THE UNION has four games remaining. They currently are in possession of the last playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference. Both the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution are nipping at their heels for the spot, which is why the team knows the importance of the final stretch.
Manager John Hackworth has his own formula for what he believes will get the Union into the playoffs. He believes that after their upset win last week over Sporting Kansas City, they need six or seven points over their next four games to secure a spot.
"If anything, the results from this past weekend may have lowered it by a point," Hackworth said. "It is an interesting situation because all of us that are playing for the last two playoff spots are in the same position we are. We are all playing each other. Somebody is going to lose points along the way, and other teams are going to gain them."
The Union starts the final stretch of games tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. when they host Toronto FC at PPL Park in Chester. Even though Toronto is the second-worst team in the league, Hackworth believes they should not be taken lightly.
"Our opponent is much better than people give them credit for. It is going to be a really tough game. One that for us, as an organization, is very important," he said. "They are coming off a good win over DC. They are going to be confident coming in here. We have had two tough games with them already."
Neither team has been able to break through in either of their two previous matches this season. On April 13, the Union and Toronto tied at PPL Park, and they tied again in Toronto on June 1.
"We have to approach the game a little differently," Hackworth said. "This week, people are going to say that we are at home, and Philly has to win to keep pace in the playoff race. The pressure is on us this week."
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