Chivas USA-Union Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia Union will again be without leading scorer Jack McInerney, but midfielders Michael Farfan, Danny Cruz and Jose Kleberson could all return from injury.

That's good news for Union coach John Hackworth, who's been impressed with how Chivas USA's defense has improved under new coach Jose Luis Real.

The Union look to win for a fourth time in five home games Friday night and remain undefeated against Western Conference-worst Chivas.

Philadelphia (7-6-6) is tied for second in MLS with 29 goals, but McInerney - tied for third in the league with 10 - and midfielder Keon Daniel will miss Friday's game due to Gold Cup duty.

The Union, though, could get some reinforcements with Farfan (left ankle), Cruz (left hip) and Kleberson (right quad) likely returning after missing Saturday's 1-0 loss at Houston - the club's first in six games.

"I would say that all three of the guys back in training in full have a great chance to play," Hackworth told the league's official website. "We obviously missed those guys for sure in Houston and it will be great to have them back."

The Union have outscored opponents 9-2 during a 3-0-1 stretch at home, but Chivas (3-10-5) has surrendered just three goals in its last four matches after conceding 20 in its previous seven. Chivas had lost nine of 10 since the beginning of April - including its first three under Real - but has earned a point in three straight after Sunday's 1-all draw at Montreal.

"I think the progression has been amazing. With our new coach I feel like he's brought a lot of structure to our team," midfielder Gabriel Farfan, who was acquired from Philadelphia in May, told Chivas' official website. "We're a lot more organized in the back, especially, but also organized in every position on the field.

"We've had two good results on the road, first against FC Dallas, who are near the top of the (West) and Montreal that is atop of the East. I feel like we can only get better with him."

Hackworth is a believer, even if Chivas hasn't won since March 30.

"They're clearly a much more defensive team, their line has dropped dramatically, they're keeping a lot of numbers behind the ball," he said.

"We probably have not been as good against teams that have sat back," Hackworth added. "When a game gets a little open and stretched, that's where we've been really good this year. We're a team that likes to go and attack from the start, put teams under pressure. But when you sit so many numbers behind the ball, it's difficult to break down. It's been something we've been working on, and hopefully we'll be able to break through on Friday."

Chivas has yet to break though against Philadelphia, going 0-3-2 following a 1-0 home loss April 21, 2012. That match was marred by Union red cards from Daniel and Gabriel Farfan, the latter of which led to an on-field shoving match.

Philadelphia has won both of Chivas' visits.