Union Ready For Key Match-Up With Houston
By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The MLS regular season is turning the corner for home and the Philadelphia Union continue to sit right in the middle of the playoff race.
With six matches left, Philadelphia is fourth in the Eastern Conference with 39 points. The top five teams make the playoffs. Philadelphia is still eyeing the post-season despite struggling to find the back of the net as of late. They have totaled just one in the last four matches. However, they have still managed to pick up a couple of points during that stretch, thanks to scoreless draws against New York and Montreal. Last time out on Sunday, they lost, 1-0, at San Jose.
“Obviously we had a little bit of a hiccup over the weekend,” Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath tells KYW Newsradio. “But the team is still very high on confidence and we know this weekend’s a big game for us and it’s going to make a big difference in the playoff race.”
Houston comes to town needing three points after getting blasted last time out by New York, at home, 4-1. They are two points behind the Union in the standings, tied with New England. Each team has 37 points.
“They are a team that has been in the playoffs the last two years and have made two runs into the MLS Cup,” MacMath says. “They’ve got a lot of veteran experience and a lot of dangerous players offensively. So we’ve just got to keep track of their players and shut them down defensively.”
These teams met in Houston back on July 6th, the Dynamo grabbing a 1-0 decision.
MacMath says the current offensive struggles for the Union don’t change anything for him.
“You try to take the same mental aspect into every game, regardless of (whether) the team is in a little bit of a scoring rut or not,” MacMath says. “Our job is to give our team a chance to win and I think defensively we’ve done a pretty good job of that this season.”
Last year at this time, Philadelphia was playing out the string while still adjusting to the mid-season change of team manager from Peter Novak to John Hackworth, so MacMath is much happier with their position this season.
“It’s great,” MacMath says. “We still wish that we were farther up the table, but we’re a lot better than we were last year. It’s a lot more enjoyable, especially this late in the year, knowing that we’ve got a lot to work for and a lot to play for, knowing that the playoffs are right around the corner.”
Philadelphia and Houston will get underway at 7:30pm on Saturday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.