The Sounders and Union played to an entertaining 2-2 draw at PPL Park on Saturday. Here's what we learned.
PHILADELPHIA – Sounders FC came out of PPL Park on Saturday with a point after a 2-2 draw with the Union as they started a stretch of three games in eight days that continues Wednesday in Seattle’s third straight road match against Sporting Kansas City.
Here are four things we learned from the road draw.
Depth Still Matters
There was a widespread belief that since the Sounders wouldn’t be playing in Champions League this summer, they could survive the season with less depth on their roster. Saturday proved why that may not be the case. Forward Obafemi Martins, midfielders Shalrie Joseph and Steve Zakuani, and defender Marc Burch all missed the match against the Union because of injuries. Meanwhile, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was with his wife after she gave birth to the couple’s second child on Friday, a daughter named Paulina. That meant there were minutes to be had for the Sounders and Servando Carrasco stepped up in the middle of midfield to fill in for Alonso. It may have been his first start since July 4, 2012, but Carrasco got the job done against the Union, completing a team-high 34 passes.
“I thought Servando Carrasco played well today,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I though he stepped up and had his opportunity and took his opportunity well.”
The Mauro and Eddie Show
In 2012, Mauro Rosales assisted on six of Eddie Johnson’s 14 goals. On Saturday, Rosales gave a quick reminder why the duo had been so successful. In the 10th minute, Rosales found Johnson unmarked in the middle of the box on a corner kick and Johnson did what he does best, heading the ball in for a goal to give the Sounders the early 1-0 lead.
“We found chemistry in the last two years,” Johnson said. “It was a well-weighted cross and all I had to do was redirect it.”
He Who Scores First …
The Sounders have had a lot of success when they get on the board first and Saturday was no different. They did let the Union back into the game with two goals separated by just one minute, but the second-half equalizer by Rosales extended Seattle’s unbeaten streak when they score the first goal to 34 matches. They are 26-0-8 in that stretch, the longest active streak in Major League Soccer.
Mario the Maestro
It didn’t take long for Mario Martinez to make an impact on the match. After subbing on in the 62nd minute, he quickly set up Seattle’s second goal by slipping Leo Gonzalez into the box on an overlapping run up the left side. Gonzalez crossed to Rosales for the goal, but was left with plenty of space by the deft pass from Martinez. It was just a small window into the efforts of Martinez in the match, as he completed 13 of his 15 passes.
“We wanted to bring Mario on because we felt we could get a little bit of attacking space there. I even wanted to make him be even more aggressive on the left hand side and go at (Ray) Gaddis a bit more,” Schmid said. “But he ended up setting up that goal and had some good situations.”