Six-foot-four defender Chad Marshall rolled into the scrum in front of the goal, leaped up and headed in his first score of the season off a corner kick from Marco Pappa to give Sounders FC a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union Saturday night in front of a drenched sellout crowd at the Clink.
The score in the 84th minute made for the Sounders’ (6-2-1) fourth win in a row and kept them atop the MLS. The winless streak of the Union (1-4-5) stretched to eight games.
“Pappa served me in a great ball,” Marshall said. “I felt like we’ve been close all season to getting one. We’ve had a couple good saves by keepers and stuff. (Pappa) served in a good ball, I made a good run, and was able to put it on frame. Felt good.”
Marshall was also the key figure in a defense that repelled multiple shots on goal by a surprisingly persistent Philly club that had scored nine goals all season.
The only leakage occurred in the 14th minute, when a 36-yard free kick from Argentine DP Cristian Maidana skipped off the rain-slicked heads of teammate Maurice Edu and then Sounder Brad Evans behind him, redirecting the shot past GK Stefan for a surprising 1-0 lead. It was the Sounders’ first own-goal since 2011, and ended a Philly scoreless streak of 204 minutes.
The Sounders had numerous chances in the first half, including a Lamar Neagle bullet that smashed off the crossbar and a penalty kick by Ozzie Alonso in which GK Zac MacMath correctly guessed left, and slapped the shot off the far post for a save. Coming off one of their best wins, 4-1 over Colorado the past Saturday, the Sounders were a bit stunned to trail 1-0 at the half.
The Sounders broke their offensive silence in the 60th minute when Brad Evans, back in the starting lineup after a calf injury, lofted a long header that found Obafemi Martins just ahead of the defense and squarely in front of the goal. Martins slipped one defender and beat MacMath one-on-one for the equalizer, his fourth goal of the season.
Marshall’s decisive header gave the Sounders a 3-2 home record at the start of three games in nine days that includes their first midweek game of the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Dallas. Depth will be tested even more after Dylan Remick went down without contact in the 49th minute and limped off with an injury that looked like an Achilles problem in his right foot. He was replaced by Pappa.
National team coach Jurgen Klinsmann will call 30 players into training camp on May 13 to prepare for the World Cup. Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans are likely to attend, and perhaps DeAndre Yedlin. Sounders making the 23-man roster for Brazil would miss four league matches starting with the May 17 home game against San Jose. If the U.S. moves out of group play, more MLS games would be missed . . . Dempsey, voted MLS player of the month, had his scoring streak ended at six . . . Defender Leo Gonzalez sat out with a sore hamstring.