With every team in the East clinging to the swing, no need for desperation from Union

Hackworth, Union avoiding panic button despite recent skid

Union celebration vs SKC

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

There is the cliche that says "desperate times call for desperate measures" -- but believe it or not, the Union aren't in that category.

Despite a five-game winless streak that's seen the team fall out of playoff position, manager John Hackworth isn't sounding the alarm ahead of Friday night's trip to Kansas City.

He was asked at his weekly press conference if fringe players like Roger Torres and Kleberson might be called upon to break the team out of its slump.

"Sure, there's a shot," Hackworth said. "But in reality, I don't think we're in a desperate situation. I think if you start to reach for straws and play guys who haven't really represented your team at this point in the year, then you're getting into desperate times. Roger has done well in training over the last couple of weeks. That's why he was in the 18 against Houston. But I think it's unrealistic to say you're going to go to a guy who has played under 40 minutes for you all year."

The skid began with the 5-1 loss at New England on August 25. The Union scrapped for a draw against Montreal one week later but followed up that result with shutout losses against San Jose and Houston.

The team has scored just one goal in the last five games.

"We've scored one legitimate goal," Hackworth said. "But we've scored three goals for sure where the head of officiating has gone on national TV and said they should have been goals. We've created numerous chances. It becomes desperate when you're not playing well, when you're not creating chances. But if you have been in this game long enough, you're going to realize it's a cruel game and you're going to go through times where they're not falling for you. You don't want to hit the panic button. You want to make sure you believe in what you're doing and the process by how you're doing it and that's where we are right now. That's probably why I sound the way I do, that our team is in a better spot than the perception that's out there."

Philadelphia finishes the season with a five game stretch that includes road trips to Kansas City, Montreal, and D.C United. Sporting returns to Chester for an October match and Toronto FC also visits PPL Park.

And while Philadelphia is one point out of a playoff spot, the club is also just one point ahead of eighth place Columbus in the Eastern Conference standings.

"In the next five games, you have to get three wins and probably another point along the way (to make the playoffs)," Hackworth explained. "It'll depend on what other teams do, too. But I think realistically you want to get 9 to 10 points out of these possible 15." 

Given the East's tight race, how many points do you think the Union need? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com