By JOEL HOOVER
A busy slate of multiple games in a few weeks is almost an inevitable part of any soccer team’s season, creating results that leave a major impact on the season as a whole.
For the Philadelphia Union, their own personal stretch of four matches in 12 days, including two trips into Canada and a U.S. Open Cup match, comes to an end tomorrow night at home against the Columbus Crew.
“I think we’re doing well,” manager John Hackworth said during the team’s weekly press conference. “One of our strengths as a group is that we’re fit, we recover quickly, and we have the ability to play the number of games we’re playing in a short time frame.”
The aforementioned stretch of matches has seen the Union lose 5-3 to Montreal on the road on May 25, defeat the Ocean City Nor’easters 2-1 in the US Open Cup 3rd round on May 28, and save a point in a 1-1 road draw with one-win Toronto FC this past Saturday. The results have summed up a very uneven month of May for the Union, where they went 2-2-1 in the league and picked up both wins in 1-0 results over Chicago.
“I don’t think we’ve been consistent at all (over the past few weeks),” Hackworth said. “Part of that is your opponents…the rigors of the league…the demands of trying to play this many games in a small window. There’s a lot of times in the last 12 days where this team could have put their head down…but I don’t think we’ve ever given up.”
Here are some more notes from the Union’s weekly press conference:
SUMMER TRANSFER ACTIVITY HINTED
Much has been made of Hackworth’s roster moves in the past year since taking over for Peter Nowak, as he has moved out many of Nowak’s pieces and molded the squad with his own vision in mind. Bringing players in is something Hackworth admits he wants to do when the summer transfer window opens.
“We are certainly looking because we are not totally satisfied,” he said, speaking about players he thinks could help fill out the roster. “We think we have some issues right now: for sure at the back, in terms of our depth.
“We’re probably about two to three spots away from feeling like it’s the most complete roster we could have, but it’s not that easy.”
Several considerations will need to be made for a transfer to happen. Available allocation money, positions where players are needed, and cap space, which the team worked to free up by moving Bakary Soumare and Gabriel Farfan in recent weeks, were all mentioned by Hackworth. However, the team’s scouts are currently working hard to scout out possible acquisitions and players who could fill some of those roster spots.
“We’re certainly in a good spot to make some moves, but we have to make the right move for this team and this club,” Hackworth said. He also noted that the team are “better off than they were two weeks ago” regarding the cap space and allocation money.
- Hackworth mentioned that the Union will try to “utilize their depth” tomorrow night against Columbus in light of the recent schedule and to see if it will make a difference in performance. He also said that several fringe players could see action in the upcoming friendlies with Reading United on June 7 and the Harrisburg City Islanders on June 18.
- Kleberson has a minor thigh pull and is questionable for tomorrow’s match. Michael Lahoud is also still continuing his recovery from a sports hernia, but the rest of the Union’s squad is healthy and available.
What do you make of these notes? Do you see the Union winning on Wednesday? Who do you see the Union bringing in this summer? Do you see anyone on their way out?
Share your thoughts below.