A scoreless draw typically means a rather uninspiring effort. But when you rotate your team to the extent the Seattle Sounders did against the Philadelphia Union, taking a point on the road is certainly something most fans will take. Head coach Brian Schmetzer said that whichever personnel played against the Union, they’d be ready to play hard and get a result. And that they did, even while being out-possessed to the tune of 68-32 percent. It was an inspired defensive effort by the Sounders, and they did their coach proud.
Stefan Frei: He saved the Sounders’ bacon on the few legitimate chances that the Union had. After Alex Roldan was dispossessed in a dangerous area, the Sounders defensive talisman came up big with a save on what was one of the Union’s most dangerous chances. He also made a since save on a Haris Medunjanin free kick in the 71st minute. Otherwise, he was his usual solid self, cleaning up half-chances and organizing the makeshift backline.
Brian Schmetzer: Coach Schmetzer hinted at some changes to the lineup after the Orlando City game, with the Sounders playing their third game in eight days. Given the injury situation, he didn’t have much of a choice, but his lineup managed to claim a clean sheet. Even better, he was able to fully rest Brad Smith (save the flight), and Kelvin Leerdam and Raul Ruidiaz played relatively minimal minutes, meaning they’ll be ready for the next road game versus Sporting KC. Seven out of nine points over the last three games is certainly a tally the team will be happy with.
Román Torres: Another great game from the centerback in Chad Marshall’s absence. A steady presence in the backline aside from giving up one dangerous header on goal, Torres continues to show that reports of his demise were perhaps premature. The Panamanian managed to play three games in a week, which is something most fans likely wouldn’t have expected at the start of the year. The game against LAFC seems to be a distant memory.
Ilsinho: One wonders what the game would have been like if the midfielder had started the game instead of playing just 33 minutes. He repeatedly beat Nouhou off the dribble, and probably should have gotten the left back sent off for a second yellow. The Brazilian got 47 touches in limited minutes and generated multiple dangerous chances, forcing Frei into one particularly tough save.
Jonathan Campbell: Getting his first minutes for the first team after appearing to struggle mightily during his time with the Tacoma Defiance, Campbell was generally solid, save being caught in possession a time or two. Certainly a pleasant surprise, given his lack of playing time.
It’s tough to call anyone in particular a “loser” here, given the squad rotation and result, that said...
Passing accuracy: This was certainly the ugliest part of the game, and probably cost the Sounders a chance to claim all three points. The Sounders were only able to manage 76% passing accuracy and several chances went begging due to the inability to connect from the midfield into Philadelphia’s defensive third. Some of the passing woes were likely due to the lack of familiarity of the lineup, but it was disappointing to see potential counters come to nothing due to misplaced balls.
Midfield going forward: It seems overly harsh to single out anyone in particular here given the new formation, but there was not much offensively from the midfield. Alex Roldan provided good effort, but much like the rest of the team, did not provide much in possession and had a bad turnover that led to a dangerous chance. It was probably too much to expect the trio of the Roldans and Jordy Delem to provide much offensive support.