Chester, PA – Real Salt Lake and the Philadelphia Union will be looking to put their respective winless runs behind them on Friday when the two sides meet at PPL Park.
Despite occupying a favorable second-place position in the Western Conference, Salt Lake has lost three league matches in a row to see its lead over Seattle Sounders FC dwindle to just two points.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is pushing for a playoff spot but has plenty of ground to make up. Winless in their last three games, the Union sit third from bottom in the East with 24 points, 16 points adrift of a postseason slot.
The Union played to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Sunday, a match that saw Freddy Adu subbed off in the 69th minute.
Adu's career can be most aptly characterized as inconsistent, but he was frustrated to exit Sunday's match as he felt he had more to offer.
Nevertheless, Philadelphia's interim head coach John Hackworth responded by instructing Adu to bring his A-game more often.
"He said, 'Hey, I thought I could have contributed longer,'" Hackworth told MLSsoccer.com. "I said, 'You know what, I need you to contribute the way you did [Sunday] every single game. Freddy, if you do that, we will win more games.' And that's important to us. I think he understands it, too."
"For Freddy to play 90 minutes is not the goal of this organization or this team. The goal is for whoever is on the field at any time to contribute. Freddy contributed great last game. I'm sure he would have wanted to play 90 minutes, but in the context of how the game was at D.C., it wasn't the right thing for our team."
Adu will be looking to make a strong impression against one of his former teams in Real Salt Lake, a club that is desperate to regain the title-winning form of which it is capable of attaining.
The Claret and Cobalt were in the midst of a four-game losing streak across all competitions until their 2-0 win over Tauro FC in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday.
"We were on top of things," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "It was a night where finally things went right for us. Often when you do that you see floodgates open. We have to continue with that confidence and say ok, we're playing well, and we scored goals, and we won, and we had a shutout. So we need to take all those positive things and roll them into the game on Friday."