Union, Manager John Hackworth have up and down week

Leo Fernandes is becoming a valuable part of the Union in his second MLS season. Credit: Getty Images Leo Fernandes is becoming a valuable part of the Union in his second MLS season. Credit: Getty Images

Union players rallied together this past week and saved their manager John Hackworth’s job — for now.

They came away with a 2-1 victory over defending champion Sporting KC (5-2-4) last Wednesday on the road while playing without two starters, Maurice Edu and Brian Carroll.

Danny Cruz found the back of the net to start the second half and players immediately swarmed Hackworth with a strong embrace to show how much he means to this team and organization.

“We’re behind him and he knows we are behind him,” Cruz said of his manager postgame. “We just wanted to show to the media and to the fans that tonight was big for not just us, but for [Hackworth] and I think you could see the fight in everybody tonight for that big reason.”

The feeling of jubilation was short lived however as the Union (2-6-5) were dismantled on Saturday, falling 5-3 at home to the New England Revolution.

The week still wound up a positive one for the Union, who’d been struggling offensively for the past month. They netted five goals in the past two matches, when they were only able to muster two in the previous five.

Playing three matches in seven days will wear on any team, especially facing a team as good as the Revolution (6-3-2).

“We are unhappy and everyone is frustrated, but three games in seven days is extremely tough, bodies are tired,” said Cruz. “That’s not an excuse, it’s just the reality.”

The Union head to Los Angeles next to face the Galaxy (2-3-3) on Sunday. The game will air at 8 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

Union to face EPL’s Crystal Palace:

On Monday, the Union announced they’ll be facing English Premier League’s Crystal Palace in a friendly match on July 25th at PPL Park.

“We are looking forward to hosting a great team and organization this summer,” said Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz. “Crystal Palace will be our fifth English Premier League team to play the Philadelphia Union, and we are delighted we can bring them to PPL Park. I know the fans will see an interesting and exciting international exhibition.”

Palace finished the 2013-2014 campaign with a 13-6-19 record and an 11th-place finish.

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