SEATTLE, Wash. - Mauro Rosales scored his first goal of the season as Sounders FC (6-1-1, 19 points) shut out Philadelphia Union 1-0 (2-5-1, 7 points) in front of a sellout crowd of 38,399 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Fredy Montero registered his first assist of the season and Bryan Meredith notched his first career shutout as Seattle won its fourth straight match.
Sounders FC Press Release
The game’s lone goal came in the 63rd minute and started with a throw-in that Eddie Johnson chested to Montero. Montero touched it twice, then played the ball to a wide-open Rosales on the right side of the box, who fired a hard, low shot inside the far post.
Rosales has registered a point (assist, goal) in consecutive games. The 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year had five goals and a club record 13 assists last season.
See a gallery of photos by Rick Morrison at Facebook.com/goalWA
See a gallery of photos by Jeff Halstead at Facebook.com/goalWA
“It was a great pass from Fredy [Montero],” Rosales said after the match. “I tried to score on my chance in the game, and tried to finish it the best way. I got lucky it was a good ball and we got the three points.”
“I think we did a very good job today and we should have scored at least one goal in the first half. They were more fresh than us. We felt it a little bit in the end, at the last part of the game. After halftime we wanted to score before they could get that energy.”
Seattle is now 5-1-0 at home in MLS play this season (6-1-0 across all competitions). Seattle now has five shutouts in eight games this season, and has held opponents to just one goal in the last five games.
Sounders FC continued its unbeaten run (4-0-1) against the Eastern Conference in 2012.
It was the first career start for Meredith, who came on at half for Michael Gspurning Wednesday night. The 22-year-old keeper only had to make one save, but punched away multiple crosses, including a dangerous pass near the goal just before the final whistle.
“It was a lot of fun, very exciting,” the former Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper said. “I didn’t have too much to do today. I came out on a couple crosses, they shot high…Other than that, the defense really held it down. They [Seattle defense] just didn’t really even let them in the 18.”
Midfielder Andy Rose made his MLS debut as he started at center-mid alongside Osvaldo Alonso. The 2012 Supplemental Draft pick out of UCLA nearly scored in the 47th minute when Rosales found him on a corner kick, but his header hit the crossbar.
“It’s obviously very nice to get the first one out of the way,” Rose said of his first match with Seattle. “Obviously there were some nerves. Once I got a couple touches on the ball I calmed down a little bit, but there were definitely a couple of rushes of blood where you just get so excited that you kind of feed off the atmosphere. I enjoyed every minute of it and I hope there’s much more to come.”Coach Sigi Schmid has now used 21 different starters this season.
This was the first win for the Rave Green against Philadelphia since a 2-0 home victory in the Union’s inaugural game on March 25, 2010.
Sounders FC entered the game with a league-low 71 shots this season, and allowed just six today. This marks the second straight game they have held their opponent to just one shot on goal.
Before combining for a goal in the second half, the Rosales and Montero combination created several scoring opportunities. In the seventh minute, Rosales found Jeff Parke with a corner kick, who headed the ball to Montero, but his strike was cleared in the goal’s mouth by a Union defender.
In the 19th minute, good build-up play led to an Adam Johansson cross that found Montero for a clean header, but his attempt was saved by Zac MacMath.
In the 59th minute, Rosales found Montero on the left side of the box, but the Colombian’s bending shot went wide of the far post.
Then, in the 88th minute, Montero found himself wide open from 20-yards and chipped a shot up and over the keeper, but hit the crossbar.
Midfielder Alex Caskey made his second career start and let loose a couple of dangerous shots from distance. In the 26th minute he rifled a shot from 25-yards out that just missed wide right, and in the 42nd minute he let unleashed another strike from 20-25-yards that MacMath punched away.
“Obviously three games in a week is not an easy task, but we came out with nine points so that is something that we are very happy about,” head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters. The Sounders earlier beat the Chicago Fire and Los Angeles Galaxy. “That is the most you can get so we are very pleased with that. As well as getting some players out on the park for their first extensive experiences, like Andy Rose and Bryan Meredith. I thought Meredith did great in goal and dealt with the things he needed to deal with. I thought our defense did a good job keeping things away from him. Andy Rose got a little excited and had a couple of tackles there, and we were probably a little bit fortunate that the referee maintained his composure and was able to keep Andy on the field, then Andy settled down and I thought he was much better in the second half. Another one of the young guys that played today, Alex Caskey, I thought had a very good game. I was pleased overall-another shutout, which is good for our team. I thought we had more chances than just to get one. We were a bit unlucky not to get more than one. One day those flood gates will open up, but it just wasn’t today.”
Sounders FC hope to extend its MLS-best seven game road unbeaten streak (6-0-1) as the Rave Green visit FC Dallas on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. PT. The next home match is on Saturday, May 12 against Real Salt Lake on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.