After an uneven stretch of defensive play - and results - the Philadelphia Union have gotten back on track with three strong efforts. They'll try to continue their roll Saturday when they go for their first win over FC Dallas.
The Union (7-5-4) have gone 2-0-1 in their last three, allowing one total goal after having a difficult time keeping the ball out of their net in the previous three matches. Philadelphia went 1-2-0 in that stretch, sandwiching a four-goal loss and a five-goal one around a shutout.
That's becoming an increasingly distant memory for Zac MacMath, however, who has rebounded by posting back-to-back shutouts and making seven saves during the past three games.
He didn't have to make any in the latest one, a 3-0 victory over New York on Sunday. Conor Casey had two goals and second-half substitute Antoine Hoppenot rounded out the scoring for the Union.
Philadelphia has scored three goals in three of the past four matches, its best offensive stretch of the season. Casey has played a key role in that, recording three goals in the last two games after going four without one.
His five goals are second on the team to Jack McInerney's MLS high-tying 10.
"As a forward obviously you want to score and the most important thing is to put the work in," Casey told the team's official website. "Jack has put the work in all year and it's good for the other guys like me to come in and take the load off of him ... Today was good for a lot of different reasons."
Things haven't been nearly as good lately for Dallas (8-3-5), which had been rolling along until it hit a rough patch the past five games. The club has gone 1-2-2 in that stretch, though it might be able to use an encouraging 2-all draw with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday as a springboard to get back on track.
Andrew Jacobson and Walker Zimmerman scored in the final two minutes of regulation to give Dallas a well-earned point.
" ... where a lot of teams might have folded and disappeared, I thought we kept fighting,'' coach Schellas Hyndman said. '' ... The players showed a lot of desire and determination to come back and score two late goals.''
Also encouraging was Dallas' shot total, as the club generated 17 total and six on goal. It was its second straight strong game in terms of offensive chances, as Dallas had 19 and seven in a 1-0 loss to Portland on June 15.
The clubs played to a 1-all draw in their only meeting last year, giving a Dallas a 2-0-3 all-time mark against Philadelphia.