OTD_Sept18

Today's UNIBET on this Day in Union history goes back two years to a late night battle on the west coast when the Union snapped the Seattle Sounders winning streak with a late goal from Fafa Picault. Below is the original match recap as it appeared on PhiladelphiaUnion.com.

Philadelphia Union survived an early onslaught from Seattle Sounders and set a franchise record for away wins as they broke the home side’s nine match winning streak with a 93rd minute Fafa Picault goal.


The Sounders looked certain to earn their tenth win in a row as they poured on pressure for the first 20 minutes, but the Union recovered to throw as many punches as they took the rest of the way. Both clubs lost key players to injury in a surprisingly open game, with both Chad Marshall and Raul Ruidiaz exiting early and Ray Gaddis picking up a left ankle injury in the second half.


In the first five minutes, Ruidiaz twice got behind Philly’s center backs and nearly latched onto a pair of long balls from the right channel. First, Nico Lodeiro played the new Peruvian striker through but Andre Blake came out above his box and headed the bouncing ball away. Moments later, Kim Kee-Hee twirled a beautiful ball into Ruidiaz’s path. With Blake off his line, Ruidiaz could not direct his half-volley over the keeper and into the net.


The Kee-Hee to Ruidiaz connection was a dangerous one, and Seattle used it to penetrate Philly’s midfield regularly early. In the 8th minute, Ruidiaz collected a pass from his center back and laid it off to Kelvin Leerdam for a crossfield ball to Lodeiro on the left. He played a perfect low ball behind the defensive line that Victor Rodriguez couldn’t turn in. Ruidiaz crashed the back post, but his shot hit the post and rebounded off Cristian Roldan and out of play.


In the 15th minute, Ruidiaz was once again in space, this time between Keegan Rosenberry and Jack Elliott. He lifted his shot toward the center of Blake’s goal and the goalie threw up a big hand to push it over. With that save, Blake set the Union’s single season record for saves in a season as well as his own personal record.


Blake, however, could only watch when, less than a minute later, Rodriguez was free on top of the box on the left and curled a fine shot toward the far corner. The ball rebounded off the joint of the goal frame and back into play where the Union goalie corralled it.


As the match moved past the 20th minute, Philly gained a foothold in the proceedings and, in the 30th minute, Cory Burke nearly put them in front. Haris Medunjanin spun a cross into the box from the left off a throw in, and Burke met it from four yards out but Stefan Frei stuck out a mitt to keep it out of the goal.


Ruidiaz left the match in the 34th minute with a foot injury, and after halftime Chad Marshall exited due to a head injury sustained in a midair collision with Cory Burke.


The Sounders never fully recovered from losing two of their top players, and they managed only three shots in the box in the second frame.


In the 53rd minute, Medunjanin released Ale Bedoya up the right and the Union captain pushed the ball into the path of Burke’s run. The striker slapped his shot well wide of the far post, and the match remained even.


The play foreshadowed Philly’s growing control over their right flank, and in the 56th minute Burke and CJ Sapong connected on the right before finding Medunjanin in the center with space to set up a long strike. Frei pushed the shot to the right where Bedoya recovered the ball. If the captain could have found Burke alone in the center, a surefire goal would have followed, but Frei did magnificently to read the play and get in the way of the pass.


Ray Gaddis was replaced by Fabinho after picking up an ankle injury, but the Union stayed on the front foot, and in the 65th minute, Burke looked to have broken the deadlock. After working the ball up the left, Medunjanin collected in the center and found Burke at the far post with a perfect cross. The striker brought it down and fired past Frei’s near post. Ismail Elfath went to VAR, however, and found that Burke was marginally offsides, leaving the scoreline even.


Seattle took advantage and, in the 76th minute they were inches away from a lead. Derrick Jones lost the ball in midfield and Ozzie Alonso broke down the right channel before playing wide to Leerdam. The fullbacks cross behind the defense skipped past both Roldan and Will Bruin and once again Philly escaped.


Jack Elliott collected a caution in the 78th minute and a second yellow card in the 89th which resulted in his ejection from the game. With six minutes of extra time to play and no substitutes left — Jay Simpson had recently replaced Cory Burke — Jim Curtin moved Jones to the back line to see out the match.


Jones stood tall, and that gave Fafa Picault a platform on which to dance.


In the third minute of extra time, Medunjanin played the ball behind the defense for Simpson, but the striker had just broken off his run. Simpson got on his horse and charged down the ball, forcing a back pass to Frei. As Simpson pressed the goalie, Picault sped toward Gustav Svensson, Frei’s only outlet. The keeper played a soft pass and Picault intercepted it before swiftly megging Frei and reeling off to dance in front of the silenced home crowd. Nine wins on the trot for Seattle, but the tenth was out of reach.