The Philadelphia Union have won two U.S. Open Cup matches since letting their coach go. They hope the success under Jim Curtin will translate to league play.
Philadelphia looks to claim the season series with the slumping New England Revolution on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
The Union (3-7-6) fired John Hackworth following a 3-all draw with Vancouver on June 7. Hackworth won a franchise-record 12 matches in 2013, but Philadelphia's three wins this season are one off the league low.
"You've got to win.... I go back to our fans," team CEO Nick Sakiewicz said. "They don't deserve ties at home; they deserve victories. They don't deserve being near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They deserve a team that's going to be near the top."
Though they've tallied 12 goals during a 2-2-1 stretch in league play, the Union have surrendered 12 in their last four matches. They netted a season-high three goals in three of them, including the last two as Connor Casey scored twice in both.
Curtin, who played more than 200 games for Chicago and was an All-Star in 2009, was serving as a Union assistant before been promoted to interim manager.
"Good teams win 1-0 games in this league," Curtin said. "The teams that do that at the end of the year are the teams that are toward the top of the table - the Kansas Citys, the Salt Lakes. They grind out 1-0 results and they're good in both boxes."
Philadelphia has since claimed wins over Harrisburg and the New York Cosmos in U.S. Open Cup play. Sebastien Le Toux had both goals in a 2-1 victory over New York on Tuesday and has scored six in 13 league matches.
Le Toux scored in each of the first two meetings against the Revolution, with the Union winning 1-0 on March 15 before losing 5-3 on May 17 as five players scored for New England. Both games were in Philadelphia, as is their U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal July 8, though Saturday marks the teams' final MLS matchup this year.
The Revolution (7-5-2) trail D.C. United by two points for first place in the East but have been shut out in two straight losses in league play. They haven't lost three in a row since a five-game skid July 29-Aug. 25, 2012.
New England was also shut out in two consecutive losses to open the season and won five straight before its current rut. The club's 2-0 loss to New York on June 8 ended its eight-match home unbeaten streak in league play, which went back to Sept. 13.
Coach Jay Heaps' team, though, has since won a pair of U.S. Open Cup games.
"I think we've been streaky," Heaps told the league's official website. "Let's be honest, we've won games and we've lost and we've got to find a way to balance that out a little bit better."
- Sports & Recreation
- New England Revolution
- Jim Curtin
- John Hackworth