Philadelphia Union (2-7-1, worst record in MLS)
Head coach: Peter Nowak, 1st year
Last week: World Cup break, last played to a 2-0 loss at Kansas City
KEY PHILADELPHIA PLAYERS
The crowd of 18,500 — I think the brand-new sold-out PPL Park will have a bigger impact than the individual efforts of any one player. We’ll see how the frenzied venue affects the match.
F Sebastien Le Toux — How could it not be the ex-Sounder? The tireless worker has a team-high five goals (as many as anyone on Seattle’s roster).
D Danny Califf — Big, strong, physical. He’ll need to be a steady force in the back and the Union will surely be under duress at times. Remember he has USMNT experience.
Philadelphia brutes v. Seattle’s skill — The Union try to play down their physical ways, but an MLS-most four red cards speaks enough. This clash of styles should be interesting to track.
New Sounders v. Old Sounders — Are they renewed? Or are we going to see the same mistakes. Both sides of the ball have been to blame: the finishing on offense and the lapses on defense.
Union M Danny Mwanga v. Sounders M Patrick Ianni — With defensive genius Osvaldo Alonso likely out, expect the physical Ianni to be involved in the middle. Especially against the young talent Mwanga — this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick from Oregon State — that is emerging as a reliable scorer.
How this game is officiated will be key. Seattle will hope for a quick whistle, but you can’t discount the possibility of the ref allowing the home team to play more to its style. Either way I think this one will have a defensive feel.
I can’t see more than a goal or two in this one — but while watching the World Cup, you never know what will be allowed or disallowed. When it comes down to it, the guys in green are better in my opinion. The Sounders have to get this win. And will.
Seattle Sounders FC 1, Philadelphia Union 0
SEA: Fredy Montero (Freddie Ljungberg) 58′