Match Preview: Seattle Sounders @ Philadelphia Union

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The Seattle Sounders travel to Talen Energy Stadium this Sunday to take on the Philadelphia Union as the visitors look to solidify their playoff spot and potentially position themselves for a first round bye. The Union are in a less favorable position in the much stronger Eastern Conference where they currently sit in 10th place, a full 7 points behind New York Red Bulls in the 6th and final playoff spot. Saturday’s matches could find the Union eliminated from contention before the match starts but a loss or draw against Seattle would mean the end of the line for Philadelphia regardless.

The Sounders will look to ride the offensive high that a 3-0 midweek win over rival Vancouver will have brought to the men in green. After back-to-back matches without a goal, the damn seemed to break for Seattle in front of their home crowd with Victor Rodríguez, Nico Lodeiro, and Clint Dempsey each scoring in the match. Seattle managed to find an early goal to open up the match at which point they thrived in open space created by the Whitecaps pushing for an equalizer. Expect Seattle to be aggressive early in the match as they look to recreate the result on Wednesday.

The Union will need to weather the early attacks from Seattle and find their own chances from counter-attacks much like Vancouver did earlier in the week. Seattle showed signs of weakness when their defense was stretched and could have tied the match or taken the lead before halftime if not for a few desperate defensive recoveries and a massive save from Stefan Frei. Philadelphia played very well their last match at home, a 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire, as they too scored an early goal to open up the match for them. Look for CJ Sapong, Chris Pontius, and Alejandro Bedoya to try and stretch the Seattle defenders early to create chances in front of net.

Seattle will likely be missing captain Osvaldo Alonso after the midfielder suffered a quad injury in the first half against Vancouver and Rodríguez will be back in Spain with his wife for the birth of his child. Question marks also surround Roman Torres who left the midweek match late with knee soreness and there is still no timetable for the return of Jordan Morris or Brad Evans who are out with a strained right hamstring and lower back pain respectively.

Philadelphia still wait the return of Maurice Edu who has yet to play for the Union this year but has made three appearances for the club’s USL affiliate, Bethlehem Steel FC.

Kickoff is scheduled for 10 AM PT and will be nationally broadcast by ESPN.

Sounders FC

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