CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union still have one match to play -- a road game against the Columbus Crew on Sunday -- but that hasn’t stopped midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi from getting excited about next season.
A consistent starter for Peter Nowak’s squad this year, Miglioranzi feels that the team will take a great deal from a solid inaugural season and come out much improved once 2011 rolls around.
“We’ll come in next season being more confident, as we’re a team that knows we’re capable to compete with everyone in the league,” Miglioranzi said. “This season has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth, so I think next year we’ll definitely come back with more hunger.”
From the start of their first season until now, Miglioranzi has seen the team transform into a much more competent group, one that will only continue to improve as they spend more time together.
It was a slow process, but playing steady soccer has been the key to their turnaround in the second half of the year.
“We’re a much more consistent team than we were at the beginning," Miglioranzi said. “We were riddled with mistakes, and then we started ironing those out. We built on our strengths … and we’ve surprised a lot of teams, especially in the second half of the season."
On Sunday, the Union will need to play a determined match against a Columbus team with just three losses at home this season. Getting a result in the match would be huge for Philadelphia as they close out the year, and Miglioranzi, who spent two seasons at Columbus, thinks they are perfectly capable of upsetting the playoff-bound Crew in the season finale.
“I think it’s really important to go and put your best foot forward and go and finish the season on a good note so that you carry on to the next year,” he said. “We’re going to play one of the top teams in the league. …We have everything to play for – a lot of pride is at stake.”
Shane Evans covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. You can reach Shane for comments on his Twitter account: @shanEvans.