Philadelphia Union (2-6-5, 11 points) at Los Angeles Galaxy (3-3-3, 12 points)
When: Sunday, 8 p.m.; Where: StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.
TV (local): Comcast SportsNet featuring play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Peter Pappas
TV (national): Spanish broadcast provided by Univision Deportes Network
Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth is aware of the task looming ahead.
It’s rather daunting. But it’s also reality.
The Union (2-6-5, 11 points) followed a riveting 2-1 win at defending champion Sporting Kansas City with a frustrating 5-3 loss to the New England Revolution at PPL Park.
There are only three regular season matches remaining before the World Cup break, beginning Sunday at the Los Angeles Galaxy and continuing with a visit to Chivas USA on May 31. Vancouver Whitecaps FC will then visit the Union June 7.
First comes the important West Coast trip.
“We take this as an opportunity,” Hackworth said at his weekly press conference Wednesday. “You’ve got two games on the West Coast. When you’re planning these things out, it’s much easier to have two flights rather than four. You’d lose two days of travel if you came back and forth. So it makes sense to stay out there during this time, especially playing on a Sunday then the following Saturday. I think it’s good that our guys are going to be together full time. That’s important because I think when you’re in these moments where things are not going your way, you’ve got to stick together and you’ve got to fight through it, so we’ll try to do that.
“But we still are playing the [Los Angeles] Galaxy on Sunday, which is a huge challenge and a game that we feel like we need to get a result in.”
Hackworth liked what he saw from the win at Sporting Kansas City and from other matches earlier season, even if the Union didn’t generate three points.
Moving forward, the Union are remaining positive.
“I think we have to look at the positives from our Kansas City game,” Hackworth said. “I think we also have to look at all the positives from the games early in the year where we played really good soccer and had mistakes here or there. We continue to think that we are a good soccer team. The results are not showing that right now, so we have to go out there and make sure we do everything possible, maybe adjust some things tactically to give ourselves a better chance to be successful in those games. Saturday, for me, was not a really good indication because I think that game could’ve been much different. You have to give New England credit. We did not play very well in some moments, but I think that game could’ve been different in a lot of ways.
“We’ve just got to go back to it, believe in ourselves and see if we can get results. Honestly, this two-game road swing on the West Coast is not an ideal time to say that you have to get results, but that’s in fact where we are. We have to do that.”
The players remain very confident. The same goes for the technical staff.
It’s natural to be unhappy when things seem to be going against you.
The goal for the Union is to keep churning out good days. They believe points will come.
“It’s not one of happiness, I’ll tell you that,” Hackworth said of the mood in the locker room. “But I do think that overall the players still have a belief in themselves and a belief in each other. The teams I’ve been around where you get into this kind of situation with these results, it’s easy to start pointing fingers, to start having little incidents arise in training and things like that. We haven’t seen that. We still have a group of guys working hard and doing the same things that we’ve been doing since day one, and that’s all really positive. I think we’re as a team, we want to put Saturday behind us and we’re looking forward to this Sunday to hopefully rectify that situation.”
What do you think of the Union's West Coast trip? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org