Union seek offensive breakthrough vs. visiting SKC
CHESTER, Pa. -- The second match of the John Hackworth era will be just as difficult as the first.
If not tougher.
One week after D.C. United came to PPL Park and defeated the Philadelphia Union 1-0, Sporting Kansas City is up next Saturday night. Sporting Kansas City is 9-3-1 (28 points), and just two points behind D.C. United for first place in the Eastern Conference with two games in-hand.
Kansas City has also won two in a row and carries a 3-2-1 road record into Saturday’s match.
The Union (2-8-2) are fully aware of what’s at stake in trying to snap a six-match winless skid. And they’ll have to accomplish the feat against a talented side with a dangerous offense.
“It was nice to see us get scoring chances (against D.C. United), and now we have to finish those against a tough side in Kansas City,” said forward Antoine Hoppenot, who was a sparkplug off the Union's bench in last Saturday’s 1-0 loss. “We have a whole lot of skilled players across the board here. It’s a bit frustrating not to finish. We know we can do it.
“Hopefully, the next game we can string together two, three or four goals and bring it all together. We know it won’t be easy. We believe in ourselves and our ability.”
For the Union to reverse the trend of the past six matches, they believe it’s about controlling what happens on their end.
“I felt like we had two or three big chances to score and we need to just put them in the back of the net and put that game away from the start,” defender Sheanon Williams said. “We’ve had chances in just about every match. We need to come in and execute the plan we work up during the week. We’ve had some luck go against us but that’s going to happen. We all feel like if we do what we’re supposed to do, good things will happen and we’ll start getting some points.”
Hackworth has had an additional week to take the reins from Peter Nowak and that’s sure to be an advantage.
The players will have another week to get comfortable. More than that, they want to prove that the Union’s record is an aberration.
“We believe in coach Hackworth and the team philosophy and we know it’s time to get it going on the field to result in points,” said forward Jack McInerney, who received his first start in league play against D.C. United. “We’ll come back for Kansas City and we’re determined to start building some wins.”
“The truth is, despite the decisions made mid-week, the team continues to work hard, preparing itself well, with the mentality of getting out of the zone (in the table) where we’re at, and hopefully, getting to the top,” added forward Josue Martinez. “I think that it’s a matter of continuing what we’re doing; (Saturday) the team showed plenty of attacking options, and despite us not being able to get the result, the team showed lots of effort, and the desire that we have to win.”