Union playing confidently with MLS playoffs in sight

C.J. Sapong Philadelphia Union MLS
Philadelphia Union striker C.J. Sapong, left. (Photo: Getty Images)

It seems like every season, the Union (12-11-3) find themselves in late-season position for the postseason. Usually, they’re playing the role of the spot chasers, but this season is different.

With just nine matches left in the regular season, the Union stand in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 39 points. They’re 10 points ahead of seventh place New England Revolution (7-10-8), who would need to surpass them in points to knock them out of playoff position.

They’re looking to notch just their third playoff season in franchise history.

“We had a tough stretch in the beginning of the year, but we believed in ourselves and stuck to what we believed in,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “Now you’re starting to see the work come out on the field. … It feels like every game that we play now is the biggest game of the season. We’ve played five games in a row now where each one had consequences to it and our guys really executed and the players deserve all the credit.”

The Union have now won four-straight matches following their 2-0 win over D.C. United on Wednesday night. The Union also tied a franchise record by getting that 12th win, which they achieved back in 2013.

“We’ve been confident in ourselves,” Union striker C.J. Sapong said. “We’ve felt like we’ve had more to give throughout the season, but the ball didn’t roll our way. Now things are clicking and we know that we’re going to get on the field and be fitter and we’re going to be able to keep the ball against teams.”

“That confidence before the game even starts definitely translates into the games. … Moving forward it’s definitely something we can build on.”

Sapong notched just his fourth goal of the season in Wednesday night’s win. He led the club with 16 goals last season.

In addition to Sapong’s efforts, the Union are receiving more offensive firepower this season from forward Cory Burke (seven goals) as well as midfielders Fafa Picault (six goals), Borek Dockal (five goals) and Ilsinho (five goals).

“The guys are confident,” Curtin said. “They deserve all the credit. They’re the ones who are putting the work in and belief is a powerful thing. We’re a team that all 11 of our guys need to be on their game to win. They’ve kind of embraced that part of it and to that sense, we’re a true team.”

The Union will next face Orlando City SC (7-16-2) on the road Saturday. The game will air at 7:30 p.m. on PHL17.

More from our Sister Sites