Seattle Sounders at Philadelphia Union
When: Saturday, 4 p.m.; Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pa.; Ticket information: click here
TV: 6abc with play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Alejandro Moreno; Radio: None.
Referees: Jorge Gonzalez (main) Adam Wienckowski (assistant), Jeff Muschik (assistant) Mark Geiger (fourth)
Glance at the standings and Seattle Sounders FC are listed in last place in the Western Conference.
It’s not a misprint.
But Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth is fully aware of Seattle’s skill set. He knows how dangerous the visiting side is and how difficult Saturday’s match will be at PPL Park.
Seattle enters this match at 1-3-2 while the Union are 3-3-2.
“Seattle's probably a little bit different because everybody knows how good they are, the talent that they have on their roster alone,” Hackworth said. “A team like Seattle that's struggling early, is one of those teams that I think all of us in the league would consider as a team that's going to be there at the end of the day. We still have such a long season to play. Every team has had their struggles early in the year, whether it's because we're starting early, or dealing with weather, or dealing with travel. I think that's a big part of this.
“Seattle's arguably one of the best teams in the league, certainly on paper they are. Sigi (Schmid) is one of the best coaches in this league and has been. So they're going to be one of the best teams we play for sure and we're going to have to significantly improve from our last performance if we want to be successful Saturday night.”
Seattle hasn’t scored more than one goal in any MLS match this season and only once in 10 games in all competitions -- a 3-1 win vs. Tigres UANL in the CONCACAF Champions League. It has scored just three goals overall in league play, the fewest in MLS.
“I think this league is tough that way no matter what,” Hackworth said. “I think every team across the board you see that with because there’s so much parity and so much competition. And on any given day, anybody can beat anybody. And it’s tough from that standpoint especially when people have thoughts that our team is going to be better than it actually is.”
Following a 2-0 loss at New England, the Union realize they must tighten things up defensively.
That has been a point of emphasis all week in preparation for Seattle.
“In our first six games, we didn't give up very many shots at all,” Hackworth said. “In our last two, it's kind of gone the other way. We want to try to find the way we played in the first six. We have to kind of shore up some of our defensive holes that allowed D.C. and New England to get those opportunities in the first place. That's something we've worked on in training this week. We're trying to emphasize it. We have to do that more to be successful against Seattle on Saturday.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org