It is a very exciting time to be a Philadelphia Union supporter; the team is riding a four match unbeaten streak (3-0-1) as well as competing for the U.S. Open Cup Championship this coming Tuesday. Interim Manager Jim Curtin has established a winning attitude within the club ever since he took over and in return, a surging club that now believes they can compete with the very best MLS has to offer.
Philadelphia Union builds Confidence Among Teammates
It may not be fair to clubs such as the L.A. Galaxy or the Seattle Sounders to be compared to the Union; however, if Seattle falls to Philadelphia tomorrow night in the Open Cup Final, the Union will have to be one of the clubs to be on the lookout for in the upcoming MLS playoffs. The Union plays a style that is chaotic, uneven and raw, yet, the results have proven to be positive and that is why Philadelphia sits tied with Columbus for the fifth and final playoff spot, one point behind the New York Red Bulls who the Union played to a draw this past weekend.
Every match that the Union plays, they play as though they are in the playoffs and that has been the motivation behind a club that never feels they are out of the match even though they fall behind early, as they did this past Saturday against the Red Bulls. Philadelphia fell behind by two goals early and with grit and determination, battled back to draw even in the closing minutes of stoppage time to shock the Red Bulls and delight a home crowd that believes the Union are destined for something special this season.
Rookie Pedro Ribeiro adds energy and tenacity to the club that seems to ignite the fire in the older players and that was the goal of Curtin when he decided to insert Ribeiro in the starting eleven. Ribeiro did not let down his manager for the vote of confidence as he scored his first league goal which cut the Union deficit to 2-1 late in the first half. As the Union began the second half, it was obvious that the goal gave new life to the club and they played fast and hard for the entire half and were rewarded with a penalty kick in stoppage time which Sebastien Le Toux buried to give Philadelphia a draw against their rivals from across the river.
Le Toux has been a driving force for the club this season as he has twelve goals and six assists, clearly playing as though he once again enjoys the game he was born to play. The veteran leadership that Le Toux displays is contagious and even coming off the bench, as he did this past Saturday; Le Toux commands the pitch and drives his teammates to excel, even when the chips are down.
Tuesday, the Union play the Sounders for the Open Cup Championship, which to date, would be the biggest match in club history, however, they still have regular season matches to play as they march towards the MLS Playoffs. Upcoming matches against the Houston Dynamo and first place D.C. United will test the toughness of this squad and show whether the momentum that the Union have shown recently is real or just a mirage.
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