After a disappointing shock loss to the Montreal Impact, the Union traveled to Seattle with very little in the way of expectations. And while they exceeded those low expectations, it was not enough to overcome the Sounders who walked away from CenturyLink Field with a 2-1 win Saturday night.
Seattle dominated the opening minutes of the first half and nearly had a goal as early as the 7th minute when a Clint Dempsey cross inside the box went past Obafemi Martins and onto the foot of Lamar Neagle who blasted it past Zac MacMath but off the crossbar and out.
Seattle's fortune would soon go from bad to worse, much to the delight of the Union. A 35-yard Cristian Maidana free kick found the head of Brad Evans into the box who directed it past his Stefan Frei. Evans had added an own goal to his stat sheet, and the Union would happily take the 1-0 lead.
In the 29th minute, the Union had a real scare when Martins was played behind the defense with the ball. All alone in the box, Martins was soon caught up to by Aaron Wheeler and he helped MacMath make a great play on the ball, denying Martins the ball without conceding the penalty.
That would not be the lone time MacMath would need to come to the Union's rescue. In the 38th minute Amobi Okugo was whistled for a handball in the box as he was falling down. But MacMath would be up to the task as Osvaldo Alonso fired a half-decent penalty, but half-decent would not be good enough on this one. MacMath guessed right diving to his left, and was able to punch the ball away without conceding a goal or even a further shot on goal on the follow through.
The first half would not be without controversy though. In the 31st minute, Sheanon Williams had himself a moment of madness. After a sloppy pass to MacMath, Williams committed a dumb foul on Djimi Traore that resulted in Sheanon seeing yellow and a free kick just outside the box. The Sounders may have wanted a red card there for denial of a goal scoring opportunity, but Traore never fully possessed the ball and MacMath was right there to cover up for Sheanon's horrifying gaffe.
The Sounders evened the score in the 61st minute. The goal was precipitated by Wheeler not doing all he could to challenge Evans for a mid-air ball. Evans directed the ball into the box where Martins latched onto it. With Okugo out of position, Martins was easily able to slot the ball past MacMath. Despite solid overall play in the first half, the Union's defense was not as strong in the second, and the Union paid the price for it.
The open play would continue immediately following the goal with the majority of the chances falling to the Sounders. But each time MacMath was equal to the task, making a bevy of quality saves throughout the second half. But then disaster struck for the Union. In the 87th minute, a corner kick found Chad Marshall in the box ahead of the Union central defense, and Marshall forced a header past MacMath giving the Sounders a lead they would not come close to relinquishing.
The Sounders hung on for the 2-1 win with the Union doing little to threaten that lead. A moment of frustration did occur near stoppage time. With Hoppenot streaking down the left wing and with an opportunity to play a cross into the box, he was challenged by a Sounders play, took a few steps, and then either tripped over his own feet or intentionally dove creating as unconvincing a dive as one could possibly create. Even by Hoppenot's lofty standards, this was absurd all the way around.
The Union losing today will not leave fans happy following the Union's recent run of poor form. But if the Union fail to miss the playoffs this season, it will not be because they blew a lead and dropped three points in Seattle. It will be because they failed to take advantage of one of the league's easiest schedule beforehand.