With only 6 starters in the game, the Sounders struggled to compete against a Union team that has had a rough year. Going into the game, we knew the Sounders basically played with their “B squad” and it showed.
With 12 fouls (to the Union 4), the Sounders played a sloppy 90 that saw several shots (9), but only 2 on target. With new defenders Jimmy Ockford and Oniel Fisher on the pitch, starters Zach Scott and Dylan Remick (both of whom picked up yellows today) were left to pick up the slack.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei did an outstanding job stopping 12 shots (5 on goal); unfortunately in the 69th minute a cross from Sheanon Willams resulted in a header from C.J Sapong gave the Union the go ahead goal.
Midfielders Marco Pappa and Leo Gonzales were buoyed by young midfield help, but ultimately, the offense just wasn’t there. They had only two good looks with the adjusted lineup. With only one proper forward, the Sounders played basically a 1-5-4 with Lamar Neagle as the Striker.
It was curious as veterans Chad Marshall (who subbed late for Dylan Remick), Tyrone Mears and Andy Rose were not called into service. Apparently, Coach Sigi Schmidt thought going with the youth would be good enough to perhaps escape with a tie.
Three Sounders made their 1st career starts: Ockford, Fisher, and Aaron Kovar. Additionally, backups such as Thomas, and Christian Roldon saw time.
Halfway through the regular-season, the Rave Green is atop the West; leading the Whitecaps in goal differential (nine).
SSU Man of the Match
Although the Union came away with the win, it is worth giving Stefan Frei the nod for stopping as many as possible with a young and porous defense. His stop of a penalty kick by Maurice Edu was nothing short of amazing.
Frei remains atop the MLS leader board in saves (63), shutouts (eight) and wins (nine).
Next Side Up
The Sounders are back in action on Sunday for their second regular-season game at the Portland Timbers. The Sounders won the 1st game of the regular season 1-0; they are also in first place of the Cascadia Cup standings. But it will be the game from a week ago, the US Open Cup loss that the Sounders will look to avenge.