With a point taken from a 0-0 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night, the Union continued to show their improved fortitude away from the friendly confines of PPL Park.
After earning just three positive road results in all of 2010 (2-12-1), the Union have now secured four in their last five attempts (1-1-3).
If Peter Nowak's side can earn the full three points on Sunday in New England, the three-match road trip would have to be considered a successful one.
The trade that sent starting left back Jordan Harvey to Vancouver for allocation money, along with the absence of center back Carlos Valdes (illness) and forwards Carlos Ruiz (rest) and Veljko Paunovic (strained left hip), left Philadelphia shorthanded going into the San Jose match.
But thanks to a strong defensive effort from a makeshift back line, the Union were able to swipe a point from their Western Conference counterparts.
“We’ve worked so hard in training on [shorthanded] situations like that, so we come to the games and we’re prepared for it,” holding midfielder Brian Carroll said after the match. “Everyone, front to back, worked really hard for one another, and over the course of the game we were able to keep them from being dangerous.”
If the Union can continue to grind out results on the road — to go along with an undefeated home record — they'll be in good shape to win the Eastern Conference.
Against San Jose, Philadelphia were in control for the vast majority of the 90 minutes.
Even without half of their starting defense from the previous match in D.C., the Union kept San Jose's main scoring threats in check, allowing only two shots on target. Although the 'Quakes came on strong toward the end of the match, the Union held it together and were able to secure a point to force a tie atop the Eastern Conference with the New York Red Bulls.
“They started throwing numbers forward and balls into the box would squirt out for corner kicks,” Carroll said. “It’s always a scramble towards the end of the game, but we stood strong and got it out of there so we were able to walk away with a point.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Union had a number of opportunities to break open the scoring.
Second-year striker Danny Mwanga had several of his own and knows he and his teammates must do a better job putting the ball in the back of the net.
“I thought [the offense] was good,” said Mwanga. “There’s still room for improvement, like finishing our chances. I was not the only one who had a couple chances. We need to finish better.”
Finishing issues aside, the Union have learned how to scrap and claw their way to away points.
On Sunday, they'll get another shot to secure their third road win of the season and first three-match road unbeaten streak in club history.
WATCH: Full match highlights