Ten Down, Long Season to Go

13 of 20 remaining MLS matches to be played at PPL Park

HOU6

Ten games down, a whole lot more to go.

That was essentially Alejandro Moreno’s recent message to the younger players on Philadelphia Union. Through 10 games, the Union stand at 2-7-1. Through 10 games, the club has shown improvement in virtually every area.

With game No. 11 looming June 27 against Seattle Sounders FC in the much-anticipated debut of PPL Park, Moreno realizes what’s at stake. And not just with this game.

“This is such a long season and you have to maintain your training and your preparation, both mentally and physically,” Moreno said. “For the players who have been here before, we know there’s much ahead of us. The season is long and you have to be ready.”

The 30-year-old forward is a veteran of eight Major League Soccer seasons before this one as well as time spent playing for the Venezuelan National Team.

Moreno’s experience can certainly help those who are going through this marathon for the first time. Add in the fact that the club played eight of its first 10 league games on the road, and the task is even harder.

“I’ve told the guys to go one day at a time since we started in preseason training,” Moreno said. “This game is hard physically and mentally because of the travel and tough places to play. I think we have been through such a tough part of our schedule. It’s never going to get easier, but being at home will help. For rookies and the younger players, they’re getting hands-on experience. I think it will make the entire club better.”

Moreno scored a combined 13 goals for Columbus over the past two seasons, but he’s looking for his first tally this season despite leading the club with five assists.

He believes that day will come.

“Sebastien (Le Toux) has been fantastic and so has Danny (Mwanga) in his rookie season,” Moreno said. “I’ve had some chances. I think I’ll get plenty more chances. Really, I want to win. If I get a few goals here and there, that’s great. I want to win games. That’s what is most important to me.”

The next chance to win will come on June 27 with a sold-out crowd yelling and screaming at PPL Park.

“I’m really looking forward to this game,” Moreno said. “The bottom line is winning, and I think the guys will be rested and anxious to play well in front of our home fans.”