The Sounders get back to action on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union in a meeting of one team looking to regain the form of their hot start and another trying to continue to turn their fortunes around after a slow start.
Here are three matchups to watch for as the Union host the Sounders at PPL Park.
Jack McInerney vs. Seattle’s shutout streak
The 20-year-old McInerney had a stellar month of April, scoring four goals in four games for the Union to earn MLS Player of the Month honors. While he had a great scoring month to move into a tie with Mike Magee for the league’s scoring lead with six goals, the Sounders FC defense has two straight shutouts and hasn’t allowed a goal in the last 235 minutes, dating all the way back to March 30. McInerney will get help up front from Conor Casey, while the Sounders defense will be used to his style of play after meeting a handful of similar players in CONCACAF Champions League.
Eddie Johnson vs. Jeff Parke
Johnson and Parke went head-to-head in training for much of the 2012 season when Parke was in his third season with Sounders FC. They were even roommates in January during the US National Team camp in California. Now they go toe-to-toe on the field and it should provide for one of the more intriguing matchups of the match. Both are good in the air and Parke has the speed to make the match difficult for Johnson.
ECS vs. Sons of Ben
The Sounders FC faithful pick an Eastern Conference road trip each year as their destination match and this year they chose the Philadelphia match. They traveled in droves from Seattle and on Saturday will fill up a section near the Union’s rowdy supporter group. The Sounders will be getting support from the ECS, but will also be backed by their good luck charm – Will Daniel. A longtime friend of Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid since his days as a UCLA head coach, Daniel has made the trip to many Eastern Conference trips from his home in Virginia. He has been an inspiration for the team along the way, giving pre-game speeches to the team when he visits them.