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Sounders at Philadelphia Union recap: Patchwork lineup falls

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Sigi Schmid started more players 23 and under than he did over 27

Frei saves
Frei saves
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Traveling on short rest to face a woeful Philadelphia Union side Sigi Schmid gave Oniell Fisher, Aaron Kovar and Jimmy Ockford their first starts. Also part of the youth movement were regular players Cristian Roldan and Dylan Remick. Only Stefan Frei's superb performance kept the match close. The Swiss keeper couldn't keep the clean sheet when C.J. Sapong headed shot off of Frei's hands into the net.

As memorable as Frei's performance will be Sigi's third sub. Chad Marshall came on in the 80th minute. Entering for Remick the centerback took his spot at forward and the team shifted to a 3-5-2. Darwin Jones was the other forward with Thomas and Roldan out wide, Marco Pappa floating and Gonzalo Pineda and Micheal Azira sitting centrally.

Three crosses targeted Marshall, but none gave him the opportunity to get a successful header on goal. He did have two back to goal moments. There was a chance at magic, but it would not happen.

Stefan Frei stopped a PK in the 31st minute. His performance cannot be doubted.

Seattle lost three matches in a row, but only two in MLS play. Despite that, they sit second in the Shield race (2 behind DC United) and first in the West (goal differential advantage on Vancouver, but tied on points).

Observations

  • This offense was stronger than it will be when Pappa leaves for the Gold Cup, unless Barrett gets healthy soon. One of Jones or Mansaray is going to have to be a scoring threat up top with Neagle, or Sigi Schmid's going to play centerbacks there.
  • Playing centerbacks at forward is dumb. Maybe they should sign someone when the transfer window opens. But that's in two weeks. A free could be signed now.
  • It sure would be nice to have Clint Dempsey right now.
  • For all the youth on the field, none of them looked awful. Pineda and Azira's inability to control the midfield put more pressure on the U23+Zach Scott backline than they could handle. That's not the backline's fault. There is certainly hope from the young defense.
  • Stefan Frei is currently the best keeper in MLS. Sure, Bill Hamid's more valuable to his team, but he isn't as good a keeper.