SEATTLE — Mauro Rosales says he’ll still look to pass before he looks to score — unless he’s wide open so close to the net.
Rosales scored in the 63rd minute, and Bryan Meredith had a shutout in his first Major League Soccer start in the Seattle Sounders’ 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
The Sounders (6-1-1) have won four straight and are unbeaten in their last five (4-1-0) in the best start in the franchise’s four-year history. Philadelphia (2-5-1) has lost two in a row.
“We didn’t do enough to make Seattle defend us well,” said Philadelphia assistant coach John Hackworth, filling in for head coach Peter Nowak. Nowak was serving the second of a two-game suspension for his ejection against Chivas USA on April 21.
“We have to be more dangerous in the final third, and we didn’t do a great job at that. We talked about it during the week, and our guys are a little hesitant to pull the trigger right now. All we can do is continue to ask our players to have courage to take those shots, and hopefully, it will happen.”
Fredy Montero set up Rosales’ first goal of the season with a pass through the penalty area toward the right side. Rosales ran onto it and beat goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the left corner from 10 yards.
“The best part was a great pass from Fredy,” said Rosales, who missed four early season games because of knee and ankle pain. “It was my chance in the game, and I tried to finish the best way. I was lucky it was good and we got the three points.”
Montero has factored into each of the five goals Seattle has scored against Philadelphia in three years, scoring once and assisting on the other four.
Meredith got the start in place of Michael Gspurning, who went out at halftime Wednesday night because of a right hip injury in a 2-0 home victory over Los Angeles. Meredith stepped in for the second half and preserved the shutout. Gspurning was listed as probable Saturday, but didn’t suit up.
“I wasn’t really too nervous and it was a relatively easy game for me,” said Meredith, who a year ago was playing in the third-tier Premier Development League for a team based in Bremerton, about an hour across Puget Sound from Seattle. “The back four didn’t allow too much through. I don’t think I saw any shots on target.”
In fact, Philadelphia got off just six shots for the match, only one of which was on frame. That was a try by Lionard Pajoy in the 77th minute from outside the penalty area that Meredith stopped with ease.
“I thought Meredith did a great job in goal and dealt with the things he needed to deal with,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “Our defense did a good job of keeping things away from him.”
Seattle has six shutouts in its past seven games, and has had five starting foursomes in the back. The Sounders have allowed three goals all season, tied with Kansas City for fewest in the league.
“I really think we have seven starters,” Schmid said about the depth at defender. “It’s a team effort when you get a shutout. It’s not just the defenders, it’s everyone together.”
While the Union struggled to get anything going offensively, the Sounders, who fired 19 shots, had a handful of other near-misses — two of them by Montero. One was kicked off the line late in the seventh minute, and another bounced off the crossbar in the 86th. Andy Rose, making his first start, hit the bar late in the 47th minute.