first thing is the ball had been coming and of course we had been putting a lot of pressure on them and give credit to the forwards and when you have 6 or 7 attacking players on the field and when you give up chances in the back that helps create some offensively. Credit to Freddy [Montero] and Jaqua for coming on and giving us some energy in the game as well. I just felt we just kept pushing and pushing and Fernandez came up with a goal, a very big goal in dramatic fashion. We’ll take that point because it was a tough game since the conditions weren’t the best but we just had to grind out the result. It wasn’t a pretty game but we’ll take that point back to Seattle. We haven’t lost in four game now and we’ll just keep building.
On playing against wingbacks coming up
Yeah it can hurt you and especially on a day like today when the field is fast and it’s hard to control balls. You have to worry about just standing up straight because it was so windy and rainy. Philly had some good tactics, they like to attack so credit to them. But at the same time I felt that the goal was a bit soft in terms of the free kick given. I think Ozzie [Osvaldo Alonso] won the ball cleanly and he got a yellow card and Ruiz put the ball away. So when they got ahead credit to their defending wall but we bounced back. On the road it’s not easy coming in, last year we lost the game here so I think it was a step in the right direction.
On Alvaro scoring
On a personal level I’m sure it’s huge for him. He’s a great player, like I said on this team we have 17 or 18 players that can play any given week. He came on and had a great header. He’s great in the air, he scored a goal like that for us last year.  He’s very good in the air as we see in training every day. It was a huge goal and gives us a point which is the difference between losing the game and tying the game. The confidence is good, everyone feels a bit better today. We didn’t play well and we’re not going to say that we did. I don’t think offensively we weren’t sharp as we didn’t create anything today but that just shows a different side of our game. For us to grind and battle and then leave a place like this, a tough place like this to a team that hasn’t lost at home yet, and to not lose the game is great. Credit to Philly, it’s a tough place to come but we’ll take it.
On Freddy coming back
Yeah we like Freddy and he’s another weapon. Freddy came on and gave us a lot of energy and a couple shots on goal. He ended up putting a cross into Fernandez and got the assist on that. He’s been out for a couple of weeks and obviously when you’re out for a while you start to get antsy and want to come back. Great to have Freddy back, he played his part in the goal, so did Alvaro. The guys that came on gave us energy and we needed it at that point. Happy to have Freddy back.

Brad Evans
On the weather
I missed last year but yeah this was a little different for sure. I also missed the trip that these guys took in preseason a couple years ago and they said that was pretty bad too. But this was probably the worst conditions I’ve ever played in other than one time in Columbus. You know it makes for an interesting game with free kicks like that that generally don’t go in. Seemed like every time Casey [Keller] was taking a goal kick the wind would pick up and it was just chaos and tough to judge balls in the air and things like that. But to get out of here with one point and six points in a row now I think that is something we can be proud and something we can take in stride for sure.
Options off the bench after being down 1-0
I think it just shows the depth of our team. Anybody can play at anytime so people make a case for coming on and playing. It could be a different team every week if we wanted it to but I think something that will carry us farther is consistency. Trying to keep the same lineup for getting points on the road like one like this feels like a victory and hopefully it will be different in San Jose. We need to keep that consistency and keep it going and keep getting points and build up will create the cohesion the team needs to get to the next level.
On scoring in the 90th minute
Even if we had scored earlier and anytime we fight back on the road in these conditions and against a team that doesn’t give up many goals is something that is positive that we can take away from it. I don’t think they created too many dangerous chances themselves also so I think our defense was good. They scored off a free kick but other than that we didn’t give up many chances and we created a few of our own. For us I think you can feel the mood in the locker room

Alvaro Fernandez
On personal importance of goal he scored
It was good. He had a talk during the week and it was nice to be able to go in and score.
Approach going into the game
We were behind and we knew that we needed to score. I had the first chance and it didn’t go in unfortunately but thankfully the second one did.
Ever play in conditions like this?
Yea I have played in these conditions a couple of times and obviously the weather makes it more interesting, especially if you score in the last few minutes of the game.

Philadelphia Union Quotes

Peter Nowak
Frustrated?: Yeah.  It’s important that we realize not to be afraid to score the second goal.  It seems like we’re trying to manage that and also give players enough freedom to explore the options to move forward and to have a good possession game as well.  In some capacity maybe it’s in the back of their heads that we’re still winning, but winning doesn’t mean that we need to go on the shelf and just defend.  IT’s just not going to happen.  We tried to encourage them the whole week and give them enough freedom in the game that in certain situations we’re going to keep the ball moving and we created some chances.  I think we did a better job today, but we still, in the cases that we don’t see openings we’re supposed to see, and then all of a sudden we don’t have an idea where to go with the ball. As I said, repetition, repetition, practice, practice, practice because it’s the only thing that’s going to get us better.  On the other side of course, it’s a difficult way to play with the wind and also the rain.  I didn’t expect to play a beautiful game, but still simple passes from A to B need to be delivered and we need to have an idea what to do with it.  As much as we tried the whole week to work on that, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Working on defending set pieces: Yeah.  It’s not an issue—it’s not the first ball.  In the case of LA it was the first ball, but we need to concentrate better on the second and third.  Seattle had the one chance also that was cleared of the line that was not the first one, but was the second and third.  As soon as the corner kick came, we cannot have guys like Montero having a free look and then deliver the ball inside.  We’ve got to put pressure on the ball, and from this perspective it’s disappointing because we talked about it and worked on it and it didn’t happen today in a very important moment of the game.

Is it tough for Mondragon when he hasn’t seen much all day?  I think from his perspective, from our perspective its difficult for the keeper and as you saw the ball was going every direction possible from the wind.  I don’t think anybody can control something like that. There was first not concentrated enough on the second ball.  The ball bounced to Montero, we’ve got to make sure we put pressure on the ball.  He played to Zakuani, back to Montero—we have to clean this stuff immediately so there was a goal scored.
On Okugo’s first start: He’s making big strides right now.  He’s starting to show that he can play fast but he can still use the other midfielders and push the ball through.  Fighting, and running, and his defense and shutting them down was pretty good stuff.  As I said, having two defensive midfielders, you still have the ability to go forward.  He got a good one shot today as well.  I don’t want to try to put him in a can and say this is what you’re supposed to do.  They don’t need to be robots, they need the play the game as everybody sees it and everybody expects to play.  Probably because of our late results, they still in the back of their minds think 1-0 is going to be enough.  No.  We’ve got to get second and third to finish the game and get a convincing win so we’re going to work on that.

Faryd Mondragon – Goalkeeper

On his impression of the team’s strengths this year:
"I think we work very hard and it’s been a busy season so far. Everyone has been excited for what has to be done. I am very proud to have my defense."

On not seeing many shots on net this season so far and the goal scored today:
"I think it’s never quiet. The ball hasn’t come to me a lot but that is because of a very good job of my defense. We need to be very concentrated from the first to last minute. Anything can happen and the ball can get through the defense. Today was unfortunate; it was one of those things that can happen in soccer. It was a last minute ball, we just found ourselves in an unfortunate situation. That makes us feel bad as it’s a last minute goal, but I think the team played a fantastic game despite the weather conditions. We did a great job and had two or three good chances. We have to keep working as we have a very young team in order to protect the net for the last few minutes of the game as well."

Jordan Harvey – Defender
On the balling bouncing around prior to Seattle scoring:
"We were dropping deep at times and we got a little unfortunate. It was a scramble of a corner. We have given up two goals this year off set pieces. We need to clean that up, but other than that we had a decent game. But we can’t give up a goal in the 90th minute."

On the comparison of the meaning of a tie/win this year vs. last year:
"We are disappointed the game was there for us. 3 points was there. You can’t give up a goal in the 90th minute regardless of any set pieces and we need to manage the game a little bit better.

Danny Califf -Defender
On the defensive confidence
"I think we did a really good job today as far as a defensive unit. We can be proud of the performance we put in for the most part .  I think if we could take something away this set…  we would try not to drop into a shell as early as we did I think we could of sustain higher up on the field against them even in the later stages of the game even with the rain and the wind. We could have had 3 goals instead of just one"
On sensing where the game was leading
"I guess anytime you get results and not playing your best you can’t always feel when you start to drop.  I still think it’s a big disappointment to give it away in the 90th minute, especially since we put so much hard work into defensively and done such a good job limiting their chances and coming up with good plays."
Carlos Ruiz -Forward
Ah it was a nice goal; but in the end we didn’t win the game, and that’s very sad. I prefer to not score a nice goal but get the two point. We tied this game. We have to learn from our mistakes.  Try to be better in the next game, but definitely nobody is happy about the result.

The celebration: I was trying to celebrate the goal with all of the bench because everybody is part of this team.  Sometimes the people just see the 11 guys who are playing or the substitutes, but everybody is on the same page.  I was just trying to go to the bench and Peter was the first guy and we all celebrated together.

Offense as good as it was all season? You know what happens when we tie a game at home and win with just one goal everybody thinks the offensive line is not playing that good.  That’s my department.  I try to talk to all the forwards and get better and better, but it’s a team and sometimes we have to see what’s really wrong with the offensive part of the team.  This week we’re going to talk and see if we had enough balls to score on and see what happened on chances and see if it’s our mistake or everybody’s mistake.

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