Union offense continues to excel under Hackworth
The goals keep coming.
With Philadelphia’s 3-0 home win over Toronto FC, the club has now scored 15 goals in 6 games under interim head coach John Hackworth.
“I think we have good attacking players,” Hackworth told reporters after Sunday’s shutout. “I think they feel like they have some freedom to go to goal, and we’ve been encouraging them to go to goal. Fortunate for us, they’re finding the back of the net, and that means everything.”
The Union are now 4-2-0 in six games under Hackworth, which includes a 5-2 Open Cup win over affiliate club Harrisburg.
Philadelphia had scored just 8 league goals on the season before last month’s 4-0 romp over Sporting Kansas City.
“We’re doing it with a lot of different guys, and we’re very mobile in our attack,” Hackworth said. “I think that makes it hard for opposing defenses. But at the end of the day it’s the players that are making the plays, and that’s fantastic to see.”
Philadelphia dominated for much of the match, out-possessing Toronto 62% to 38%. The Union out-shot TFC 14 to 10 and played 456 passes. Toronto played just 265.
“The team is gaining some confidence, which is really important for morale and the opportunity to win,” said Gabriel Gomez, who scored his team leading 5th goal in the first half. “But, (going forward), we know that we don’t have room to make mistakes. We have to keep winning to get into the playoffs.”
Freddy Adu doubled the Union lead with a cracking effort in the 36th minute. Antoine Hoppenot sealed the deal in the 78th minute with his third goal of the year in all competitions. Jack McInerney made his fourth start in five league games and assisted on the Gomez goal.
“I think we’re just clicking,” McInerney explained. “We’re in the right place at the right time. We’re just being there and getting a little bit of luck. I think if we win a couple more games, it will sort of put the first half of the season behind us. It’ll be a bit of a fresh start because we’ll be right back in the race with everyone else.”
With games in hand, the Union are now just a few points back from Montreal and New England in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I think that all year we’ve been capable of scoring goals,” said right back Sheanon Williams. “It’s just that, this is the time when they’re falling for us. We’re going to continue to ride that. Obviously Jack coming in has been a big part of that, he’s been extremely dangerous on the offensive side of the ball. And Antoine, he gets at least a chance a game. If he can keep scoring, he’ll be in good shape too.”