By Matt Leon


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Union are out on the west coast for a Saturday night match-up with the Seattle Sounders.

Last time out on April 8th, the Union beat Orlando City 2-1. Thanks in part to that win, the Union are currently tied for first in MLS Eastern Conference with nine points (3-2-0 record).

The Union are having this success with a lot of young players handling big roles. That includes defender Richie Marquez, who has been strong along the back line since being plugged into the starting line-up in the season’s second game.

“It’s been great,” Marquez tells KYW Newsradio. “Especially coming from a year like last one. Starting off strong has been a great feeling for I think everybody.”

Last season through five matches, the Union were 0-3-2 and they didn’t win their third game in 2015 until May 24th en route to a 9th place finish in the East. Marquez says the frustration from last year has helped fuel the strong start this year:

“Coming into this season we were all hungry and all had the mentality to change things and I think that’s where it all started.”

Listen to the complete interview with Richie Marquez (trt: 3:04)…

 

Seattle surprisingly started the season with three straight losses. Since them, they have beaten Montreal and earned a draw with Houston. But with just four points, the Sounders find themselves at the bottom of the table in the Western Conference. Marquez isn’t reading much into the standings, however.

“We’re expecting the exact Seattle team that is always fighting to the very end,” he says. “I mean they have a great atmosphere, 50,000 at the stadium. It’s going to be a battle. We can’t ever take a team like Seattle lightly and no one is. We’re embracing this fight.”

Last season, these teams met once, in Chester, the Union winning 1-0 on June 24th behind a goal from C.J. Sapong.

Saturday’s game will get underway at 10:00 p.m. eastern.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.