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Union held to scoreless draw by bunkered Seattle Sounders

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Draw felt like a loss for the Union against a bunkered in Sounders team

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Philadelphia Union Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Blake received a warm welcome as he made his return to the pitch Saturday after missing the previous five games to injury, as his team tied. Both Seattle and Philadelphia came into the match with high expectations, as they both ranked second in their conference and numbers two (Seattle) and three (Philadelphia) in the MLS Power Rankings.

The Union dominated throughout the match, though they were never able to score. Head Coach Jim Curtin echoed this sentiment post game, “We dominated the game, we had control, but just couldn’t find that final touch in the box.”

Despite this Curtin felt that the tie still showed a good side of the Union. “That’s a very good Seattle team, top team in the Western Conference… outside of a restart or two, that was the only thing that threatened us.”

Both teams shifted their lineups due to injuries, as Brenden Aaronson went into the number 10 position again for an injured Marco Fabián, while the Sounders missed a key aspect of their attack in Jordan Morris. While he didn’t come on due to injury, striker Sergio Santos started over Fafa Picault.

Seattle played to tie in Philadelphia, as they set up their formation in an unexpected 5-3-2. Despite this, the Union still was able to force a solid attack against the Seattle defense early on in the match. The Union looked like the better team at the close of the first half, with four more shots than Seattle and 66.9 percent of possession. Despite this, they only forced Sounders keeper Stefan Frei to touch the ball twice.

The Union defense weathered the storm of the still strong Seattle attack, with Jack Elliott and Auston Trusty making big stops when the Union needed them. Andre Blake was given a light workout in his return only being called upon once in the first half of action and zero times in the second.

The second half started off at a slower tempo than the previous one had ended, however the Union were able to change the pace of the game as Jim Curtin subbed off Santos for Ilsinho. Santos finished the game with just one shot. The Union also subbed off Aaronson, for Picault later in the match. Aaronson was denied a goal from 25 yards on a diving save from Stefan Frei in the first half and misfired on a shot off a cross from Ilsinho, but Curtin said he still felt the 18-year-old homegrown had his best night yet as a pro.

The Union attempted to finish the game strong as they put up a constant barrage against the Seattle back line, though they were never able to break through. Seattle also tried to steal three points later in the game, making three offensive substitutions in Raul Ruidiaz, Handwalla Bwana and Kelvin Leerdam. Despite this, Seattle was never able to mount a convincing attack late.

The Union defense also weathered the storm of the still strong Seattle attack, with Jack Elliott and Auston Trusty making big stops when the Union needed them. Andre Blake was given a light workout in his return only being called upon once in the first half of action and zero times in the second.

The Union ended the day back in first place in the East, after D.C. United fell to the Houston Dynamo in Houston.