Rested Union Look To Make Up Ground Against Last Place Toronto.
9/12/2012 - Philadelphia - Soccer is a sport that’s all about finishing. Finishing chances, halfs, matches and even seasons. This Saturday, the last place Toronto FC (5-17-6) will host the Union at BMO Field. This will be the first match for the Union (7-13-5) in over 2 weeks, when they played the New England Revolution to a scoreless draw in Foxboro, Ma two Saturdays ago.
Friday, interim club manager John Hackworth spoke to the press about the break saying, "This break is actually good for us because we can train and we can improve on little things" One of those little things being the play of his goal-scorer’s. He noted that finishing strong was a priority, and how he was creating that environment "...we've tried to make sure that guys come into this week with the mentality that they want to do better." On all sides of the ball for the young squad, finishing has been an issue this year.
With the extra rest the Union have a unique opportunity to reflect and work on some the many issues that has plagued this rocky season. Including maximizing this final nine game stretch to end the year strong and on a positive note. In the position they are it’s currently all about building towards next season, since they're not looking on to the MLS Cup playoffs. One thing as of late I’ve noticed and heard a lot from readers, ist this squads difficulty in creating quality scoring opportunities and enough of them. In their last six games they have only scored three times. They rank 18th in the MLS in goals scored with 25, only between last and Chivas USA with 21.
From one end to the other, in August on route to a 0-3-2 month the Philadelphia final third allowed eight goals scored in five matches. Along with all star’s C. Valdez and (D/M) S. Williams, keeper second year Zac MacMath has clearly had some tough outings. For the 21 year old from St. Petersburg, Fl who started seven games last year while going 3-0-4. This year he started the season with the highest expectation from fans, but he’s 7-12-4 in starts and 28 goals allowed.
Also during the break. Four Union club members are returning to the club from International duties back home. Wednesday, MF Z. Pfefer had the first goal against against The Netherlands, along with GK Z. Steffen in a U-18 U.S.M.N.T. assignment. G. Gomez joined his fellow Panamanians last week for two CONCACAF W.C. Qualification matches against Canada. After two wins Panama leads their group. Team Captain Carlos Valdes was also called to international duty. He started Friday night in his native Columbia as they took routed Chile 4-0 in CONMEBOL W.C.Q. He dressed, but did not play for the second half of the double-header in Santiago.
The Union start their homestretch with 25 games played, and to test their ability to finish they will face the top five eastern teams. Including the Houston Dynamo twice, it will be a tough test to help gauge the legacy of this season, while looking on to the next. Admitting the MLS Cup playoffs are "currently out of the picture" John Hackworth knows now nothing is more important than a strong finish.
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