Seattle, WA – Seattle Sounders FC cleared a big hurdle in midweek and the club will try to continue its best start to a Major League Soccer season on Saturday with another win over the Philadelphia Union.
A 2-0 triumph over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday held a bit of extra meaning for Seattle considering that the Galaxy had never lost at Seattle prior to the game and that the Sounders had found it tough to beat LA ever since arriving in MLS.
"It was good for us because sometimes you have a team that you call your 'Boogey team' - a team that sort of gives you a problem and for some reason you can't seem to jump over them," said Seattle coach Sigi Schmid. "Like Chicago can't seem to get past us right now, LA was that team for us a little bit, but we always felt we had confidence that we could beat them and today it showed."
The win over the Galaxy only added to a strong start for the Sounders, who have won five of their first seven games and yielded just three goals in league play, tied for the best mark in MLS.
Seattle has won its last three games and sits in third place, six points back of leaders San Jose, which has played two more games.
Philadelphia enters Saturday's match near the bottom of the Eastern Conference after a last-minute 2-1 defeat at home against San Jose last time out.
The Union was attempting to win its third straight game, but a stoppage-time goal from Steven Lenhart denied the club three more points and instead leaves them well off the pace at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Union boss Peter Nowak missed the loss to San Jose and will be serving the second of his two-game ban on Saturday for leaving the technical area and making contact with an opposing player against Chivas USA last month.
John Hackworth took charge of the club in Nowak's absence, and he knows that after a tough loss like the one his team sustained last weekend, a positive response would be ideal.
"We know when we let a game like that slip away the burden of pressure falls on our shoulders a little bit more," Hackworth said. "Again, it goes back to what your foundation is and what you're working on and those are the strengths that have got to get you through these tough times.
"So we expect to come out and fire away on Saturday against a very good Seattle team in a very hostile environment and a difficult surface to play on. But those are the challenges. That's what you have to deal with. We're ready for that."