MO vs. Houston
Greg Carroccio

Match preview: Union out for three points in third meeting of MLS season against Dynamo

Houston Dynamo at Philadelphia Union

What: Major League Soccer regular season match

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.; Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pa. Ticketspurchase tickets 

TV: The Comcast Network featuring play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Peter Pappas

Radio: None; Online: Streaming video via MLS Live; Social: Follow the action via Twitter: @TheUMatchday

Parking: $20 at all PPL Park approved lots; Mass transit: Shuttle service to and from Chester Transportation Center

Game notes (PDF): Click here

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In the immediate aftermath of their gut-wrenching 3-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC in the U.S. Open Cup title match Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Union players were noticeably down.

How could they not be frustrated after putting so much effort into that match?

But there’s another huge match looming Saturday night when the Houston Dynamo visit PPL Park (7 p.m., purchase tickets).

Since interim manager Jim Curtin took over, he has repeatedly said every match has been like a playoff match.

This will be no different.

The Union (9-9-10, 37 points) are tied for the fifth and final playoff spot with the Columbus Crew (9-9-10, 37 points) in the Eastern Conference standings. They trail the New York Red Bulls by one point and the third-place New England Revolution by five points.

With six league matches remaining, every one will be gargantuan.

“We’ve been preparing for every game the same way,” said defender Ray Gaddis. “We have a plan and our job is to go out and execute that plan. We’re a confident team and we believe in each other. We are very confident going down the stretch of the regular season here.”

Despite the loss to the Sounders, that confidence is still prevalent.

“We have to move on,” said Sebastien Le Toux. “We have the day off (Wednesday), so it will be up to us to kind up pick our heads up and be ready to come back on Wednesday ready for Houston because we’re in a playoff race and we want to be in the playoffs. It’s an objective for this team and we are six games away from that. And we have to win at home and it’s a home game. So we have to get our bodies fixed and make sure we are ready to play.”

The Dynamo (9-13-5, 32 points) have yet to locate their full form this season, but they’re still a very dangerous club.

They’ve scored eight goals in their last three matches with three victories and one draw in their last five. Over their past eight matches, they’ve come up with 14 points.

This isn’t the same club which went winless in eight straight matches earlier this season.

“There are just so many different scenarios it’s hard to dictate the spirit of the team, you just never know,” Dynamo defender Kofi Sarkodie told HoustonDynamo.com. “They’re (Union) in a position where they feel like they might be able to sneak in and get to the playoffs and we’re also fighting to get to that same spot. It’s going to be a tight match no doubt, probably very physical.”

The Union are hoping to earn their second playoff berth in the five-year history of the franchise. They know how big this match – and every match from here on out – is to their postseason hopes.

“Sure, we want to get to the playoffs, but we really have to take it one at a time,” Le Toux said. “We have to put everything into one match and then go get ready for the next one. We can’t look down the road. We have to be focused. If we do that, we’ll get results. We’re confident and we believe good results are coming our way.”

What do you hope to see out of the Union against Houston? Leave a comment below.

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com


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