The expansion Philadelphia Union are on the outside of the MLS playoff race looking in just over halfway through their inaugural season, but the club isn’t ready to dismiss their chances of making a late surge.
In fact, the character Manager Peter Nowak’s side has shown throughout the 2010 campaign would suggest the Union’s mentality and corresponding effort won’t fluctuate depending on their position in the standings. Regardless, Philadelphia are first and foremost focused on Sunday’s away match against FC Dallas (6:00pm, Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Español).
"We need this game Sunday and we all know it,” said defender Jordan Harvey. “We need three
points as much as possible from here on out. I think we're a confident team and
we're going on the road with a plan in mind."
While the results haven’t showed it, the Union have been especially sharp in the run of play recently. According to Nowak, the key to turning around the club’s fortunes is learning how to bury scoring opportunities at a more efficient rate.
“You can see our lack of experience in certain situations,” he said. “We have to finish our chances, especially at the end of games. We have to have that killer instinct and say ‘I’m going to bury it.’ That’s the part that sometimes in practice they take lightly.
“You have to work on it. You’re not always going to have 10 chances in a game. You get three, four, or five and you have to finish them. I believe it’s something to work on with these guys.”
While it’s clear that Philadelphia are treating Sunday’s contest as a must-win, they aren’t looking to change their strategy. More than anything, the club is hoping to see their quality begin to translate into points.
"We can't put too much pressure on ourselves,” said defender Cristian Arrieta on Thursday. “We have to play our style and our game. Really, it's about executing what we're trying to accomplish. We tied Dallas earlier this season. We need to execute, and if we do, I'm confident the result will come out in our favor.”
If the Union are to seize
the possibility of re-entering the playoff mix, securing three points against a
tough FC Dallas side is a virtual necessity. Philadelphia fans know it, and the
players are equally aware.
"This is important on Sunday,” midfielder Fred said after Thursday’s 2-1 loss. “It's a very big game for us. We want to play well and then come home and do the same thing."