Friday, May 4, 2012

Philadelphia Union vs. Seattle Sounders Preview

The Philadelphia Union have fared well against Seattle, considering they are a West Coast team. The West Coast typically holds sway over the Union, but with a 2-1-1 record against the Sounders, the Union haven't done all that bad. The real question is, can that good fortune carry over to this season?

The Sounders sit in 3rd place in a strong Western Conference. They have 5 wins so far this season. The Union have 2, and can't score from the run of play. Seattle has scored twice as many goals as the union have so far this season. They have allowed 5 fewer goals than the Union have. This does not bode well for a team that at best, has an awful offense.

The only positive is the goals allowed in the last 4 games. The defense and MacMath have been on top of their game. I would argue MacMath has been one of the strongest, if the not best goalie, in the past 4 weeks in the MLS. Those early season slip ups are gone. And with a lesser goalie, the San Jose match could have been 2-0 in favor of the visitors after 15 minutes. And the back line, with stalwarts Valdes and Williams playing well, and rookie Gaddis playing better than anyone expected, the defense has kept the U in games, and let a 1-0 scoreline be a winning scoreline for your boys in blue.

So what will happen this weekend? Well, the Union still have a couple of suspensions to wait out. Garfan still has a couple games to miss, and Nowak won't be on the sidelines. But the Union will come into the match strong, and ready. And I think the defense will live up to their end of the bargain. The question becomes, can the Union poach a goal or two? Pajoy needs to play better, but he's just the tip of the iceberg.

The whole midfield needs to play better as well. The Union need to possess the ball, and not just in the defensive third. We have been losing time of possession the past few matches, by wide margins. If we stand a chance against the Sounders, we need to hold the ball. And we need to press forward. I know Nowak likes to play defensive soccer, play for ties or 1 goal wins. But I want to see some offense! At least a little bit of creativity and some willingness to take some shots.

If we can see that, we have a chance. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. I see Seattle possessing for long periods of time, and not a lot of attack from the Union. My prediction? Seattle 3-1 Philadelphia.

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