Reporting Matt Leon
CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) - It’s the final regular season home match for the Philadelphia Union as they host Toronto FC on Saturday.
Philadelphia is on the brink of its first-ever playoff berth, and it could happen this weekend with a win — or, if the cards fall correctly, even without a victory.
The Union pace the MLS Eastern Conference with 47 points.
This is the second meeting between these two teams this season, and the first one was a romp for the Union. They traveled north of the border to hammer Toronto, 6-2.
Union defender Danny Califf says it is critical they are sharp in this rematch.
“This is probably one of the most pivotal games for us, mentally, certainly in this season. Coming off a really good, big win against Seattle (2-0 on October 8th), a really quality team on the road. Such an emotional high and then coming home against a team that’s not qualified for the playoffs who we beat pretty well last time we played (in Toronto). There’s a lot of things mentally conspiring for a letdown, and I think its going to be really important for us to go out with a mentality that this is essentially a playoff game.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Danny Califf in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Philadelphia is on a seven-match unbeaten streak, which was borne out of an eight-match winless run. What has changed over the last couple of months?
“I think the big thing is, we haven’t been giving up soft goals,” Califf tells KYW Newsradio. “Through that stretch where we were having trouble, mid-summer, we just were making some individual mistakes, giving teams easy ways into the game and making it a lot harder on ourselves to get results. We were tying games we should have won, and we lost a couple games that we should’ve tied.”
More good news for the Union: it looks like goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon could be ready to return from that broken ring finger. Rookie back-up Zac MacMath more than held down the fort in his absence, however, going 3-0-4 in his seven starts.
First kick is set for 4:00pm Saturday in Chester.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060