Nowak Sets Bar Higher for 2011
CHESTER, Pa. -- Philadelphia Union fans have packed PPL Park all season long and Peter Nowak’s side made sure they went out with a bang, repaying the support on Saturday night with a 2-1 victory against the playoff-bound Red Bulls.
“We said from the beginning that we wanted to do this for our fans and that’s what happened,” said Union goalkeeper Brad Knighton of the win over New York. “We came out flying and got two goals. We gave up a cheap goal a couple of minutes into the second half but other than that we buckled down and it was nice to get three points here at home.”
After outplaying the West leading Galaxy last week, the Union once again proved they are a tough team to beat at PPL Park, dominating the East leaders Red Bulls in the first half on Saturday and scoring two goals inside of 30 minutes.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
Nowak says that after an expansion season in which the club has experienced its fair share of ups and downs, the team has built a clear identity.
“The result was important,” Nowak said. “I think you all know that we play a certain way that is difficult for some teams in the league. Today was the final product of what we have been trying to accomplish. The tag of the expansion team is long gone. We’re going to play for more than this next year.”
With one match left on the schedule against another team headed for the postseason in the Columbus Crew, the Union are hoping to gain momentum going into their second campaign.
Left back Jordan Harvey is now relishing the chance to play a role in determining the Eastern Conference winner next weekend and hopes to end Philadelphia's inaugural season on a hight note.
“It’s huge, especially for the fans,” said Harvey of winning their last home fixture. “Just to go out with a lasting impression for next season. Of course, we have one more game left so we’re hoping to put on a little win streak and get midway into 30 points which would be decent for us right now.”
That point total may be sufficient for the Union's expansion season but Nowak has made it clear the bar will be raised in 2011.
Shane Evans covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. You can follow him on Twitter @shanEvans.