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Union vs. Sounders, recap: Scoreless tie feels just fine

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Sounders roll out the 5-3-2 and finish off a seven-point week.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Philadelphia Union Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone expecting the Seattle Sounders to come out and blow away the Philadelphia Union after just one day of training and flying across the country will probably be disappointed with their 0-0 tie on Saturday. Everyone else, though, is probably thrilled.

The Sounders rolled out a 5-3-2 for the first time and made five changes from their midweek game and were mostly content to defend a lot. The result was a match that saw them out-possessed 68-32 and outshot 20-6. But in the end, they seemed pretty satisfied to claim their seventh point in eight days and extend their unbeaten run to six games.

Key moments

  • Believe it or not, the first really good chance from either team went to the Sounders. Off a Saad Abdul-Salaam throw-in, Alex Roldan found the ball at his feet about 10 yards out. His shot was blocked, but fell to Nicolás Lodeiro who had an open look only to sail his shot high.
  • For all the shots the Union were taking, few were from dangerous positions. In the 58th minute, however, Haris Medunjanin found Kacper Przybylko at the far post for a header from about six yards out. Przybylko hit it well, but almost right at Stefan Frei, who handled it easily.
  • That turned out to be one of only eight Union shots from inside the penalty area and the only one that was on frame. Frei’s other five saves all came on shots from no closer than 22 yards.
  • The Sounders had one more chance to steal three points. In the 87th minute, Andre Blake’s clearance struck his own defender, effectively putting Handwalla Bwana and Raúl Ruidíaz in on goal. But Bwana’s first touch was a bit heavy, giving the defense enough time to recover and eliminate the danger.

Talking points

You always take a point on the road: There were no style points to be claimed, but like that 0-0 tie in New England last year on short rest, there’s no reason to spend too much time fussing over a single point. Considering no subs were made before the 70th minute, it seems likely that Brian Schmetzer’s hands were reasonably tied in terms of his options. They made the most of it.

Reserves step up again: Jonathan Campbell had not yet played a single minute for the First Team, the last veteran on the team to have not seen the field. Alex Roldan got his first start of the year. Neither were anything like spectacular, but they did combine for nine interceptions and a host of other defensive plays. Those two are likely in for a bit more playing time soon and this performance suggests the drop-off might not be too awful.

Never stop appreciating Nico: Chances are no one will be talking about this game at the end of the year, but in a sense it’s also a quintessentially Lodeiro performance. Asked to play 90 minutes for the third time this week — and the 12th time in 13 appearances — Lodeiro was again all over the place. He nearly willed the Sounders to a goal, too, contributing four key passes.

Did you see that?!?

He said what?!?

“When I look at the faces in the locker room, when I look at the players on the field giving it their all, giving them chances to win at the end of the game on a couple set pieces and stealing a couple passes, I can’t ask for anything more from my guys. We flew out on two days rest and for them to put on a performance like that, and some guys who played all three games, it was a monster performance. I don’t think there is any team in the league that won’t take seven points in a week. So whatever this piece of paper says, we are pleased.” - Brian Schmetzer

Stat of the day

20 — Campbell was the 20th Sounders player to get at least one start this year. The only veteran outfield player to not yet receive a start is Henry Wingo.