The Union's 2015 campaign can be described as tumultuous so far to say the least. After a recent resurgence of three wins through late May into early June, the Union (4-10-3) have had quite a collapse in their two matches since, emphasized by a 5-1 drubbing by the L.A. Galaxy (6-5-7) on Saturday.
With 15 points, the Union are just one point out of last place in the entire league and their 10 losses on the season leads the MLS. If things don't turn around, this season, that's been so hit or miss so far, could slip away at the blink of an eye.
"[It was a] wake up call," said Union midfielder Brian Carroll, after Saturday's loss. "The good thing is we have a quick turn around and we get to play Seattle on Wednesday at home. We have to take what we can from this game, and improve and look deep; put on a much better result. At times we had good possession, and at times we competed well, but [the Galaxy] were just better on the night. ... [We] dug ourselves a hole that we couldn’t get out of."
The Seattle Sounders (9-5-2) hold the second-most points (29) in the league this season. They're one of three teams with nine wins on the year. The Union will catch a slight break, as the Sounders are down their superstar, Clint Dempsey, who was suspended three matches for tearing apart a referee's notebook in the team's most recent U.S. Open Cup match. But don't expect this to slow the Sounders much, who're tied for the league-lead in goals scored with 23. Dempsey's seven goals on the year is a large chunk of this, but fellow teammate Obafemi Martins has seven of his own and is one of the most potent offensive forwards in the league.
"It's a game in which both teams are coming off a lot of games in a few days," said Union forward C.J. Sapong, about Wednesday's match against the Sounders. "It's gonna be a grind. You can pay attention to tactics and players as much as you want, but at this point of the season it's really about heart and the mentality that you're bringing on game day."
The last time the Union faced the Sounders was in the U.S. Open Cup final at home last season, falling 3-1 in overtime on the big stage. Union manager Jim Curtin thinks it's something which will be on everyone's mind Wednesday night at PPL Park.
"You know who beat you in the final, there's no doubt about that," Curtin said. "It was a good game, but one that left an empty feeling for us. When you see those green jersey's on the field tomorrow, that will probably be the first thing that goes through everyone's mind - they have a trophy of ours. That should motivate guys for sure."
In order to get out of the team's current funk, they'll likely need the continued scoring of Sapong. He's now netted a goal in the past three matches for the Union, but he's logged a hefty 180 minutes in the team's past two matches.He's tied for 15th in the MLS in scoring with five goals on the year and his .81 goals per 90 minutes average ranks him third in the MLS for players who've played over 100 minutes on the season.
"I like being on the field," Sapong said. "I like providing an impact for my team because that brings me extra energy. Right now I feel really good. I just want to keep being on the field and I make sure to do the things off the field to make me as close to 100 percent as possible."
Wednesday's match against the Sounders will air at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.