Chester, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Desperate for a victory and some help, the Philadelphia Union close out the regular season on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park.
Philadelphia enters the match in seventh place in the Eastern Conference on 46 points. Following a disappointing 2-1 loss to Montreal last week, the Union need to beat Sporting and hope for some help from other results on Sunday if they want to make the postseason for the second time in franchise history.
Last time out, the Union started well in a hostile environment at Stade Saputo when Union midfielder Fabinho collected a loose ball on the left flank and ripped a shot from a tough angle that beat Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins to the near post to give Philadelphia the lead in the 29th minute.
But Montreal roared back in the second half, finding the equalizer through Marco Di Vaio's 20th goal of the season and the Impact, who entered the match riding a three-game home losing streak, netted the winner six minutes from time via a Karl Ouimette goal.
"Giving up two goals like that is unlucky for us -- we have to do better," said Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. "We should've tried to get a better control of the game in the second half because I thought we played a very solid first half. It should have been us dictating the game ourselves and not [Montreal] dictating that last 45 minutes."
"We played a good first half," added Union forward Conor Casey. "But in the second half they threw numbers forward and made it tough. I did think we had a couple of decent chances in the second half as well we just weren't able to put one away."
The result means in order for the Union to sneak into the playoffs, they need to beat Sporting Kansas City and hope that New England loses to Columbus and Houston loses to D.C. United on Sunday.
Sporting, meanwhile, has already clinched a spot in the postseason and is battling for the Supporters' Shield. Sporting is one point behind Red Bull New York and Real Salt Lake.
Last time out, Sporting managed to claim a 1-0 victory over D.C. United at Sporting Park through a seventh-minute goal from Dominic Dwyer.
"That was a massive result for us. It's not easy playing anyone in this league, and when you go up against a team that has absolutely nothing to lose at this time of the year, it's never an easy game," Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes said. "There's no doubt this wasn't one of our best performances of the year, but at the end of the day we found a way to win, get three points, and keep the pressure on the other teams. We solidify first or second (in the Eastern Conference), which is huge for us going into the playoffs. From that perspective, it was excellent."
"It was a tough game. We were a little sloppy here and there," Dwyer added. "We controlled the game, but it still wasn't a great performance. We got the job done, and in a lot of games we've played really well and not got the points we deserved. So we'll take three points all day."