FRANKFURT – The Philadelphia Union earned 31 points in their inaugural season, which was only good enough to finish ahead of one team in the Eastern Conference.
With a win Sunday night in New England, they'll match that point total with three months to play.
The much-improved Union try to extend their unbeaten streak to a franchise-record five when they visit the Revolution, who look to avoid matching a club-record winless drought of nine.
Philadelphia (7-4-7) was solid at home in its first MLS season, earning points from all but three of its 15 matches, but came away with points in only three of its 15 road games.
This season, the Union have fared far better away from PPL Park. Philadelphia has picked up points in five of nine road matches, including draws during the first two games of its current three-match trip - 2-2 against D.C. United on July 2, and a scoreless visit to San Jose on July 9.
"Those games last year we lost," coach Peter Nowak told the Union's official website after the draw with the Earthquakes. "This is progress, and we are still getting the points on the road, which is important as well."
A point against the Revolution (3-8-7) would give Philadelphia its first five-match unbeaten streak, but three points would do even more. With a win, the Union would match both their victory and point totals from 2010 - with 15 matches left.
Philadelphia won only two road games last season, but Gillette Stadium should be a comforting site. The Union won 2-1 in Foxborough on Aug. 28, overcoming a late deficit to win on the strength of goals from Jack McInerney and Justin Mapp.
While Philadelphia is battling for the top spot in the East, the Revolution have the bottom spot all to themselves. New England hasn't won since beating expansion Vancouver on May 14, going 0-5-3 since then.
The Revolution's longest winless drought in club history was an 0-9-0 skid in 1998.
It looked like New England - which fell 4-1 in an exhibition game against Manchester United on Wednesday - would finally snap its current drought July 4 in a most unlikely venue. Leading Real Salt Lake 3-2 late, the Revolution watched Fabian Espindola score the equalizer in the 83rd minute to prevent them from becoming just the second visiting team in 34 games to win at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"It's kind of frustrating we were not able to hang onto the lead,'' said midfielder Shalrie Joseph. "That's our season so far. We just haven't been good enough so many times.''
To make matters worse, Joseph was booked early in that match, which will force him to sit against Philadelphia due to yellow card accumulation. Defender Ryan Cochrane will also miss Sunday's match because of a red-card suspension.
Those absences haven't made coach Steve Nicol any less eager to get back on track at home, where his club is 3-4-2.
"Obviously we want to win whenever we play, but winning at home should be the starting point," Nicol told the Revolution's official website. "It's key for us to do that on Sunday."