Two months have passed, but the memory remains quite strong.
On June 16, the Philadelphia Union dominated in virtually every aspect against D.C. United at PPL Park. In the end, the Union fell 1-0 in interim manager John Hackworth’s debut.
Even though so much has transpired over the past two months, including Thursday’s trade with D.C. United exchanging Lionard Pajoy for Danny Cruz, that result still bothers the Union.
“When you have that feeling that we had, the feeling that D.C. stole three points from us, we want to go and make sure we give them a taste of their own medicine,” Hackworth said. “I’m sure it will make the bulletin board in the D.C. United locker room. You don’t like that feeling of losing or getting a result that you feel is unjust, so you use it to motivate you and your team.”
The Union (7-12-2) will be trying to snap a two-match losing streak against D.C. United (11-8-3) Sunday’s rematch at RFK Stadium. Philadelphia is 13 points behind D.C. United for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
For the Union, their complete focus is simply on earning three big points on the road.
Philadelphia’s last two results – 2-0 at Montreal and 3-1 against Chicago – have been less than satisfying.
The return of defender Carlos Valdes and midfielder Gabriel Gomez from international duty should help, along with the return of forward Jack McInerney, who missed last Sunday’s game because of a red card.
“You plan your weeks out based off what happened in the last game, what you need to work on and how you need to prepare for your next opponent,” Hackworth said. “The fact that we didn’t do a good job putting the ball on frame, that’s certainly been an emphasis for us and we’ll continue to work on it.”
The players plan on working like crazy to turn this season around. And that work continues with this match against D.C. United.
“The last time we played them, we felt like we played really well and came away unlucky,” said midfielder Brian Carroll. “That can happen in this league. You can play really well and lose. I think that happened last time. I expect us to go down there, give a great effort and keep fighting.
“This team is going to keep fighting. We don’t have any margin for error. All we can do is play as hard as possible and execute what we’re trying to do.”