Huddle against Houston
Greg Carroccio

Converting frustration into motivational fuel the mindset as Union battle tough MLS stretch

Starting the 2014 season at 1-3-5 (eight points) is far from what the Philadelphia Union expected.

But there’s such a long way to go. And in the marathon Major League Soccer season, a club can turn itself around very quickly.

It’s just a matter of putting it all together.

That’s what the Union face as they prepare to play their 10th match, a showdown on Saturday night at Seattle Sounders FC (10 p.m., The Comcast Network).

“We’re not getting the results that we want and it’s unacceptable to all of us,” Union manager John Hackworth said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “I can’t emphasize enough that for the players and coaches, that is first and foremost on our minds. At the same time, we continue to play at a level that we all believe if we do it that shots are going to start to fall for us, the ball is going to start to bounce our way.

“There will be some luck that’ll come with it and that we’ll see a turn in these results. That hasn’t happened for us and we are all frustrated by that. We’re still very much of the mindset that we have done a lot of good things and we just got to grind away and keep going after it.”

The Union have managed just nine goals in the nine matches though they’ve had a far greater number of opportunities to score.

At times, the offense has executed quite well. The same goes for the defenders and goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

For the Union to succeed, they need all aspects to mesh for 90 minutes.

The technical staff knows it. The players know it.

“The players have responded well,” Hackworth said. “They’re all frustrated. They all know that to each one of them they are capable of making the play when called upon. But reality is that we haven’t had guys make that play. And they all take responsibility for that, but I think there is a belief within that locker room that they do have the capability to do it. So I think the response from them while being frustrated and looking very deep inside themselves and how we do things and what we do. There’s still a confidence that those guys are capable of doing, making that final play, pulling off the final execution that were all looking for right now.”

Hackworth continues to remain confident in his club, especially if they keep putting in the daily work like they have all season.

“I have to be held accountable for that, no matter what,” Hackworth said. “The players that are out there are putting everything forward. The way we have tried to play this year and execute in many different facets of the game again has been good. Our belief is that it will change and we will see some results start to fall our way. We feel unlucky up to this point that we are not in a much better spot. Then I think we would be having a much different conversation. The reality is that this game can be cruel sometimes you can absolutely dominate and not get the result you wanted.

“We have had that so many times this year, sure the pressure is there. But we want to focus on the way we do things and how were trying to play and continue that because we’re establishing a bit of a reputation for how we are doing things and those are the hard parts to the game of soccer a lot of times. There’s got to be a balance to it and I’ll take responsibility for that overall. The players and our staff, everyone should know we are doing everything possible to try to rectify that situation.”

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at


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