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Adu shines as Union move into first place in East with important road win at Seattle

UnionWinSeattle (Getty)

For much of the first half of Saturday night's Seattle-Philadelphia match it looked as though the short-handed Sounders would still find a way to knock off the visiting Union at CenturyLink Field. Unfortunately for the reigning U.S. Open Cup champions, they squandered too many quality scoring chances, giving Philadelphia continued life.

The Union took full advantage of Seattle's inability to finish, breaking through with two second-half goals on their way to a vital 2-0 road victory. The win pushed Philadelphia into first place in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of Sporting Kansas City with just two games remaining in the regular season.

Freddy Adu enjoy the best game of his first season with the Union, scoring the opening goal in the 60th minute off a pass from Gabriel Farfan, and then setting up Philadelphia's second goal in the 70th minute when he forced a turnover by Osvaldo Alonso that led to a quick counterattack and a Brian Carroll goal set up by Sebastien LeToux.

Rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath recorded two saves for his third shutout of the season for the Union.

Seattle was playing without its top attacking stars as Fredy Montero was suspended and Mauro Rosales and Alvaro Fernandez were sidelined. That didn't stop the Sounders from finding chances against Philadelphia's defense, only poor finishing kept the home side from breaking through on the night.

The loss eliminated Seattle from contention for the Supporters Shield, which was clinched by the Los Angeles Galaxy for the second straight season.

The Union can clinch an automatic playoff berth with a win against Toronto FC on Saturday, and a victory would push Philadelphia a step closer to the regular season Eastern Conference title ahead of their regular-season finale against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Oct. 20.

Here are the match highlights.

What did you think of Philadelphia's performance? Think the Union can hold onto first place? See Seattle rebounding and making a deep playoff run?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Good point on Mapp. His goal last week has restored some of his swagger I think. He’s under-appreciated by the fans, because similar to Adu, he doesn’t win many 50/50s. When and if they both find form the Union will be scary.

  2. The three most creative and technical players on the team were not available for selection, between Rosales, Fernandez, and Montero.

  3. the sounders are never going to win a game without at least 3 of the 4 amigos playing: Alonso, Montero, Fernandez, and Rosales. with two recovering from injury and one out due to yellow cards this game was a loss before it started. The sounders will never win a game that Noonan starts. what’s important is having all 4 of the amigos on the field and in form for the playoffs.

  4. The key takeaway was his team-mates reaction. He was involved in the celebration and people wanted to celebrate with him. it spoke to me that the chemistry was coming. you could see it was different between adu and letoux/ adu and mapp especially.

    it is these little things that show he is earning trust and the team is starting to form cohesion at the right time.

  5. Agree totally with Dan C. Torres is a handful running at people with the ball, while Adu does his damage in brief moments of high technical skill. Torres can unlock a defense with his dribbling; Adu needs others around him to engage in combination play with him. Unfortunately, Torres does not always make the right decision. And just to go back to one of the earlier blogs, Justin Mapp is probably the best footballer on the Union on pure skill and, despite injury, continues to unsettle opposing defenses with crosses from both flanks. He has also scored three accurate long range goals. Kudos to Nowak for bringing out the best out of Mapp, who was unappreciated with the Fire. Takes one pure winger to appreciate another.

  6. I don’t understand the hate. It’s not easy to score, or contribute positive scoring chances coming off an injury. But, Adu did that(which is his job). Sounds like a good match to me.

  7. Good points, Primoone. Nevertheless, it’s not about liking or not liking Adu. It’s too early to judge him either way, imho. The fact is that he has not provided much play making, but has gotten on the end of a couple goals with decent finishing in short amount of time. Maybe the playoffs will prove the proper stage on which to judge Adu’s progress, but Ives has the cart in front of the horse here.

  8. Adu’s finish was brilliant, but if you look at the entirety (is that a word?) of his play during his stint with philadelphia, he has not been very impressive. Although some of that may be with Nowak not giving consistant minutes or a consistant role (minutes due to injury I’m sure). He has lined up as a striker, a winger, a false 9 and as a cm in front of Carroll. I think once he has a full preseason with the squad he will be much improved. The issue for the Union however is that he and Rogers are very similar players. They own Adu, rogers is on a loan but if you took the pulse of PPL the fans would overwhelmingly choose Rogers at this point….

  9. This is why I ***LOVE*** the chalkboard feature:

    Dempsey v Honduras:
    * Complete passes: 31, Incomplete: 7 (82%), Dispossessed on dribble: 0
    * Complete forward passes in final third: 8 (9 att)
    * Shots: 3, On goal: 2 (other one was blocked)

    Adu vs Seattle
    * Complete Passes: 23, Incomplete: 11 (68%), Dispossessed: 4
    * Complete forward passes in final third: 0 (2 att)
    * Shots: 1, On goal 1

    These guys did not have comparable games.

  10. It is not about what a gifted player can do for you for the majority of his time on the field, rather, its about the special things they can do in an instant for your attack. It is the 3-4 moments of brilliance that makes Adu worth his weight in gold. Dempsey has made a career out of it..

    writers do have a tendency to see things from different perspectives as we all do…sometimes they are head-scratchers and other times they are on the money. But its personal opinion. We all have players we like and players we dont like. (shrug)

  11. Nobody was slighting Adu for not contributing on defense. We are all well aware that he’s a creative player. The point was that his contributions on offense didn’t warrant such glowing reviews.

  12. Also most folks on here claming it was just a tap in goal and nothing special is hilarious. Really guys? Why don’t you guys tell that to Shea or Onyewu!

    Adu put himself in great position and reacted fast with accuracy. If you can’t see that then you are dilusional. Chicharito is not a flashy player, but his positioning and eye for the goal is why he is considered a threat. Same with Adu.

  13. The point is Freddy ADU does just enough to help out his team. He clearly saved the U.S in the last two matches of the gold cup having not played all tournament, yet hate came his way. Come on..

    ADU is clearly still a bit sore but still manage to attract the defense, great work in my book. His presense alone on the field makes things complicated for defenses. AGAIN, ADU IS NOT PALEMALU! He is there to create and score… Geesh. When are you noobs going to get it?!lol there is 10 defenders already.

    The point of Futbol is to score, the kid does it. Let the defense worry about defense. He is there to create & score. EVEN A BAD ADU STILL ASSISTS & SCORES, what’s the problem?

    Dempsey & Bradley disappear at times, yet the majority still come out like hypebeasts. Give credit where credit is do.

    Shea has played well, but disssapears and plays less then aight on defense yet the kid gets monster love. ?? Don’t get it.

    Name one player on the U

  14. They’re both creative players but it’s a matter of degree..
    Dempsey is a sometimes frustrating player who can be truly brilliant. Adu doesn’t do nearly as much as him.
    Not nearly the same.

  15. Seattle doesnt need to “rebound” from anything. This game was irrelevant for them more or less, they are essentially locked into the 2nd spot in the west, all they need is one point in the last two games. They were never realistically going to catch LA for the supporters shield.

  16. Funny to see the disconnect here.

    People put Dempsey up like he’s Jesus. Clint Dempsey does nothing for an entire half and then scores a goal and people think he’s the best thing since sliced bread. Freddy Adu has a decent game and scores a goal and gets an assist and all people can talk about is how he didn’t do anything except score and get an assist.

  17. Alonso dispossessed Adu many times throughout that game, killing a potential Union attack. Other than his finish, I didn’t see Adu do much positive on offense. He also continues to be a defensive liability which is the primary reason I don’t think he is national team quality.

    Props to the Union as a whole though – they played well and dominated the Sounders for parts of the match.

  18. Noonan, Evans and Friberg all had poor games. Union played very well as individuals and as a team. Nowak has a very young team playing with a lot of heart. Williams and the Farfans were very impressive.

  19. Agree with the rest of the commentators, Adu is a non-factor for 60 minutes, then benefits from Garfan’s hustle play and that means he “shines”? Bleh. Lazy, sloppy writing. Adu can improve, and must improve, if Philly has a chance to make it out of the East.

    Paunovic was a STUD last night. When did he start playing tracking back? Seemed like he was everywhere. Good on ya, Old Serb.

    Other awesomeness: Garfan, CARROLL, Le Toux, Califf.

  20. Totally agree! SBI is not very subjective when it comes to Adu – it’s quite strange. Adu has yet to play one good game for Philly yet SBI always talks about how well he plays. Strange…

  21. Agree, Adu shined for two occasions but was not in the game the rest of the time. Hopefully he is not in top form from the ankle injury.

    The rest of the team played great, even Mapp.

    M Farfan played fantastic, his twin almost as good. Loved the great ball movement for most of the game. We will be a force next year!

  22. Adu shined was certainly not my takeaway from the game last night. Defense shined and union finished well. Looking forward, I’d like to see them stick with Zac MacMath as it will be good for the US team and save them a lot of money. Still don’t want Real Salt Lake but PPL is going to be a tough place to come and get a win in the playoffs.

  23. It will be tough on Saturday, with Toronto rejuvenated. We can’t expect 6 more goals in this one.
    But my big question is, what do you do if Faryd is healthy? Does he get the starting job back? Zach’s playing pretty well, but I think you have to give it back to Faryd to finish out the year.

  24. I don’t know, aside from the nice finish on the goal, I didn’t think Adu played all that well. He’s clearly still recovering from injury – looked a step slow all night. But that’s just my opinion.


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