Sounders win fourth straight, 1-0 over Philadelphia
Seattle beats the Philadelphia Union 1-0 in front of 38,399 at CenturyLink Field. Mauro Rosales converted the game winner in the 63rd minute.
Seattle Times staff reporter
By the numbers6-1-1
The Sounders' record. Seattle has won four straight and is off to the best start in the franchise's four-year history.
5 of 7
Saturday's shutout was the Sounders' fifth in the past seven games.
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Two young Sounders made their first MLS starts Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, 22, had a clean, comfortable performance in place of the injured Michael Gspurning and needed to make just one save in a 1-0 win against the Philadelphia Union.
Rookie midfielder Andy Rose, also 22, had a more eventful afternoon and narrowly escaped punishment in the first half that could have changed the course of the game.
The controversial play came in the 28th minute, when Rose committed a foul on a risky slide-tackle that looked worthy of a second yellow card and, thus, an ejection from the game.
Referee Ricardo Salazar decided instead to let Rose off with a warning, much to the delight of a crowd of 38,399.
"Some referees might have pulled a second yellow," said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid. "I think that it could have been a second yellow."
Rose said he thought being sent off would have been harsh — particularly since he disagreed with his first yellow card in the 18th minute. He admitted he had a "rush of blood" on the tackle in question and that his heart "skipped a couple of beats there" in the aftermath.
Philadelphia assistant coach John Hackworth, filling in for suspended coach Peter Nowak, called Salazar's decision "a tough thing to swallow."
"Probably the game should have been 10 versus 11," Hackworth said.
Added Union midfielder Freddy Adu, the recipient of the tackle: "In the rules of the game if a player tackles you from behind, that's a card. The referee made the decision and we had to live with it. It would have been nice to have an extra man in there at that point."
The Sounders got a break and made it count.
The breakthrough goal, on a day that could have seen many more, came in the 63rd minute through the work of a trio of stars. Mauro Rosales converted a one-on-one chance from the right side of the penalty box off an assist from Fredy Montero and help from Eddie Johnson to give Seattle its fourth straight win.
"I think the best part was a great pass from Fredy," said Rosales of his first goal of the season.
This is the longest winning streak for the Sounders (6-1-1) since claiming five in a row at the end of 2010. Seattle, on a franchise-best start to the season, is unbeaten in its past five games, 5-1 at home and 4-0-1 against the Eastern Conference.
A lot of the credit goes to a stingy defense that earned its fifth shutout of the season despite replacing three of the four starters from Wednesday's shutout win against Los Angeles. Schmid said he views the team as having seven starters in the back, with nothing gained or lost through interchanging.
The combination made for a trouble-free Saturday for Meredith, who could see extended time with Gspurning out for a couple of weeks with a hip injury.
"It was a relatively easy game for me," said Meredith, a 2011 draft pick. "The back four really didn't allow much through, and I don't think I saw any shots on target."
Philadelphia (2-6-1) had one, a weak shot by forward Lionard Pajoy that resulted in Meredith's only save.
The stellar defensive effort saved what was a frustrating day on offense, which managed just one goal despite a 19-6 advantage in shots. Montero and Rose each hit the crossbar in the second half. Montero was shut out on six other shots and first-year midfielder Alex Caskey (four shots) also missed multiple chances.
"One day," said Schmid, "those floodgates will open up."
• The Sounders continue a busy May with a 5:30 p.m. road game Wednesday in Dallas.
• Seattle has used eight different starting lineups in its eight games. Midfielder Alvaro Fernandez missed his fourth straight game with a quad strain. Midfielder Brad Evans and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado got the day off to rest.
• It just so happened that Rose's parents are in town from England this week. Combined with his MLS debut, getting a win and avoiding the red card, Rose called it a "brilliant day for me."
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @joshuamayers
|Philadelphia||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||0 1 — 1|
Philadelphia — Zac MacMath, Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Raymon Gaddis, Danny Califf, Keon Daniel, Gabriel Gomez (Josue Martinez, 83rd), Freddy Adu, Kai Herdling (Brian Carroll, 61st), Michael Farfan (Danny Mwanga, 76th), Lionard Pajoy.
Seattle — Brian Meredith, Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch, Jeff Parke, Andy Rose (Eddie Johnson, 61st), Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Leo Gonzalez, 82nd), Alex Caskey (Servando Carrasco, 90th+), Fredy Montero, David Estrada.