Final. After three minutes of stoppage, the host Union celebrates a glorious first game in the new PPL Park with a 3-1 win. Their joy is the Sounders misery, who clearly have serious issues.
An immensely disappointing result, considering Seattle had the lead and missed a PK. The road doesn’t get easier, playing the Los Angeles Galaxy away next Sunday — not to mention that U.S. Open Cup match at Portland on Wednesday.
90′: What’s worse? The guy who played a part in all three Union goals (Le Toux scored one and set up the others) was in rave green last season.
89′: With each passing game the Sounders have a rock-bottom result.
85′: GOAL Philadelphia! Le Toux gets behind the Seattle defense, plays a pass to Danny Mwanga, whose initial shot is saved well by Keller, but he puts the rebound home. It’s 3-1 Union. Can you believe it?
83′: Sounders about 10 minutes away from losing to the MLS’ worst team in back-to-back games (based on win-loss records).
80′: SAVE! Jaqua free on the right side, his chance is blocked by Seitz out for a corner. Roger Levesque is on for Pat Noonan and sends the CK header over the goal.
80′: Where is the defense?
79′: GOAL Philadelphia! You almost felt that one coming. A dangerous cross from Le Toux bounces through three defenders to Fred on the far post for the easy finish. Where is the defense?
78′: SAVE! Keller with an other-worldly save on that Arrieta header. Where is the defense?
77′: How will Seattle play this? Go out for the win? A bit more conservatively?
72′: There’s the 2010 debut of Nate Jaqua, who replaces Zakuani. Let’s see what impact he can make.
71′: SAVE! Fred weaves his way through the Sounders defensive third (where’s the D?) but Keller does very well to push it wide.
Moments later Keller with another save to tip Moreno’s shot over the crossbar.
66′: Seattle should be protecting all three points. Very much in danger of getting none now. Sounders FC substitution is Michael Seamon for Peter Vagenas.
61′: Sounders FC now 0-for-3 in PK all-time. Ljungberg 0-1. Montero 0-1. Noonan 0-1. Who’s next?
60′: SAVE! Pat Noonan steps up and just tries to hammer it in but Seitz is up to the task. Hard to imagine why he was taking that with that effort. What a chance blown there for the Sounders. Wow.
59′: Penalty! Again! This won earned by Montero.
58′: I definitely think Jaqua will be in the game now. For Noonan I would guess.
55′: GOAL Philadelphia! Le Toux with a perfectly placed PK to the upper-right corner to tie the game at 1-1 for the Union. Unstoppable strike.
Marshall was nowhere near the ball as he hacks Moreno down. A pretty clear-cut call. Looked like the big defender was swinging for a clearance but missed the ball and hit the forward.
53′: We’ll see how the Sounders handle their counter-attacking chances…
49′: Nice crowd at PPL Park, but I wouldn’t say it’s packed to capacity at all. Plenty of empty seats out there.
47′: Cleared off the line! Looked like Keller dove back to stop a point-blank from Fred. There might have been a whistle.
On the other end, Montero fires a shot off target.
47′: Here are the bench guys for Seattle: GK Terry Boss, F Nate Jaqua, M/F Roger Levesque, M Nathan Sturgis, D Tyson Wahl, M/F Sanna Nyassi, M Michael Seamon.
46′: And we’re off in the second half!
Think we’ll see Jaqua? I have a feeling we could see the debut of Michael Seamon (the local kid) at some point. His youth and energy would help protect the lead in the place of an attacking option.
Halftime: After another look, credit James Riley was springing the attack with a great long-ball to Zakuani on the left. He plays it into the middle where Montero flicks it on (intentionally or not, I can’t decide) to Noonan (who does well to stay onside) for the finish.
Halftime: Philly earns a free kick near the end of half, but the ref curiously blows the whistle for the break before it can be taken. I think a 0-0 scoreline would be fair at this point, but the Sounders will take any break they can get.
Noonan did well with his chance and Seattle has to hold on for 45 minutes to get the three points. Can’t give this one up.
45′: GOAL SEATTLE! Pat Noonan with the first goal at the new stadium, dangerous ball comes through a bunch of bodies to him on the far post, and he calmly places a low shot past Seitz for the 1-0 lead.
44′: Noonan wins the ball in a dangerous spot for Seattle, after a couple quick passes Montero plays Noonan through. He’s offside and the shot is saved.
41′: Dangerous free kick for Philly is taken by Le Toux and blocked by the wall. On the ensuing corner kick, Arrieta wins it for the Union but it’s well over the goal.
39′: Ljungberg gets the ball on the right, but his teammates give him few options. He whips in a dangerous cross that troubles Seitz but is cleared.
36′: Montero earns a free kick in the Union side of the field. The Sounders opt instead to play it backward? Conceding? Can’t understand why. A lack of size with no Jaqua or Nkufo?
On the other end, Moreno dives again (what’s the counter on him so far?) and Le Toux fires another shot saved by Keller.
33′: MISS! Mwanga with a wonderful, curling shot that goes just wide and hits the goal support in the back. Definitely looked the part of a go-ahead strike.
I expected a slow start by Seattle. This is slower than I anticipated.
31′: Zakuani and Montero combine well on the left side. Zak’s cross is met by Fredy, but he can’t get it on target.
27′: A clearance gaff by Marshall results in another shot by Le Toux that Keller handles comfortably.
26′: SAVE! Le Toux creates some space and fires a low shot that’s saved at full extension by Keller.
25′: ESPN guys on the call are trying to make a lot of mentions of the World Cup, even comparing the PPL Park atmosphere to South Africa. Not sure if those guys have been to the W.C. to make those comparisons or if those are empty words. I might avoid putting MLS and the World Cup side-by-side in the broadcast as that comparison won’t favor the action in the USA…
20′: Play starting to even out a bit now. Ianni is booked for a foul from behind on Le Toux.
17′: Riley and Ljungberg combined, leads to a cross by the right back, but it’s cleared. Anyone seen Steve Zakuani?
14′: Marshall beats Le Toux to a through ball, but the back pass to Keller is a little troublesome, but the veteran goalkeeper clears it.
13′: A Leo clearance smacks Le Toux in the face and he goes down. Almost looked like the ball might’ve redirected the Frenchman’s hand into his own face on the second look. After a moment to collect himself, Le Toux is up and OK.
11′: PPL Park has a “natural-gas field,” says the ESPN announcer. Quickly corrects himself to “natural grass.”
8′: Philly with the edge in possession so far. Seattle would do well to play deliberately for the first 20 minutes, I feel. Let the emotions of the debut settle. As I type, Parke has a good defensive play.
4′: Nate Jaqua is on the bench and available. Marshall and Parke have looked strong in the back so far.
1′: And we’re off! Sounders in the green-green-blue combo on the road. Philly in the all-blue. Temperature at 91 degrees.
I expect Seattle to be in something like this (4-4-2)
Pregame: Here is Seattle starting lineup — G Kasey Keller, D James Riley, D Jeff Parke, D Tyrone Marshall, D Leo Gonzalez, M Patrick Ianni, M Peter Vagenas, M Steve Zakuani, M Freddie Ljungberg, F Pat Noonan, Fredy Montero.
And for Philadelphia: GK Chris Seitz, D Shea Salinas, D Cristian Arrieta, D Danny Califf, D Jordan Harvey, M Stefani Miglioranzi, M Fred, M Roger Torres, M Danny Mwanga, F Alejandro Moreno, F Sebastien Le Toux.
Pregame: Unfortunately not in Chester, Pa., for this one, but I’ll be posting updates here as I watch the game from home. Feel free to join in with your thoughts in the comments section.