Even though Seattle scored the first goal, the Union really dominated this one throughout and its 3-1 victory is not deceiving.
The Sounders were outplayed, and they seem to have genuine problems to solve in the second half of this season. And the additional issues of Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League -- which they will take serously -- won't help their efforts to climb back into playoff position.
At least, that's my take.
Coach Sigi Schmid seemed to think the turning point was Pat Noonan's missed penalty kick. Noonan took responsibility for that.
The rest of the team admitted it was hotter than they've played in -- hotter than you could possibly ever get used to -- but they were also careful not to use that as an excuse. Same with the atmosphere: the crowd was into the first game at the new stadium, and their energy brought the Union along. But still, no excuse.
What everyone seems to agree is that they can no longer say it's early in the season. But what they can say -- and are saying -- is that there's still enough time to turn things around.
Here are the numbers:
SEA - Noonan (Montero, Zakuani) 44'
PHI - Le Toux (PK) 54'
PHI - Fred (Le Toux) 79'
PHI - Mwanga 84'
Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, Leo Gonzalez, Jeff Parke, Tyrone Marshall, James Riley, Steve Zakuani (Nate Jaqua 72), Patrick Ianni, Peter Vagenas (Michael Seamon 66), Fredy Montero, Freddie Ljungberg, Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 80).
Substitutes Not Used: Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl, Sanna Nyassi, Terry Boss.
SHOTS: 6; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; CORNER KICKS: 4; OFFSIDES: 5; FOULS: 9; SAVES: 7.
Philadelphia Union: Chris Seitz, Shea Salinas, Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Cristian Arrieta, Stefani Miglioranzi, Roger Torres (Andrew Jacobson 63), Fred (Amobi Akugo 81), Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga (Nick Zimmerman 87), Alejandro Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Shavar Thomas, Jack McInerney, Toni Stahl Brad Knighton.
SHOTS: 14; SHOTS ON GOAL: 13; CORNER KICKS: 8; OFFSIDES: 4; FOULS: 13; SAVES: 1.
SEA - Patrick Ianni (caution; Reckless Tackle) 20'
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Craig Lowry
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Clear and 90 degrees
85th minute (or so): Le Toux leads a counter-attacking jailbreak, crosses into the box where Danny Mwanga fires at Keller. Keller makes the nice stop -- one of several today -- but can't control, and Mwanga smashes the rebound to the back of the net. Philly, 3-1.
81st minute: Noonan out, Levesque in.
79th minute: Sebastien Le Toux sends a low ball sizzling through the penalty area, past several Sounders, and to the foot of Fred, who slams it home. Philly, 2-1.
72nd minute: Nate Jaqua makes season debut, coming in for Zakuani.
67th minute: Michael Seamon in for Peter Vagenas. Seamon is a rookie out of nearby Villanova.
60th minute: Montero knocked down in box. PK called. Noonan shoots low left, but not far enough left, and it's smothered by Chris Seitz.
54th minute: Tyrone Marshall sweeps down Danny Mwanga. PK called. Sebastien Le Toux ties it going hard and high right, while Keller guessed left.
Second half: Has begun.
Halftime: Sounders up, 1-0.
Philly lead 5-2 on shots and 4-2 in shots on goal. Seattle has seven fouls to the Union's six. Philly has three corners, Seattle none.
44th minute: Philly dominating run of play, but Sounders break through first. Zakuani takes the ball down the left side, rolls across to Montero, who taps it on to Pat Noonan in front of the goal, who one-touches low into the goal
Kickoff: We've begun.
Sizzling stadium: It appears that the Union are wearing their navy blue kits, which seems a disadvantage in this heat.
And speaking of this sizzle, while this stadium has a white arched roof over each sideline, it isn't offering any protection for the folks now sitting in the sections visible above. They are in direct sunshine, which just seems unbearable for all of this pregame time and with two hours of game ahead.
Sons of Ben: The endzone visible in the photo above shows the special supporters section now filled with the light-blue-wearing Sons of Ben. The stadium is built where the supporters group has its own entrance. And their seating section is directly above the locker rooms, and both teams some out from a tunnel directly behind the goal and surrounded on all sides by the most rabid supporters in the house.
Lineups: Sounders: GK Keller; D Gonzalez, Parke, Marshall, Riley; M Zakuani, Ianni, Vagenas; F Montero, Ljungberg, Noonan. Reserves: Boss, Jaqua, Levesque, Wahl, Nyassi, Seamon.
For Philly: GK Seitz; D Salinas, Harvey, Califf, Arrieta; M Miglioranzi, Torrez, Fred, Le Toux; F Mwanga, Moreno. Reserves: Knighton, Jacobson. Thomas, Zimmerman, McIneney, Okugo, Stahl.
Arrival: Just arrived at PPL Park and will keep this post open all day. Kickoff is 2 p.m., televised on ESPN2.
Five quick impressions:
1.) The stadium is in a beautiful setting.
2.) Driving through Chester does not seem particularly intimidating. (See post below.)
3.) Even though I arrived on the grounds three hours early, and yet there was already a bit of slow-going into the parking lot. The shakedown cruise with a crowd of 18,500 could be rough.
4.) There are no restaurants or bars or really any entertainment options immediately around the stadium. However, there is a lot of tailgating and the Union has set up some pregame entertainment options around the groups. (And a lot of Sons of Ben around enjoying them.)
5.) It is hot. And humid. I can't stress this enough. Hot. And humid.