Union determined not to leave home points on the table
CHESTER, Pa. – It’s never easy for teams to play three games in one week. But despite dealing with such a rough stretch, the Philadelphia Union know they are leaving easy points on the table.
After going 0-1-1 against two last-place teams – the Vancouver Whitecaps and Sporting Kansas City – in the past week, the Union look to snap their winless skid with a victory over another team toward the bottom of the standings, Chivas USA.
The Union (6-4-5) meet Chivas (4-5-6) on Saturday at PPL Park (8:00 pm ET, MatchDay Live).
“No team is just going to roll over [for] you,” Philly fullback Sheanon Williams said. “But we’ll be at home again and looking for three points. That’s going to be our goal for Saturday.”
The Union still have not lost at PPL Park, where they own a 4-0-4 record. But their last two home games ended in disappointing draws and, home or away, the Union have not come out on the winning end since May 28.
“When we’re at home, we want to get three points no matter who the opponent is,” Union central defender Danny Califf said. “We’ve done a pretty good job on the road with that mentality as well. The team doesn’t matter at this point. We need to score some goals and keep doing what we’ve been doing on the defensive side of the ball.”
Led by Califf, Williams, Carlos Valdés and Jordan Harvey, the Union’s defense has indeed been stingy. Philly earned their fifth clean sheet of the season against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, and are tied for second in the league in goals given up with 11.
But the Union’s offense has been held in check of late, only scoring twice in the past four games.
“We’re getting close,” Califf said. “We just need to fine-tune a few things and get some things clicking when we reach the final third. I feel like sometimes we hit the panic button around the box, so sometimes the polish on our final pass isn’t there. But it’s just one of those things that hopefully gets ironed out sooner rather than later.”
Union manager Peter Nowak said he was proud of how his team played in a midweek game after a long road trip to Vancouver, and believes the goals will start to come.
“I think we pushed the game to the limit and tried to find the right formula to score goals,” Nowak said. “I think we held our own pretty good after a long weekend and we’re looking forward to another game around the corner on Saturday.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.