Even with a tough stretch ahead, the Union (1-2-5, eight points) remain quite confident.
The Union travel to Stade Saputo Saturday to face the Montreal Impact (4 p.m., watch on The Comcast Network) with a trip looming a week later to Seattle (10 p.m., TCN) to meet Sounders FC.
“This is a tough league on every level,” Union manager John Hackworth said at his weekly press conference on Wednesday. “If there’s a year that I think is similar to this year, it would be 2011 where there was a lot of draws. And you’re seeing that happen so far in 2014. Again, we go back to the fact that maybe you’re not going to meet some of your goals in terms of wins, but you have to keep grinding it out and believe in what you’re doing because it might not be the point total you think would get you into a playoff position and the right to contend for a championship.
Things change, and right now, it looks that way in this league. Really tough. But we feel good that if we keep doing the same thing, these results are going to start going our way.”
The Union have struggled to get results in Montreal and it’s a topic Hackworth has addressed with his club.
“They’ve been a good team, and us going up there where we’ve had games where we’ve played well but we haven’t finished them,” Hackworth said. “And therefore, we’ve walked out of that building on several occasions questioning ourselves and how we didn’t get the result there. Clearly this weekend’s game is really important for us and really important for Montreal. We think that we have to change that. We have to go there and be very confident about getting a result, continue the way we’ve been playing but we have to do a better job executing in front of goal for sure.”
The Union have scored nine goals in their eight matches.
Philadelphia also traded Jack McInerney to Montreal for Andrew Wenger, so that will be an interesting subplot to watch during Saturday’s match.
Like every week, the Union continue to train extremely hard with an understanding that goals will come.
“All we can do is continue to train and do a lot of reps and train on those specific areas, both in how we attack the goal area and execute in front of it,” Hackworth said. “There’s different aspects where we feel we did a good job in past games, and clearly if we look back to Saturday, we didn’t execute those moments. Some of them, we didn’t even get opportunities in terms of shots or shots on goal, but had some relay good plays there. We’re trying to make sure our guys know we want them to take those opportunities, then it comes down to execution. We’re trying to put numbers in dangerous spots and have good reactions to anything that happens in the box. When you look back at the game Saturday, we were really unlucky not to have scored a goal or two.”
In these first eight matches, the Union could easily have compiled more points. In a marathon season, things tend to even out.
“Obviously, we are not happy with where we are in the standings right now,” Hackworth said. “We legitimately feel as though we should’ve won five of our eight games for sure at a minimum. However, you can’t take away your opponents and the game of soccer itself is just not that predictable in terms of where you play well and you get opportunities. That’s why it’s sometimes so amazing and frustrating and why people are so passionate about it. What I will say though is that within our team, we’re very confident about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. And my experiences as a coach is that the more you continue to play that way, the chances will turn. The tide will turn and we will see the results start to come our way.”
What are you expectations for this weekend's match in Montreal? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com