By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the most part, it has been a very frustrating season for the Philadelphia Union.READ MORE: 'There's A Lot Of Ghosts In Here': CBS3 Spends Evening In Believed-To-Be Haunted Neshaminy Creekside Inn
On Saturday they couldn’t hold a 1-0 second-half lead and eventually fell at home to the expansion New York City FC, 2-1.
That dropped the Union to 4-9-3 and it also tarnished what had been the first run of consistently strong play this season, as Philadelphia had won 3 of 4 coming into that match.
That stretch started with a 1-0 win over a strong DC United squad, a match that the Union won on May 17th on a goal by 20-year-old midfielder Zach Pfeffer in second-half stoppage time. It was probably the highest profile of a growing number of highlights for the first Homegrown player in Union history, whose development has been a real positive in this up and down campaign.
“I’m feeling very confident,” Pfeffer tells KYW Newsradio. “Very happy with my development so far, especially this year. Things have finally started to turn a bit, I’m fully in the rotation now, getting minutes every game and it’s very positive, very good for my confidence. I just want to keep it going. I have to continue to work hard because nothing is ever a given. I have to keep proving myself every time I step on the field.”
Listen to the entire interview with the Union’s Zach PfefferREAD MORE: 16-Year-Old Ahjaon Jackson Shot, Killed While Coming Home From Work With Twin Sister, Philadelphia Police Say
Pfeffer was signed as by the Union at the age of 15 back in 2010, and the Upper Dublin High School product and FC Delco alum is enjoying this ride with his hometown team.
“It’s amazing,” Pfeffer says. “It’s all I want to do, it’s a dream come true. My family and my friends are here every single game. So this is where I want to be. I’m extremely happy.”
Pfeffer has played in 13 of the Union’s 16 MLS matches here in 2015. He has made five starts this season, but as of late he has settled into a role as a key reserve. Last time out, in the loss to NYCFC, he provided instant energy off the bench, finishing with three shots, including one on goal, in 21 minutes of action. He talks about finding his pace coming off the bench.
“You have to monitor yourself,” Pfeffer says. “You have to really throughout the game decide when to crank it up, when to hold back a little bit and just monitor the game. That’s part of being a true professional. Knowing when the time to go is, when the time to hold back is. So that’s all part of the learning process. If you’re starting it’s a bit different, if you’re coming off the bench you have to learn, it is definitely different. But I think I’ve done well with it so far. I’m continuously learning, never satisfied and just going to keep it going.”
Pfeffer and the Union do not return to MLS action until June 20th when they visit the LA Galaxy.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Community Still Wants 'Real Justice' For Walter Wallace Jr. A Year After Fatal Police Shooting
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.