As the scene shifts back to PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union are intent on making a concentrated effort to protect their home field in the final two matches.
In their last home match, the Union came away with a resounding 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
In their next home match, Saturday night against the New England Revolution (7 p.m., Comcast SportsNet), the Union hope to repeat the feat and keep momentum going. The last home match of the season will be Oct. 27 against the New York Red Bulls.
In 2013, the Union are fully aware that they must build a winning foundation at home. That’s vital for any club with playoff aspirations.
“It’s certainly really important to us,” manager John Hackworth said. “We only have (two) home games left and we want to make sure we play and perform at the level we’ve been playing at. At the same time, we want the result. We know this fan base is extremely passionate and they deserve it. We feel playing at PPL is a huge advantage for us and we are focusing on taking advantage of that on Saturday.”
Philadelphia made some big strides in its last two matches on the road – a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at Columbus and a 3-1 win at Chicago two nights ago.
There isn’t much time to regenerate for this match against the Revolution.
“The only part that’s tough is that it’s such a quick turnaround,” Hackworth said in the aftermath of the two-goal victory over the Fire. “This will be our third game in eight days. It’s always really tough to manage. Coming off our last two games, we have a deep roster, and it might be a good opportunity to just like (Wednesday) was, for some guys to step up and get an opportunity to play and show the fans and other people what they don’t know. “
This much is known: the Union are 3-0-3 all-time against New England. The Union are 1-0-1 this season.
This much is also known: The Union are facing a New England side with a 1-12-2 road record.
Forget the records because both clubs are banged up.
New England will be without injured players such as Saer Sene and Lee Nguyen. This duo is out for the season and the club is out a combined 16 goals and five assists.
The Union will most likely be without midfielder Danny Cruz, who injured his right toe against Chicago.
Also questionable are left back Gabriel Farfan (ankle contusion/hamstring strain) and midfielder Freddy Adu (right quad strain). Neither player was active for the match against the Fire. And Sheanon Williams a vital cog in the Union's defensive back four, will miss this match due to yellow card accumulation.
No matter which players are healthy on both sides, Hackworth expects a battle.
“I think New England is a good team and every time we play them it’s been tough,” Hackworth said. “They are dealing with things similar to how we are. I think it can make for an interesting contest.”
Contact writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org