Buttons are being pushed, and maybe there are indications of ignition.
Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid shook up his lineup again Saturday, and the new look produced a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle got its second goal in as many weeks from central defender Chad Marshall, and the first career goal by homegrown rookie Jordan Morris.
The result pushed the Sounders’ unbeaten string to three straight games since starting their season with three straight losses.
“We’re happy with the win,” Schmid said. “We wanted to get a win at home, we wanted to move out of the (Western Conference) basement. That was our objective for today, so we’ve accomplished those goals.”
Schmid gave forward Oalex Anderson his first MLS start, replacing Aaron Kovar alongside Morris and Ivanschitz. Dylan Remick started at right back, ahead of previous starter Joevin Jones.
The changes weren’t just a matter of paperwork. The Sounders attack looked different from the start. Their performance was more energetic than anything seen over the first five matches. Anderson didn’t figure in any of the scoring, but he gave the Sounders a speedy threat on the win, which opened holes in the Philadelphia defense, even before they lost midfielder Roland Alberg to a second yellow card in the 53rd minute.
“Oalex is just wonderfully unpredictable,” Schmid said. “His speed presented issues and problems and he got behind their defense at certain times. And there’s times where it’s a simple thing and it doesn’t come off, and there’s times it’s a complicated thing and it does come off. He’s certainly a player I thought in his 60 minutes posed a threat for the opponent.”
Philadelphia had most of the possession early. But the Sounders were finding space on the counter. Most of those early attacks ended badly, with several off-target or poorly paced passes. But the Sounders stuck at it, and began becoming more dangerous.
Morris had a couple of solid chances, one acrobatically saved by Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake. Andreas Ivanschitz put a couple of solid strikes on frame, with Blake scrambling to deny both. Osvaldo Alonso scorched one just wide.
In the 41st minute, the Sounders broke through with a Marshall header from five yards out. It was Marshall’s second goal of the season – second in two weeks – and moved him into the team lead.
In the 71st minute, Morris took a long pass from Ivanschitz and fired low and inside the near post. He raised his armed and acknowledged the cheers from the announced crowd of 39,620.
“I’m sure he’s very, very happy to have gotten the goal,” Schmid said. “I know he had a couple of good looks in the first half that maybe a striker whose got his full confidence maybe pulls the trigger instead of trying to lay them across to somebody else. But right now he’s still searching for that. … I think it’s great for him, it’s great for the city, and it’s great for our team.”
The celebration was cut short when former Sounder Sebastien Le Toux halved the lead with a shot from 17 yards in the 73rd minute. However, the Sounders were able to hold on from there.
Before the match, the Sounders announced that the full capacity of CenturyLink Field will be used for five games: June 25 vs. New York City FC, July 31 for the Los Angeles Galaxy, Aug. 31 for the Portland Timbers, Sept. 17 for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Oct. 23 for Real Salt Lake.
Individual tickets for those games already are on sale. A five-game package for all of them will go on sale Monday.
Game in review
Overview: The Sounders beat the Philadelphia Union, 2-1 at CenturyLink Field. Seattle got second goal in as many weeks from central defender Chad Marshall and a first career goal from homegrown rookie Jordan Morris. Union played a man down for the final 37 minutes after Roland Alberg received his second yellow card. After starting season with three straight losses, Seattle unbeaten over last three and at 2-3-1 for the season.
The goals: 41st minute, Chad Marshall header from 5 yards.. 71st minute, Jordan Morris scores his first MLS goal, finishing low from inside the box after taking a long pass from Andreas Ivanschitz. 73rd minute, former Sounder Sebastien Le Toux scores from 17 yards after C.J. Sapong headed a pass down to his feet.
Key moment: 53rd minute, Second yellow equals red for Roland Alberg in tackle on Cristian Roldan. The Union played a man down the rest of the way.
Man of the match: Seattle midfielder Ivanschitz assisted both goals.
Notes: Forward Oalex Anderson got his first MLS start, in place of Aaron Kovar. DP forward Nelson Valdez (leg), returned to the game day roster. Valdez replaced Anderson in the 62nd minute. … The Sounders wore black armbands in honor of Darwin Jones’ father, who died last week.
Quote: “I thought those first 15 minutes they were better than us. We were way too loose. But then after that as we pressed the tempo, it was better. … We were probably a little nervous at the end. But at the end of the day we won the game, and that’s going to help us next time.” -- Schmid
Next match: 6 p.m. Saturday at Colorado.