Union Open PPL Park with Stylish Win
Opening a brand new stadium is always an exciting prospect for any professional sports team. On Sunday, the Philadelphia Union did it in style, coming from behind to win 3-1 over the Seattle Sounders. The win was just the Union's third of the season.
Sounders forward Pat Noonan opened the scoring just before the halftime break before Sebastien Le Toux tied the score with a well-taken penalty in the 55th minute. A late Fred winner, his first of the season, secured the victory for the Union, and rookie Danny Mwanga added an insurance goal in the 84th minute to round out the scoring.
Coming out swinging, the Union controlled the pace of the match for much of the first half and were able to keep the Sounders on their heels. Their first real chance came in the 34th minute when Mwanga sent a bending shot from just outside the box. It looked pegged for the back of the net, but sliced just by the far post.
The breakthrough for Seattle came against the run of play in the 45th minute as some tricky passing saw the ball slip into the box for Noonan, who cooly slotted it by on-rushing Union keeper Chris Seitz.
In the 54th minute, the Union scraped one back. Alejandro Moreno was dragged down by a sloppy tackle by Sounders center back Tyrone Marshall in the box. The penalty was duly awarded and Le Toux was able to slot it home against his old side. It was Le Toux's 6th goal of the season.
It didn’t take long for the Sounders to get back on the offensive as they were awarded a penalty less than five minutes later as Fredy Montero was taken down by Cristian Arrieta. It was a dubious call, but it was made anyway. Noonan drilled a hard shot but Seitz was up to the challenge and got down quickly to make the save.
The PK save injected the Union with even more energy. The home side worked the ball through the midfield and created numerous chances. Each time, though, Keller was there to make the save.
However, there was nothing Keller could do about the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute. Le Toux, after some good work on the right flank, fired a low cross that squeezed through a crowd and rolled to Fred alone on the far post. The Brazilian slotted his shot home in front of the "River End"--the designated spot for the rabid Sons of Ben supporters group.
Six minutes later, the Union iced the match as they hit Seattle on the break. Moreno sprung Le Toux down the right wing, and the Frenchman's cross found Mwanga in the middle with time and space. His first shot didn’t make it by Keller, but he pounced on his own rebound and tapped in his 4th goal of the season.
The Union next face Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center, while the struggling Sounders also travel to the HDC to take on the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.