Match Preview: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Philadelphia Union

It's sophomore vs. freshman as MLS kicks off its 15th season

Seattle Sounders fans

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

The basics

Seattle
Sounders FC vs. Philadelphia Union at Qwest Field, Seattle.

All-time
record: First meeting

TV info

9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and
ESPN Deportes

What's at stake?

Philadelphia faces a tough
task in the franchise’s first-ever game: go into the raucous environment of
Qwest Field and try to earn a result against a powerful Sounders FC squad.
Sebastien Le Toux, a fan favorite during his tenure in Seattle, returns to the
Pacific Northwest after being selected by Union in the 2009 Expansion
Draft.

Last meeting

N/A

Remember when?

This time last year we all assumed a revamped and speedy New York side
would embarrass the green-in-every-way Seattle franchise on its home debut.
Instead, the Sounders—backed by 34,000 fans—tore apart the disorganized Red
Bulls. It all began in the 11th minute when Osvaldo Alonso broke free to feed Le
Toux, who then fed newcomer Fredy Montero. The Colombian striker took no time
endearing himself to the home fans, firing a shot into the bottom corner for
Seattle's first-ever goal. Sublime.

Heroes & Villains ...

Philadelphia’s strike force vs. Seattle’s center
backs:
How will Philadelphia create
goals? Le Toux could be one option, as could aging Venezuelan speedster
Alejandro Moreno. Another possibility could be No. 1 SuperDraft pick Danny Mwanga,
who grew up in Portland and attended Oregon State University. If he doesn’t
start, Mwanga could come off the bench to provide additional scoring punch. Finding
the net could be difficult for Union: Seattle allowed only 29 goals in all
of 2009 and has all their defensive pieces back, including a superb
shot-stopper and excellent organizer in goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

Stefani Miglioranzi vs. Osvaldo Alonso: With
Brazilian playmaker Fred suspended after a red card to finish the 2009 season,
the battle in the center of the park will likely come down to these two
players. How will the crafty Migloranzi fare against Seattle’s Cuban destroyer?
The victor of this battle will likely win the war. If Philadelphia fails to
make any headway down the center of the park, Union’s talented attackers
won’t even sniff the goal.

Stat that makes you go, “Hmm …”

Why the schedule makers would
have the league’s newest franchise head into one of the most difficult
environments in Major League Soccer is a head-scratcher. Buoyed by their noisy
home fans, Seattle dismantled the New York Red Bulls 3-0 in MLS First Kick
2009. Peter Nowak hopes his troops will fare better and may come out with an
all-out attacking game plan to catch Seattle off-guard. 

He said it

“Peter [Nowak] is a good
coach. His team is going to be well organized. They have kept their lineup a
secret all the way through preseason.” —Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid on
Philadelphia’s approach.