The Seattle Sounders couldn’t quite pull off a road result in their Sunday afternoon showdown with the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium, eventually falling 2-0 after conceding a first-half goal to Marcus Epps and a late dagger to Roland Alberg.
The hosts pressed the action throughout the first half, with Epps finding their breakthrough in the 28th minute after collecting a feed from midfielder Ilsinho and slotting home the finish past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. That tally would stand as the only one of the opening 45 minutes and the Union would take the 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Alberg then added the insurance just prior to second-half stoppage time, sealing the 2-0 scoreline.
Makeshift lineup falls short
The Sounders were forced to tinker with their regular Starting XI for the match, with star midfielder Osvaldo Alonso out with an injured quad, center back Román Torres nursing a knee injury and Clint Dempsey coming off the bench as a minute-managing measure after a busy week. Midfielder Víctor Rodríguez was also away from the team due to the birth of his first child. In the end, a second-half cameo from Dempsey and a handful of looks at an equalizer wouldn’t be enough to see the Sounders through on the day.
Western Conference logjam persists
The dropped points mean that the Sounders stayed in a three-way tie for second in the Western Conference with Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers at 47 points on the season, four behind the conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps. Would Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer have preferred a bit more separation ahead of the final two games of the regular season? Sure, but the tight quarters in the standings should also make for an exciting final push of the regular season as those clubs jostle for seeding.
It was a disappointing result on Sunday, but sometimes a return home can be just the antidote. The Sounders will hope that holds true as they look to separate themselves from SKC and Portland over the final two weeks. Seven Sounders now depart for international duty for 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers with their next MLS match coming at CenturyLink against a struggling FC Dallas squad on Oct. 15. The Rave Green will then close out their regular season on Oct. 22 against the Colorado Rapids.