Thursday, October 6, 2011

Controlling Their Own Destiny

The Union are in control of their own destiny. With a game in hand over Sporting KC, and a matchup against the New York Red Bulls, a team hot on their heels, the Union's playoff future is up to them. But it's a tough road to the end of the season. Lets look at the final 3 games on the Union's schedule.

1. Philadelphia Union @ Seattle Sounders
The Union travel to the West Coast, a geographic area that has not been kind to the Union. In their short history, the Union are winless on the West Coast.  And Seattle is fighting hard for a still mathematically possible supporters shield. So they can't expect a walkover from the number 2 team in the Western Conference. THe biggest plus the Union have going for them in this game are the players sitting out for the Sounders.  Key red card suspensions and likely injury sittings will help the Union in the face of a strong Seattle attack. Also helpful will be the USOC final Seattle won this week. Playing a short week will likely have a comparable effect on Seattle's legs that the travel will have on the Union.

2. Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC
This game looks to be a sure lock for 3 points for the Union. Playing a basement dwelling Toronto FC squad that has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs should be just what the doctor ordered as a stirring home finale for the Union.  The crowd will certainly be behind the Union, and they have performed well at home this season.  Even though it is a mistake to pencil in 3 points against any team, I feel pretty safe chalking 3 up for the Union in this match.

3. Philadelphia Union @ New York Red Bulls
This match could be for all the marbles. In what is fast becoming a fan favorite rivalry, Philadelphia travels north just a few short hours to face a team breathing down their necks in the playoff race. 3 points for either squad will be vital in this match. With a lot at stake, I expect this to be a physical match, and both teams will leave everything on the field. My biggest worry for the Union, besides going pointless in New York, is an injury in the last match before the playoffs.

So the Union have a tough road ahead. But with a game in hand over the teams ahead them, the playoff future looks pretty bright for the Union.

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