Everybody on the Union agrees that Thursday’s 8 p.m. matchup between against D.C. United at PPL Park will have a playoff feel to it.
Before play Wednesday evening, the Union were seeded ninth in the playoff field, where 10 of the 18 Major League Soccer teams will qualify for the postseason.
The Union had 40 points, or two ahead of D.C. United, which was holding the 11th seed but owned a game in hand on the Union.
Sure, there will be many who will play up the fact that this is the first game that Union midfielder Freddy Adu will play against the D.C. United team he broken into professional soccer with.
And while that will generate headlines, the playoff battle is much more important. After Thursday, the Union (9-7-13) will have just four games left in this long MLS season.
“This is the kind of game that can change a lot of things around as far as positioning for the playoffs,” Adu said. “It definitely has a playoff feel and it is how we are definitely approaching it.”
Adu, who rolled his ankle and missed Friday’s 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City, said he is ready to go, if called upon. If he is indeed healthy, then the Union should definitely call his number.
In his brief time with the Union, Adu has shown glimpses and what he does best is make a defense go back on its collective heels with his ability to break down a defender.
Adu says he has trained the last few days and the ankle has passed any tests.
“Obviously it is a little bit sore and that is expected,” he said. “I feel good and if I get called upon to play, I will be ready mentally and physically.”
Besides another expected packed house at PPL Park, throw in the fact that this game is also on ESPN2, and it can showcase the best of what MLS can offer.
The season is so long and one game runs into another. Now the few remaining games seem to have more meaning, especially when both teams are fighting for a postseason berth.
It will also feature two of the hottest goal scorers. The Union’s Sebastien Le Toux has scored seven goals in the last seven games. D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario, had a hat trick in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake and entered Wednesday leading MLS with 13 goals.
So the players can say all they want about all games are important and that is true. It’s just some feel more important than others and count this one very much in that category.