A loss in Seattle and the curious case of the white jerseys

Jordan Morris’ eyes gets big as the ball sets up perfectly for him to score his first-ever MLS goal Saturday against the Philadelphia Union. The Philadelphia Union played the Seattle Sounders Saturday, April 16, 2016, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

The Union left Seattle without a result last Saturday night, and have started an interesting trend away from home. Aside from the dreadful Dallas game, the Union have looked like a good team on the road. That is, until they feed into their new habit of getting second half red cards. The last two road games the Union have come out strong in the first half dominating possession, and having better scoring chances before they shoot themselves in the foot in the second half by making stupid challenges that result in red cards. This past week it was Alberg seeing red after an unnecessary challenge from behind resulting in a second yellow. The game itself was sluggish.

The first goal let in by the Union came from a Seattle corner. A free Chad Marshall got his head on the cross, and put it into the open net. This was, as Coach Jim Curtin called it, “a learning moment” for the young defenders.

Seattle’s Jordan Morris scored his first professional goal to put the Sounders 2-0 up, by beating Union defenders to a through ball, and easily placing it passed Andre Blake. The Union got their consolation goal a few minutes after Morris’ eventual game winner.  Sebastian Le Toux finished one time from a ball that was headed by CJ Sapong into the open Seattle box. The goal was Le Toux’s fiftieth Union goal, and the first time he captained the squad. The Union come home to Philly with no points, but only fall one spot in the Eastern conference standings to second place.This leads into an issue  that I think needs to be attended to.

The Union are an absolutely awful team when they wear their away white jerseys that were implemented before the start of the 2015 season. You know the white ones with stars down the middle and gold stripes down the side? These jerseys are very aesthetically appeasing, but the Union have not gotten great results wearing them. Let’s look at how the Union have fared since the implementation of the white jersey.

The Union have worn their white jersey’s a total of sixteen times since March of 2015. They wore it eleven times in the 2015 regular season, once in a 2015 friendly against Eddie Howe’s FC Bournemouth, once in the 2015 open cup against the USL Rochester Rhinos, and three times so far this season. The Union won four, lost nine, and tied three when wearing their current away colors.

Last year they lost to Giovinco free kicks, Columbus routes, a team promoted to the English Premier League, and six other times. This year they lost to a great FC Dallas team, A Chicago spring snow storm, and a rookies first goal for Seattle. The Union have won only a quarter of the games when they have worn the current white shirts.

Out of these wins only one was a legitimately good win. Last August, when the Union were still in a push for the 2015 playoff place, they traveled to Montreal. It was for the most part an uneventful game. The only two bright spots were the Montreal debut of Didier Drogba in the 59th minute, and Sebastian Le Toux’s game winning goal in the 78th. This was a big win for the boys in blue to keep their long-shot hope of the 2015 playoffs alive. Other than this win in the white jerseys, the others were a bit tarnished.

The Union won their first US Open Cup game in June. They beat the USL (United Soccer League) Rochester Rhinos 3-1 in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of scoreless soccer. 

The Union’s biggest win in the white jerseys was against Portland on July eleventh; they won 3-0 against a make-shift Portland team who lacked many starters, such as Darlington Nagbe. Another win was brought to the Union in early September from substitute Conor Casey, he scored a brace for the Union in San Jose after 74th minute. All of these wins should have an asterisk next them as they could easily have been different results.

The win against the USL side should’ve been expected, and shouldn’t have taken a shootout to separate the two teams, but many other MLS sides lost to lower division sides in this tournament and the Union squeaked by the first round matchup. The game against Portland would’ve been different if their starters were healthy. The eventual 2015 MLS champs started non-starters at both of their outside backs, and the Union took advantage. The San Jose game was won by the seldom subbed on Connor Casey, and begged the question as to why he was not used more.

This curse of the white jersey is a superstitious one, but it has the facts to back it up. One out of four games is a win for the white jerseys, and all but one of those wins are suspect. This white starred and gold striped shirt is one that has plagued the Union so far. Only time will tell if it will continue to do so, but let me be the one Union fan to say please, for the love of God, only wear the whites when absolutely necessary!              

Photo credit: Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times