First, Union just needs a win
Besides a win over Sporting Kansas City, the Union needs two opponents to lose in order to gain a playoff berth.
THE UNION needs to have a lot of things fall their way this weekend in order to avoid missing the playoffs for the second straight season. They sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, and need Houston and New England, who are both positioned above them, to lose on Sunday.
The Union needs something else to happen. They need to win, which is easier said than done in recent matches.
The Union meets first-place Sporting Kansas City tomorrow night in their final game of the regular season. If they do not take away three points, it will be their final game of the season.
"We need a little help from people on Sunday, but we need to take care of business on Saturday. We need to get three points," manager John Hackworth said. "We have to beat a very good Sporting Kansas City team. That allows us to focus in, if you will, and take care of what we can. We can't worry about anyone else."
The Union and Sporting Kansas City have had interesting matches thus far this year. They met in the first game of the season, which Kansas City won, 3-1. Bu then, on Sept. 27, the Union traveled to Kansas and stole a 1-0 victory that preserved their playoff lives.
"We know what we have to do and we are going to focus on that," Hackworth said. "We know each other well enough, this is the third time we've met, and we'll see how that all plays out."
The Union wants to play a more aggressive style than previously against Kansas City, forgetting about all the help they need after their 90 minutes on the pitch are up.
"I like it that our game means something," Hackworth said. "I think our players like that it means something. I told our players and staff earlier this week that many different scenarios I have been faced with as a coach have been worse than the current scenario we are in."
The Union has had a plethora of chances to put themselves in the playoffs. In the last 2 weeks, they have managed just one point in two matches against teams lower in the standings than Sporting. The missed opportunities and dropped points all season might come back to haunt the team.
"There were four critical moments in the season where I think if those moments play out as they absolutely 100 percent should have," Hackworth said, "we would have 10 more points, and would be talking about us playing for the Supporters Shield and not playing to get in the playoffs. But that is what this game is. It can be very cruel at times."
The Union has to win. That part is in their control. Then they will wait about 24 hours to see if their season is over, or if they made the playoffs in a miraculous fashion.
Who: Union (12-11-10) vs. Sporting Kansas City (16-10-7)
When: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Where: PPL Park, Chester
TV: NBC Sports Network