CHESTER, Pa. – The last time the Philadelphia Union and Chivas USA got together in July in California, they battled to a spirited 1-1 draw that saw both sides trade off the momentum.
On Saturday, the Goats visit PPL Park, and the Union think they've figured out how to get another result in a contest between two teams that are struggling to stay alive in the race for the playoffs.
Assistant John Hackworth said this week that his team just needs to continue to do what it does best -- control the possession and flow of the match -- and good things will happen.
“We know that we have to be able to break them down with our ball movement, with our mobility,” said Hackworth on Tuesday. “We have to find ways to get entry into the final third and hopefully create chances and finish those.
“At the same time, we have to be patient when they get their possession and rhythm going. We have to make sure we don’t give up any penetrating balls, or opportunities in our defensive third, so it’s a little bit of a tactical chess match. You have two teams who like to have the ball a lot.”
Remembering the July contest between teams, in which Philadelphia weren’t able to close out the match on the road, defender Jordan Harvey thinks his team will play a better match in front of their home fans.
“In [the first game against Chivas], we started off well,” Harvey said. “We just need to finish the game well. In that game in particular, I just remember them being all over us late in the first half, and then some in the second half.
"It’s about maintaining the pressure that we put on when we start the game. And being at home, with the fans at our back, I think we can do this.”
According to Hackworth, it’ll also help that the Union play a brand of soccer that mirrors what Chivas play, as they will know what to expect when the whistle blows at PPL Park on Saturday.
“They’re similar to us in that they play a good style of soccer,” said Hackworth. “In their game against Kansas City [last] weekend, they had a majority of the play, the possession and, in the end, they didn’t get the result.
“In our game out there, they did the same thing. We controlled early then they kind of took over in the first half.”
Replicating that first-half performance for an entire 90 minutes would certainly go a long way in getting the Union a win on Saturday, one they desperately need.