Chester Pa. (April 16, 2011) – Just when it looked like the Philadelphia Union (3-1-1) were headed for a third straight 1-0 victory at home, Alvaro Fernandez equalized for Seattle Sounders FC (1-2-3) in stoppage time to force a 1-1 draw at PPL Park Saturday.
Carlos Ruiz opened the scoring in the 32nd minute and the Union controlled the tempo of the match throughout, but the second goal conceded by Philadelphia’s backline in 2011 cost the club two points. The Union remain in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 10 points through five matches.
The Sounders had the first opportunity of the match in the sixth minute when Erik Friberg latched onto a through ball in Philadelphia’s area. Midfielder Amobi Okugo closed quickly and was able to block the attempted shot.
Philadelphia had an opportunity of their own in the first 20 minutes after Sebastien Le Toux drew a corner on the right side. Keon Daniel whipped in a dangerous ball that Kyle Nakazawa settled, but his shot to the far post was just wide of the mark.
Through driving rain and wind, Ruiz broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. After Nakazawa won a free kick from 24 yards out following a tackle from Osvaldo Alonso that drew a yellow card, Ruiz drove a bending ball to the far post past a lunging Kasey Keller for a 1-0 lead.
Le Toux had a chance to double Philadelphia’s lead in the 50th minute. Ruiz settled the ball in the midfield and found the Frenchman streaking to the right of the goal, but a low strike was gobbled up by Keller with no rebound.
The Sounders had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 77th minute. Alonso’s service found Fredy Montero far post, who crossed into the middle. Goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon deflected the ball into the middle of the area, setting up Alvaro Fernandez for a point-blank shot. With the ball bound for the back of the net, Danny Califf stood tall and took Fernandez’s blast off shoulder to momentarily preserve the lead.
Despite another strong defensive performance from the Union, the Sounders would find their break through equalizer in the 91st minute. Following a corner kick, Montero lofted a hopeful ball to the edge of the six-yard box. Fernandez skied to head it on frame, and the ball deflected off the inside of the post and in to level the match at 1-1.
The Union head into a 14-day break as a result of next Saturday’s away match vs. Real Salt Lake being postponed. The club will return to action April 30 vs. the San Jose Earthquakes, a 4:00 p.m. match at PPL Park.
PHI - Carlos Ruiz 2 (Unassisted) 32’
SEA - Alvaro Fernandez 1 (Fredy Montero 1, Steve Zakuani 2) 91’
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez (Fredy Montero 66), Erik Friberg (Alvaro Fernandez 77), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales, O'Brian White(Nate Jaqua 66), Steve Zakuani.
Substitutes Not Used: Patrick Ianni, Roger Levesque, Tyson Wahl, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 1; FOULS: 17; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 2
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Keon Daniel, Stefani Miglioranzi (Danny Mwanga 59), Amobi Okugo, Kyle Nakazawa, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Justin Mapp 80).
Substitutes Not Used: Michael Farfan, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Jack McInerney, Roger Torres, Zac MacMath.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 3; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 0
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 30
PHI -- Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 55
PHI -- Amobi Okugo (caution; Reckless Tackle) 65
PHI -- Carlos Valdes (caution; Reckless Tackle) 88
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer
4th Official: John McCloskey
Time of Game: 1:51