Checking out MLS standings never bad for building game day confidence

Glance at MLS standings never a bad thing says Williams

Sheanon celebration

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

Sheanon Williams admitted that he peeks at the standings.

He likes to see where the Philadelphia Union stand on a daily basis and what the other clubs are doing.

But on match day, it’s completely different.

“I think we’re all human and like to look and see what the standings are like, but when it’s time to play, we’re completely focused on that game on that day,” Williams recently told philadelphiaunion.com. “I think it’s human nature to kind of look and see how the standings are shaping up. It’s part of the fun when you’re in a playoff race. I know that when the game comes around and it’s time to focus, we have no problem doing that.

“I think you have to be completely focused on game day, concentrating on that particular opponent. It’s when we have some down time that we check things out. On game day, it’s all business. We want to get back to the playoffs. Missing it last season was not fun.”

Montreal, New York and Sporting Kansas City are locked in a three-way tie for place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points. The Union are closing in with 39 points as a huge match looms Sunday night at San Jose (11 p.m., ESPN2). 

Every match is huge for Williams.

It wasn’t that long ago that he was playing, waiting and hoping for a chance to be called up from the Harrisburg City Islanders. He got his chance in 2010 and has never looked back.

In the process, he has worked his way into a club leader and one of its most consistent players.

“It’s been great,” Williams said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time with the Union. More than that, the club is winning this season, so I think it’s been more enjoyable. It’s not fun when you’re struggling. I think we’ve grown as a club and I’m just trying to do my part every day to help take the club back to the playoffs. We’ve shown great character this season and this locker room all gets along. It’s a great group o guys who are all on the same page and want to win.”

The backline has shown tremendous growth and chemistry as the season has gone along. Much of that success can be attributed to Williams.

“I think Sheanon is a great player and he’s so skilled and tough-minded,” said defender Jeff Parke. “He’ll make all the little plays, the ones that you need to win and be successful. He has great ability on the throw-ins, too, which is amazing to me. He’s a great teammate and the kind of winning player every club would want.”

Williams had a taste of the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2011. And he wants another taste this season.

“It’s a long season and we’re soon getting ready for the final stretch,” Williams said. “We need to stay focused on each match as it comes. Hopefully, in the end, we’ll be right there in the mix for the playoffs. That’s what you play for, a chance to be there at the end to compete for a title.”

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com