Last year’s record: N/A
Head coach: Peter Nowak
UNION KEY PLAYERS
D Danny Califf — Big physical defender could have his way with Seattle’s undersized forwards. Has MLS, European and U.S. mens national team experience.
GK Chris Seitz — Could by tested early and often, but a big save or two could keep the debutants in the game. Young player looking to establish himself, but that could work against him too.
F Alejandro Moreno — Physical forward is a league veteran. His ability to earn free kicks (fair or not) could create some goal-scoring chances. Impact could be determined by officiating.
Califf v. Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero
With Jaqua out, there’s no big guy to clear the space for the Colombian up top. Whoever gets the best of this matchup could determine the game, especially if Montero scores. Officiating could be key here too.
Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani v. Union defender Michael Orozco
Two young exciting talents in MLS could go head-to-head several times tonight. Orozco has some USMNT experience, so the task will be tall for Zakuani, who could become one of the better wingers in the league.
KEYS TO THE GAME
How does the Union handle the atmosphere? — New team could be shellshocked by the 38,000 screaming fans and find themselves 2-0 down at half if the players don’t come out ready to go.
Can Seattle break through a bunker defense? — Most everyone, including Seatle coach Sigi Schmid, expects Philadelphia to play conservatively and behind the ball. Whether the Sounders FC have improved their quick passing and playmaking in the offensive third will be crucial.
How well will Philly counter attack? — Here’s where the returning Sebastien Le Toux could have the biggest impact. If Seattle keeps pressing forward, one long ball over the top to the speedy Seba be the difference. Remember that Portland friendly?
A cross-country trip to the wildest venue in the league? Not good news for an expansion franchise. Can’t see Seattle losing this one.
Sounders FC 2, Union 0
55′ — Montero (Evans)
87′ — Ljungberg (pk)