SEATTLE, WA - MAY 05: Freddy Adu #11 of the Philadelphia Union crouches on the turf after losing to the Seattle Sounders 1-0 at CenturyLink Field on May 5, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
A disappointing start to the 2012 Major League Soccer season continued for the Philadelphia Union, as the third year franchise dropped three points on a trip out to the West coast.
Little could be taken away from the game offensively in a positive light, as the Union once again froze in the final third.
"We had a couple of good plays to break them down in the middle and once we got into the final third we just ran out of ideas sometimes," Union midfielder Freddy Adu said to Dave Zeitlin, of MLSsoccer.com. "We've got to do better. We've just got to do better."
Adu nicely summed up the Union's inability to penetrate MLS's best defense, which shutout the anemic offense Philadelphia has had through eight games.
The Union had talked about getting shots in on goal and taking more risk offensively because of their standing as the MLS team with the least amount of shots and shots on target in 2012.
They managed only one shot on target against Seattle. That one shot on goal was a dribbler off of the foot of Colombian striker Lionard Pajoy, which was his first shot since March 31 against the Vancouver Whitecaps (four games).
"With a rookie goalkeeper in there making his first start, we talked about putting balls in the box and testing him and putting shots on frame and getting numbers forward," Hackworth said to Zeitlin. "And we continued to struggle a little bit with that, so we're disappointed."
"All we can do is continue to ask our players to have the courage to take those shots and hopefully that will happen," Hackworth said to Zeitlin. "It didn't happen today."
Seattle, on the other hand, felt comfortable on the attack. The home team was unable to score until the 63rd minute, when the playmaker slotted home a pass from striker Fredy Montero.
The Argentine midfielder calmly stepped up and put his team ahead of the Union after a quick run of play forward into Philadelphia's final third. Seattle showed off a confidence and composure in the attacking third throughout the game, placing all six of their shots on target and having another seven blocked.
The Sounders out shot, out hustled and overall dominated the Union for almost the entire 90 minutes of the game, leaving very little room for a slightly new-look formation to gain confidence.
Keon Daniel, who returned from a one-game red card suspension, looked stiff and lacked when tracking back. His typical impact on the midfield was either easily negated by the opposing midfielders or eliminated by his own work rate.
Such problems have dogged Daniel in his international career, with Trinidad and Tobago fans posting on message boards upset over his attitude and work rate.
The only performance of redeeming value was out of first year starting goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who put on another consistent and solid display in net. He may have been concussed during the game, however, due to an accidental collision with David Estrada's knee inside the Union's six.
Lucky to leave Seattle with only a 1-0 loss, the Union face Schalke, who finished in third place in the Bundesliga, Germany's top league, tomorrow night. Philadelphia then faces their rival, the New York Red Bulls, on Sunday.