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Scouting Report: Dividing the Union

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A team divided cannot stand

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Philadelphia Union Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

What You’ll Watch

The Seattle Sounders will look to extended their MLS record winning streak to 10 games and also extended their unbeaten run to 13 games when they host the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night. This is the one and only regular season meeting between the two clubs this year.

Philadelphia currently sits in fifth place of the Eastern Conference with a record of 12-12-4 (44 points in 28 games played; 1.43 ppg) and the Sounders still remain in fifth place in the Western Conference with a record o 13-9-5 (44 points in 27 games played; 1.63 ppg). Last time out, the Sounders defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 and the Union lost to the Montreal Impact 4-1 at home.

A Look at the Enemy

Last Five: W-W-W-T-L with eight goals scored and six conceded

Leading Goal Scorer: Cory Burke, eight goals (five on the road)

Assist Leader: Borek Dockal, 15 assists (six on the road)

Injury Report, Suspensions and International Duty

Philadelphia

Out: Matt Real (left knee sprain)

Questionable: Ilsinho (quad strain)

Suspensions: N/A

International Duty: N/A

Seattle

Out: Jordan Morris (torn ACL) and Felix Chenkam (herniated disc)

Questionable: N/A

Suspensions: N/A

International Duty: N/A

Match Officials

REFEREE: Ismail Elfath

AR1: Jeff Hosking

AR2: Jeremy Hanson

4th: Daniel Radford

VAR: Allen Chapman

What to Watch

Philadelphia Union System

As is all the rage around MLS, the Union play in a 4-2-3-1. But they do not play with a traditional defensive midfielder. It would even be hard to call the two players in that band holding mids. The must common players to slot into the band of two are Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin. Medunjanin is best used as an 8 or a poor man’s 10. In his heyday Bedoya slotted across the attacking band. Now, the two focus on possession and hope that the back four can leave Andre Blake with easy shots.

In attack the Union run through a central attacking midfielder, most often Borek Dockal. Dockal is a strong passer who is hampered by forwards who don’t convert frequently enough (Sapong, Burke).

With such a weak defense and decent ball-handling in the attacking band, Philly hopes to possess in the final third. They can lose that patience and default into crossing into the box, especially from the right side. This should leave space for Brad Smith or Nouhou to act.

Quick Keys

Take advantage of poor central playNicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz should be able to run circles around a team without defensive midfielders. Philly has given up third most penalties in MLS.

Score early, score often — In nine of 14 away matches the Union have given up two or more goals. The Sounders have only done that once at home.

Find some rest — whether through squad rotation or early substitutes there is a match on Sunday. Circumstances should allow for some players to get needed rest.

How to Watch

Date/Time: Wednesday, September 19 @ 8:00 PM

Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

TV: JOEtv

Streaming: YouTube TV

Radio: 950 KJR AM (English), El Rey 1360 AM (Spanish)