Union hope to build on first road victory
The Union depart for one more road trip before Major League Soccer take a break for the World Cup and end a string of eight of the first 10 games away from Philadelphia. Unlike the other occasions, the Union will hit the road knowing they can win on the road.
The Union depart for one more road trip before Major League Soccer take a break for the World Cup and end a string of eight of the first 10 games away from Philadelphia.
Unlike the other occasions, the Union will hit the road knowing they can win on the road.
Saturday's 3-2 win at Houston against the Dynamo was the expansion team's first-ever road victory.
Now the Union (2-5-1) look to take the momentum into Saturday's 8:30 p.m. game at Chicago against the Fire.
Before Saturday's win, in which rookie Danny Mwanga scored in the 93d minute to snap a 2-2 tie, the Union had been 0-5 on the road.
The Union's next two games on the road are against the teams directly ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings. Chicago is fifth with a 2-3-4 record for 10 points. On Thursday, the Union travel to sixth-place Kansas City (2-5-2, 8 points).
The Union will hit the road a much more confident team after the win over the 5-5-1 Dynamo.
"Right now, we are making plays that make a difference in the end," team manager Peter Nowak said after Thursday's practice. "As a group, we look confident."
With a 30-game MLS season Nowak has been more than willing to use different combinations, and an encouraging sign has been the play of his young players off the bench.
Mwanga, who turns 19 in July, entered last week's game in the 54th minute and had an assist in addition to his game-winning goal.
The previous week, he was inserted in the 81st minute and scored the game-tying goal in a 1-1 draw with visiting FC Dallas in the 93d minute.
Last week was the first game 18-year-old Roger Torres didn't start, but the midfielder entered in the 62d minute and had an assist on Sebastien Le Toux's tying goal in the 69th minute. Torres replaced Shea Salinas, who scored the first goal against Houston.
"We believed Shea Salinas would give us more speed and options on the wing going forward, and he executed very well in scoring an important goal," Nowak said. "When the other team started to get tired because of weather conditions, we gave Roger 30 minutes of the game, which was very crucial. He was fresh and playing very quickly, getting to balls."
Nowak is downplaying a return to Chicago, where in 1998 he helped the Fire win the MLS championship as an expansion team.
"From my perspective, I have been there with D.C. United and with the National Team," Nowak said about two previous coaching jobs. "It's nothing different being with the Union. The personal relationships I made are important, but business is business."