Published November 20, 2014
There will be little at stake when Toronto FC hosts the Philadelphia Union at BMO Field on Saturday.
Toronto saw its goal of a first-ever playoff berth disappear on Wednesday with a 2-1 home loss to the Chicago Fire, leaving the Canadian club bottom of the Eastern Conference with 21 points.
Philadelphia is still mathematically alive in the hunt for a postseason berth, but it looks bleak for the third-year club as the Union have fared just five points better than TFC this season.
The Union have been futile in front of goal over their six-game winless run, scoring just three goals over that stretch while failing to produce more than one goal in a single game.
"We have to do a better job of executing in front of goal," said Union head coach John Hackworth. "All you can do is work at it, prove it and make sure guys feel good about the work they put in so they have a little bit of confidence going into the next game.
"This week, we are tracking every single goal scored in training. Those stats aren't going to lie. So going into next week, we'll have a pretty good idea who is finding the back of the net on a consistent basis for our team."
Playing against Toronto could help Philadelphia's fortunes on the offensive end. The Canadian club has conceded 50 goals over the course of the MLS regular season, more than any other club.
According to TFC head coach Paul Mariner, the players were their own worst enemy in the home loss to Chicago.
"We were their best player," Mariner said. "If you want to give teams a two- goal stand then carry on, but we're not that good.
"We were the architects of our own downfall. Playing ridiculous balls in the wrong area of the field. I thought we eradicated that, but obviously some of the lads that have been in the squad haven't been listening."
Toronto has six league matches remaining, and while postseason play is off the table, Mariner hinted that his players still should be motivated to put in a good shift.
"[We'll] find out a great deal about the players and demand that we have a higher level of performance from everybody," Mariner said. "It's all about analyzing what's going to be around next year. There is one thing that you have to have in a football team and that is fight. If you are not fighting for your right to play and your own personal pride, then that's a problem."