Fri, 21 Jun 2019

Union trying to snap Sounders nine-game winning streak

Sports Xchange
18 Sep 2018, 17:16 GMT+10

The Philadelphia Union are in the busiest stretch of their schedule.

And it's not going to get any easier Wednesday night.

The Union (12-12-4, 40 points) travel to face the Seattle Sounders (13-9-5, 44 points), who have won nine straight games -- an MLS record in the post-shootout era.

"Every night is not going to be perfect," Union coach Jim Curtin said Saturday after the Union had a five-match unbeaten run snapped with a surprising 4-1 loss at home to Montreal. "It's about how we respond in Seattle. I'm fully confident the group will give a very good response ... against a team that's playing as good as anybody in the league right now."

The Union were in the same conversion when they closed August with four straight wins. They had that streak snapped with a 2-2 tie on Sept. 1 at Orlando City SC.

After the international break, the Union lost to Montreal. And after Wednesday's match they return home to face Sporting Kansas City this weekend, then travel to Houston next Wednesday to play in the U.S. Open Cup final.

"We have our hands full," Curtin said. "A tough match coming up, midweek with travel and all the things that go into it."

The Sounders extended their streak with a 2-1 victory Saturday at Vancouver that also clinched the Cascadia Cup, the three-way competition between the Sounders, Whitecaps and Portland Timbers.

Seattle has outscored its opponents 21-5 during its streak, with midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro totaling five goals and four assists.

Forward Raul Ruidiaz scored twice Saturday for the Sounders and has five goals and an assist during their nine-game run. The streak started in the first game the Peruvian international played for Seattle after signing this summer.

"I'm really surprised by all of this," Ruidiaz said after Saturday's match. "But we're more than just a group, we're a family. That's why everything is coming out excellent.".

The Union might be without midfielder Borek Dockal, who has been dealing with an ankle injury.

"There's a plan in place for him," Curtin said of his Czech playmaker, who has five goals and a league-leading 15 assists this season. "We wanted to get him on the field for Montreal and back with the group. We'll assess things and how the ankle responded to that game, knowing that we do have a final coming up, knowing that Seattle is turf and there's some travel involved. We have to manage it."

The all-time series between the teams is tied at 4-4-2, though the Sounders hold a 4-1-0 edge at home.

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