2010 Jun 27

Sounders FC fold to Philadelphia Union in second half: Philadelphia's stadium opener a success

Philadelphia Union  3 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC

PPL Park, Chester, PA

44' SEA: Pat Noonan (Fredy Montero, Steve Zakuani)

54' PHI: Sebastien Le Toux (PK)
79' PHI: Fred (Sebastien Le Toux)
84' PHI: Danny Mwanga

Philadelphia: Chris Seitz; Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Shea Salinas, Cristian Arrieta; Sebastien Le Toux, Fred (Amobi Okugo 81'), Roger Torres (Andrew Jacobson 63'), Stefani Miglioranzi; Danny Mwanga (Nick Zimmerman 87'), Alejandro Moreno. Substitutes not used: Brad Knighton, Shavar Thomas, Toni Stahl, Jack McInerney.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Jeff Parke, Tyrone Marshall, James Riley; Steve Zakuani (Nate Jaqua 72'), Patrick Ianni, Peter Vagenas (Michael Seamon 66'), Freddie Ljungberg; Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 80'). Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Tyson Wahl, Nathan Sturgis, Sanna Nyassi.

Match report from Sounders FC:

The Seattle Sounders FC conceded three second half goals as the Philadelphia Union won, 3-1, on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd of 18,755 in the inaugural match at PPL Park.

Pat Noonan scored his first MLS goal for Sounders FC and Sebastien Le Toux recorded a goal and an assist for Union.

Seattle has lost four of its last five and currently sits in 7th in the Western Conference.

Philadelphia remains unbeaten at home and moves into a tie for 7th place in the East.

Noonan became the first goal scorer at PPL Park with a strike in the 44th minute. Steve Zakuani made a run up the left flank and played a ball to Fredy Montero in the box. Montero flicked the ball on to Noonan who poked it past the keeper with his right foot.

Montero has a team-high five assists and Zakuani is second with three.

Le Toux equalized with a penalty kick in the 54th minute after Tyrone Marshall was whistled for a foul in the box on Alejandro Moreno.

Minutes later, Montero drew a penalty kick for Seattle. Noonan stepped up to take the shot but keeper Chris Seitz made the save to keep the game even.

Union took the lead in the 79th minute when a cross from Le Toux skipped in front of goal and landed at the feet of Fred at the back post, who knocked it into the net.

Philadelphia added a third tally in the 84th minute. Danny Mwanga took a ball from Le Toux and blasted a shot on goal from close range. Keller made the stop but Mwanga knocked in the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.

Kasey Keller made a season-high seven saves on 14 Philadelphia shots (13 on goal), including a diving save on Le Toux's shot in the 27th minute and a pair of saves on shots from Fred and Moreno in the 71st minute.

Seattle defeated Union, 2-0, in MLS First Kick on March 25 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.

Forward Nate Jaqua saw his first action of the 2010 season, replacing Zakuani in the 72nd minute. Jaqua was taken off the Disabled list on June 24.

Rookie Michael Seamon saw his first MLS action, entering the match in the 66th minute for Peter Vagenas.

Seattle begins its defense of the U.S. Open Cup on June 30 with a third round match at Portland, followed by a trip to Los Angeles to play the Galaxy in an MLS fixture on July 4 at 8 p.m. PT. The next scheduled home match is July 11 versus FC Dallas at 7:30 p.m. PT.

          PHI   SEA
Shots:     14    6
Saves:      1    7
Corners:    8    4
Fouls:     13    9
Offsides:   4    5

20' SEA: Ianni cautioned

Referees: Baldomero Toledo; C.J. Morgante, Craig Lowry; Hilario Grajeda

Attendance: 18,755 (PPL Park opener)

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Pat Noonan

On how the game unfolded: "We came into halftime with a 1-0 lead; we had done some good things. We were sluggish at times. I know we had some good opportunities. We had a chance to tie the score with a PK, and it's got to be put in. We can't keep thinking about it. We're disappointed."

On scoring a goal: "Steve got the ball and he took it inside and put it across nicely, and I was able to get a touch on it. I was able to scoot it past him (Seitz) and score."

On how Philadelphia was able to win: "We lacked energy, and we let them back into the game. I had to get that PK in, but I didn't. They came back and scored and put it away. It's frustrating. We need to go win in Portland to bounce back. That's about it."

Michael Seamon

On playing in his first MLS game: "It was great to get my first regular season MLS game. It was a great experience to get into this. It was good to get in, but tough to take that result. It's upsetting. It was definitely a bittersweet day for me. It's nice that it's on the minds of the coaches to get me in there. At the same time, it's upsetting that we took that loss."

On how he feels he played: "I felt alright out there. I only lost possession a couple times in the box, which is a terrible time to be taking a chance, so I have to do better. Other than that, I thought I looked pretty strong out there. It was tough, because once I got in, a lot of the guys were running out of gas, so it was tough to get going offensively. I would have liked to provide a spark there. It's definitely a good start though. Getting in a game is a start to a career. I'm happy to get in, but the loss is tough to take. Next time, we need to win the game."

On how his teammates think he played: "Some of the guys patted me on the back and said I did a good job, but I know it wasn't that big of an impact. It was tough to get anything going offensively for the team."

Philadelphia Union Quotes

Head Coach Peter Nowak

On Philly dominating possession during today's game: "It was a historical moment. The place was just amazing. Everybody felt the tension and everyone was pretty quiet before we entered the field. If you are not motivated playing in front of these guys, with this kind of atmosphere, you should change your profession. But these guys were very focused and very disciplined and unfortunately they got the goal right before half time, that was very not encouraging. But the more we did the way we play, there was a couple moments in the first half especially that we made it difficult for ourselves trying to make plays and pass between the defenders and trying to push the game a little bit too far. And I think we talked about that at half time to stretch them out and to make sure we had the wings out, and push the game to their half of course with tactical discipline. All this good came from the outside, they did a great job bringing the balls in, there were good runs inside. So 3-1 is 3-1. Of course it's just the beginning, we are very happy with the win. It's the first game at home; this is a very special group. I never stopped believing in this group. Chris, with you guys putting a little pressure on him the first couple of weeks, but this is a work in progress and we are trying to do the best job every day and make sure the team is in the right direction."

On how much better this team played today compared to previous game at Seattle: "Well we didn't give up two goals in the first five minutes, that was positive. I think we talked about that, we worked on it and of course that's the stuff that without these guys and me believing and without the work, the results will not come. Where we were after those games, it's good to be home. This is our place to play with fantastic fans and you guys supporting the team. You are part of this environment and we as a coaching staff, this is exactly what we are trying to do. I was very pleased with everything, the ball movement, the creating of chances, the shots, everything was there. The first half wasn't perfect but the second half was almost perfect. As I said many times, you can't play a perfect game because even Tiger Woods can't play a perfect game, but these guys tried really hard the second half to play a perfect game and the results say it all."

On what today's win does for the confidence of the team: "You always try to find your best bounce possible and these guys need to know and with John and Rob. Rob was working with Chris. With John we tried to find a balance between not being down, not being dismissing, not having long faces. We have been there before. The goal before half time. We know what to do in the second half, how to play our game and the confidence of the whole group, they make themselves better and that is a very special feeling for the coaching staff knowing that these guys are hungry for success. As I said, this is just the first step. We know the feeling after we won after DC United and then what happened after that. We try to forget but it's the balance between having emotional breakdown or being too high with your feelings after the win. For me, I will let them celebrate today because it was a very special moment but tomorrow we go back to work."

Chris Seitz

On the penalty kick save and what kind of lift that gave you as a goalie: "I think our coaching staff does a real good job of getting us footage of past games. They had a good idea of tendencies of players and with that kind of stuff, I try and look at tendencies of players throughout the game and try to make the best guess I can. There is also a bit of luck in there. I think it was big for our team to just tie it up and for that it gave us a little bit more momentum to go forward. I think we did well from there."

On the pressure to make the save and keeping up momentum: "It felt good, but more importantly it was good for our team. We were in a tight situation; it was 1-1 at the time and for us to keep it at 1-1 and go forward at the time from there is a big part of the team. I am just happy I could get one finally."

On being on the road and now feeding off the crowd at home: "It was special. For a lot of us it was our second time here playing. To get the support that we have in the city is just huge for us. We want to go out there after a break and put a good performance together for our fans more importantly. So for us to go out there and get the win that we did with a good answer in the second half is huge for our confidence and huge for us moving forward."

Sebastien Le Toux

On playing in the heat and humidity today: "It was tough because of the weather. Something we are not really used to since the beginning of the year. Maybe in Houston, it was like that. But even I think it was worse here than Houston and we ran a lot today. I think we gave everything out there on the field and sometimes it was kind of hard. We tried to keep the ball and to breathe a little bit. Right now I am still, after running around today and I have these lights in front of me now like the sun right now, but it's ok. It is still great, we won so we hope for it to be much easier."

On playing midfield today instead of forward position: "The coach wanted me to play this position this week and we try to put that in place. On Wednesday, I found it to be a bit of freedom like when we played friendly. Sometimes I have the ball and it's one of my strengths and I can do a deeper run from the midfield and I can get back on defense. It was another catch 22 to do because Danny was on top. I had to adjust a little bit. Sometimes it was difficult to push up and figure out what they wanted me to do. It was a pretty good job because you walk out and I was about to play a position some time. Sometimes I lost the ball during the first half and after more of my teammates were really confident and tried to make the play. I am glad that we won today."

On the double motivation of playing home at PPL Park and playing against your old team, Seattle: "It kind of very nice for me, just thinking of doing the best I can on the field. There is lots of ambition because of the new stadium and all of the people that seem too crazy today behind us. It's great as a player and I will have great memories about that. So playing against Seattle it was very special. I really want to win this game because it was our first game opening this year. It's great, I am very happy tonight and I am glad because everyone did a great job. Chris saved us and he gives us the confidence to move after we tie and made that great save. Now we can sleep on that, but it's just a win, we are still behind, we have to be good at home and need to now put some points when we play. We need to be strong and I am sure we are."

On the penalty kick taken: "I've known the goalie a long time and we use to practice PK's and I knew he knew my favorite side. I just wait until the last moment and I knew he would dive early and I put the ball in past him."

Danny Mwanga

On playing first game at PPL Park: "I knew it was going to be a very good game, especially because we were going to be in front of our fans so it was like extra motivation for all of us just being able to do that for them, to win that game for them for the first time in our new stadium, it was just the best feeling ever."

On his goal today: "I hit it the first time and he (Keller) did a good job, he had his foot left behind him and caught it, and just like I do at practice, don't stop following the ball, I knew that I had a second chance and I just had to tap it in."

On impact of Moreno and Le Toux: "Both guys are doing a good job at helping me keep my head in the game and helping me to work on some areas of the game. Both of them are doing a very good job and have such a big impact on our team."

On how team has changed since first game against Seattle: "Home field is definitely a big advantage for us. We all knew that the first game we had a couple mistakes, and we watched the video from the first game and we learned from our mistakes and went out there and tried to correct them and come out strong."

Roger Torres

On importance of playing at home: "It was something really beautiful and we needed it. We were coming to this game from a bunch of results that were not favorable and playing at home, we always get something good out of it, so it is important for us to keep being home."

On change since last meeting with Seattle: "It has changed a lot because our first game, it was something new to us, it was our first game and we came out there and we were new to the league now the team is more solid and we know the formula to play the game and we showed it today and we won."

Shea Salinas

On Seattle's team: "They have a bunch of dangerous players, we knew we were just going to play them physical, we knew they were going to fall as much as possible, but we didn't care about that, we played them tight, we played them physical, they got one break on us from a little counter attack but besides that I don't think they were very dangerous."

On how the team has come together since last meeting with Seattle: "We've had more time together as a team, we've had experience, also we had a home crowd. Playing in Seattle last time was tough but we are definitely a lot smarter defensively, we know when to attack, we don't force it too much and we take our time a little better and our coach has done well preparing us and fixing our mistakes and hopefully we can carry it through the next 19 games."

On coming out in PPL Park for the first time: "When we first came out it was an unreal feeling. It was a little emotional during the National Anthem with everybody singing, and just thinking about how fortunate I was to be there and I just started to choke up, held back some tears, but it was an unreal feeling and I just felt so blessed to be in this atmosphere."