Goal fest in Philly? Hackworth wants to "play the right way"

John Hackworth PHIvNE

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

CHESTER, Pa. — Since coming into the league, the Philadelphia Union have never lost to the New England Revolution, scoring 10 goals against them in four games, including an epic 4-4 draw last September in which Philly erased a three-goal deficit.

Could we see another game like that Sunday when the two teams square off at PPL Park (7 pm ET, NBCSN, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com)?

“It was an amazing game, and I’m sure it will be an amazing game this time as well,” Union midfielder Freddy Adu told MLSsoccer.com. “I think we match up pretty well against them. I feel like every time we play against them there are always a lot of goals scored.”

Union interim manager John Hackworth (above), however, tried to downplay his team’s goal-scoring success against New England, saying that “it’s hard to compare the New England teams of the past to this one” now that first-year Revs coach Jay Heaps is in charge. He also isn’t sure his team can duplicate the same kind of drama they created the last time they played New England at PPL Park.

“I’m not expecting a three-goal comeback,” Hackworth said. “One thing I don’t think we’ve done as a team this year is come back from down a goal. Hopefully we don’t have to do it on Sunday. But because both teams are trying to play soccer the right way, you may see some goals on Sunday.”

What will probably benefit the Union most is that Sunday’s game will mark eight days since their last outing, a 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls. It marks the first time in a month the Union have had that much time between games.

Of course, there were plenty of things going on this week with PPL Park hosting the AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday with Union players Carlos Valdés and Michael Farfan making appearances. But Hackworth believes his team handled it all well and that they look ready to go in their first game after the All-Star break.

“Full credit to the guys in the locker room because their focus has been really good all week long,” Hackworth said. “The All-Star Game could have been a big distraction in a lot of ways but it wasn’t. I’m surprised at how well the players have dealt with everything and have stayed focused.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.