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Philadelphia Union on another level playing in front of home fans

Orlando City was just the latest victim at Subaru Park

MLS: Orlando City SC at Philadelphia Union Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union clinched a home playoff game for the upcoming MLS Cup Playoffs last night, guaranteeing a battle in a place no opposing team wants to play.

For as good as the Union have been all season, currently sitting atop the Eastern Conference with a 10 point lead over Montreal, they have been on a different level in front of their home fans.

The side are still yet to be beaten at Subaru Park, and the contests haven’t even been close in recent months. They have won their last eight at home, dismantling teams in the process. 7-0 over D.C, 2-1 over New England, 6-0 over Houston, 4-1 over Chicago, 6-0 over Colorado, 4-1 over Atlanta, and now last night’s 5-1 victory against Orlando. This isn’t just a team content to win at home, they want to leave no doubts until the final whistle.

“Especially at home we play really good games,” commented midfielder and MVP candidate Daniel Gazdag. “We don’t stop after two or three goals. We try to score as many as we can, and I think that is a good mentality. We have to do it like this all season.”

Gazdag has been the leader of that mentality all season, adding his team leading 19th goal in the 55th minute. At one point of the season, the bland stretch where it seemed like the Union could only draw games, it seemed as though it was just Gazdag alone. Now, as he says, it’s the whole team, Mikael Uhre, captain Alejandro Bedoya, and Jack Elliott all adding to the goal total.

They attack as a team, and more importantly, it is an 11 man effort on the defensive side of the ball as well. Currently the Union lead the league in goals allowed with 22, on pace for the second least allowed in an MLS season.

“To not concede goals is obviously the name of the game and it’s something that makes me proud. I think defense is still our foundation as a group. We score a lot of goals, but I still think we score those goals because of the team defending,”

The Union are working cohesively as an 11-man unit, to turn great defensive into goals in the back of the net.

“First goal comes because Julian back pressures, 60 yards, pokes a ball away leads to a chance, you know, the other one, we had Daniel Gazdag working back to track back and make up the defensive play that leads to our offense.”

Philadelphia travels to Atlanta Saturday with three matches remaining before the playoffs, looking to lock up that first seed in the Eastern Conference.