“We can compete with any team in the league” Zach Pfeffer talks Union Confidence

The Philadelphia Union have had a great few weeks. A long rest for the team to recover, Open Cup success and two huge victories over MLS gladiators. We caught up with Midfielder Zach Pfeffer to talk about how he spent the break away from Soccer, the upcoming friendly against AFC Bournemouth and how it feels to rapidly become the MLS’s resident giant killing team.

So after a much needed and deserved break, you guys came back fighting with a huge win over Portland. How are you feeling a couple days after the victory?
-The team is feeling great! We are all very happy with the result against Portland, as that was probably the most complete performance of the season so far. The result gives us even more confidence, however we know not to get too high or too low. There is still a lot of work to be done.
The team had a long period of time to reflect and relax after a physically tough yet successful stint, how did you spend your time away from the field?
-I took the first two days to relax both mentally and physically. The remaining days I continued to workout and stay fit. It’s very important during breaks in the season to still remain strong and fit.
Towards the end of the first half of the season, the Union have showed real promise and have started the second half in emphatic fashion. Is this going to be a tale of two halves so to speak?
-We’ve gotten some very positive results in our most recent stretch of games. For us as a group, the goal is to finish the second half of the season very strong and get into the playoffs. We started the season a bit slow, but I believe we are really hitting our stride now. We need to continue to work hard and stay focused, and if we do that, the results will continue to go our way.
The next couple weeks offer up some interesting games, starting with a friendly against newly promoted Premier League Side AFC Bournemouth in a few days, what kind of things will you be looking to take from that game?
-Any time we have a chance to play against a quality international opponent, we want to make the most of it. AFC Bournemouth are now in the Premier League, which is obviously considered one of the best, if not the best league in the world. With that being said, it should be a very exciting and intense game. I’m looking forward to it, and as always, we want to go out on our home field and win the game.
How much does it benefit the team to have a friendly with such an exciting team just before the game against Toronto FC?
-I think it benefits us greatly because we have a lot of rhythm and momentum now. Playing against AFC Bournemouth will allow us to play in another very competitive game, and hopefully it will give us a chance to continue playing at the level that we have been the past couple of weeks.
Is there a certain aspect of the game you’ll be looking to bring with you into the Union’s remaining match ups?
-For me personally, I just want to continue to perform and help the team in anyway possible. Whether it be in a starting role, or coming off the bench, my goal is always to bring energy to the group and help us to win games. As an attacking player, I want to continue creating opportunities in the final third for my teammates and score some more goals as well.
There are a lot of positives coming into this week, wins,the US Open Cup, a big friendly and playoff chances increasing. What’s the biggest positive inside the locker room right now?
-The biggest positive is simply the way that we’ve been playing recently. We have put together some good performances in recent games which has given the group a lot of confidence. We all believe in one another, and will continue to work for and fight for each other.
You’ve taken down Portland, you’ve taken down Seattle. Are the motivations there to make Toronto the third big team you’ve defeated in your last 10 games?
-Absolutely. We know that we can compete with any team in the league. We have proven that already. The key now is to make sure that we are consistently performing well week in and week out. We have the quality in our group, as well as the confidence. We just need to keep our momentum going and make it happen!