Philadelphia look to climb conference ladder vs. TFC

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CARSON, Calif. – The Philadelphia Union’s two-game road trip ended with a win over the LA Galaxy that sparked their coach Bruce Arena to say that his team “gave the game away.”

But the Union aren’t apologizing for the fact that the Galaxy misfired on many of their scoring chances, while they capitalized on two of their only ones to escape Southern California with a 2-1 victory.

“It wasn’t their day, it was ours,” Union right back Sheanon Williams said. “That kind of stuff has been happening to us all year and today the roles were a little bit reversed.”

And now, as they return home for a Sunday clash against Toronto FC at PPL Park (4 pm ET, 6abc), the Union believe luck may be finally swinging in their favor.

“I definitely think this kind of win is a season-changer for us,” said red-hot striker Jack McInerney. “We’ve been playing well lately. We have a couple of home games, and if we string some wins along, we’ll be right back in the playoff race.”

With a 4-9-2 overall record, the Union still have a lot of work to do to get back into the playoff race. But Philly coaches have said all along they are better than their record indicates, and the club’s minus-3 goal differential backs up that claim.

The key for Philly is grinding out results in games in which they don’t play well for 90 minutes, with the one against the defending champs standing out as a prime example.

“These kinds of games can define a team,” Union interim manager John Hackworth said after Wednesday’s win. “I certainly think this game was a big one for us.”

Sunday’s game is also a big one, too, as they take on Toronto FC (2-10-4), the only team behind them in the Eastern Conference.

They’re certainly not overlooking Toronto, who beat them in May, but they also know they can’t afford to slip up if they want to continue their climb up the standings.

“We’re not really looking down; we’re more looking up,” striker Antoine Hoppenot said. “We’ve still got to win a few more games to put ourselves back in the playoff picture.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.

Preview: Union vs. Toronto FC