Philadelphia wraps up its Western Conference schedule with a Sunday night road game in San Jose.
Most teams don't normally look forward to these trips, but the 2013 Union has played incredibly well against the west this season. In eight cross-conference games the Union has compiled 3 wins, 4 draws, and just 1 loss.
It's the team's best mark against the Western Conference since joining Major League Soccer.
Still, San Jose owns the series edge with a 3-1-1 record. Philadelphia's lone win against the Earthquakes was a gritty 1-0 shutout back in 2011. All-time, the Union are 0-1-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium with the most recent trip coming more than two years ago.
1. July 10, 2010: San Jose 2, Philadelphia 1 (PPL Park)
Goals: Fred 14', Glen 45', Alvarez 90'
The first meeting between the teams was actually a great game marred by a rough ending.
The Union started well enough through two unlikely sources – Danny Mwanga playing provider and Fred scoring the goal.
The Brazilian midfielder used his pace to get behind the Earthquakes defense and poked the game-opening goal past Jon Busch. Mwanga's flick was spot-on, taken directly off a Chris' Seitz goal-kick.
Both teams struck the post later in the half and San Jose was able to equalize on a Cornell Glen tap-in which was set up by Chris Wondolowski down the right channel.
The second half was where it went downhill.
Philadelphia was all over the Earthquakes at this point, throwing numbers forward in search of the equalizer. Busch played an incredible second half, twice stoning Mwanga and twice stoning Le Toux from inside the box in a span of 30 minutes.
Eventually the Union's aggression would be its undoing. San Jose ran a stoppage time counter attack following a set piece turnover and found the stunning game-winner through Arturo Alvarez.
2. September 15, 2010: San Jose 1, Philadelphia 0 (Buck Shaw Stadium)
Goals: Wondolowski 69'
The first-year Union was 2-0-1 in three straight games coming into this one.
Again it was Busch who frustrated the Union, stopping good efforts from Fred and Andrew Jacobson inside the first 35 minutes of the game. Philadelphia had the better looks throughout the first half of play.
Alvarez was the culprit for a second straight game, this time providing the game-winning assist. Collecting a cross on the far side of the field, his service back into the box was headed home by an unmarked Chris Wondolowski.
Busch came up with yet another save in stoppage time and the Union's three-game unbeaten streak was snapped.
3. April 30, 2011 – Philadelphia 1, San Jose 0 (PPL Park)
Goals: Le Toux 76' (PK)
The first place Union were looking to make it four wins out of six games to begin the season.
They'd get the job done in typical 2011 fashion – ugly, effective offense and staunch defending.
Jordan Harvey's 40th minute red card was uncharacteristic of his time in Philadelphia. Tangling with Chris Leitch on a 50/50 ball, the referee ruled that the fullback stomped on Leitch while he on the ground. Harvey protested the call, which didn't look malicious from the camera angles provided on the replay.
Still, the 10-man Union found the result.
Amobi Okugo's stong run and endline cross was ruled to have struck Jason Hernandez' hand inside the box and Sebastien Le Toux converted the game-winning penalty kick in the 76th minute.
4. July 9, 2011: Philadelphia 0, San Jose 0 (Buck Shaw Stadium)
There were some good chances in this game and both teams struck the post on separate occasions.
But the play of Busch and Faryd Mondragon in net was the highlight of this game and both goalkeepers went home with deserved clean sheets.
5. April 28, 2012: San Jose 2, Philadelphia 1 (PPL Park)
Goals: Lenhart 76', 90', Gomez 83'
Manager John Hackworth famously referred to Steven Lenhart as a "Union-killer" following this one.
San Jose's big target forward scored his second brace at PPL Park – with his second team (the other one was with Columbus).
Zac MacMath was busy in the first half and made two reflex stops on midfielder Khari Stephenson. The struggling Union couldn't come up with a decent look in the first 45.
Lenhart's first goal came in the 76th minute, but the catalyst was second-half sub Marvin Chavez.
Pivoting inside the box, the Honduras international played a pinpoint cross for Lenhart to slam home at point blank range.
But the Union equalized just seven minutes later with some scrappy box play. Collecting a loose ball, Sheanon Williams' lofted cross was won by Danny Mwanga, who laid-off for Gabriel Gomez. The Union midfielder blasted a right footed shot into the corner and the game was tied.
But just like the first San Jose game at PPL Park in 2010, this game had another goal in it. Working 1v2 in the corner, Chavez found himself space and played another ball into the box for Lenhart to bash home.
San Jose would win 2-1 and go on to claim the 2012 Supporter's Shield.
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org