Coming off a 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls, the Union (9-17-7) get an opportunity to put their forgettable season to rest on Sunday (5 p.m./TCN), when they host expansion Orlando City SC (12-13-8) at PPL Park in the 2015 season finale.
Here are the five things you need to know:
1. Final show at home
It's been a taxing season for the Union and their fans. But on Sunday at PPL Park, the club will try to send their faithful into the offseason with a win.
"We look forward to Orlando, a team looking to finish their season the right way," said Union manager Jim Curtin. "We'll do the same in front of our home fans and try to send them home with a win. They've been great for us all year and they deserve that. We'll put a team on the field that can deliver that."
The team Curtin starts will be playing for the fans, according to the coach. Wrapping up a 17-loss season and coming off a 4-1 defeat to the rival Red Bulls, the Union want to make amends.
"They're all competitors, they want to win and they want to send the fans home happy," Curtin said of his players. "It'll be a celebration for [the fans] because they were behind us through a difficult year. They stood by us and we would like to end on a positive note and give them a win."
As Union captain Tranquillo Barnetta explained, the last game is an important one.
"It's tough but everyone remembers the last game," he said. "We want to make a good result for our fans and our club, to finish the season the right way."
2. Recovering from embarrassment
The Union were thoroughly embarrassed last Sunday. The Red Bulls scored seven seconds into the game, earning the record for fastest goal ever scored in an MLS games, before destroying the visitors, 4-1.
But despite the loss, Curtin believes his team will return to competitive form against Orlando.
"The one thing that they've never done is quit," he said. "I don't think they did in that game either. We're not happy about that. It was a bad performance all around."
The reason for Curtin's optimism is his belief that it was an uncharacteristic game for the Union. In other words, the lopsided loss was a fluke.
"That one was not us," he said. "It's behind us. You learn from it and you don't ever want it to happen again."
3. Orlando with something to play for
Although it's not likely, the Lions do have playoff hope. If the club defeats the Union and the New England Revolution lose to New York City FC, Orlando has a shot. From there, the expansion team just needs a plus-eight goal differential on the day to advance.
"They need eight goals," Curtin said. "You don't know how they're going to approach that. Do they play a one-man backline? I don't know. But [Adrian Heath] has his team in a good spot right now."
Orlando enters Sunday's match on a five-game winning streak, with decisive victories over Sporting Kansas City, New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact. They have outscored their opponents 13-5 over that span.
"The commitment from the players has been exceptional," Heath said. "We want to finish the season off well. I want to win this game."
But even while riding that torrid streak, can the Lions earn the eight-goal differential? They won't rule it out.
"Our first thought is to win the game," Kaka said. "After that, we'll see how many goals we can score and what New England can concede. In the end, we'll see. Our first thought is to win the game."
In the same position as last week, the Union will be without center back Maurice Edu, who underwent sports hernia surgery recently and Jimmy McLaughlin, who had an emergency appendectomy. Goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre is out with a knee issue.
"Other than that we are fairly healthy," Curtin said. "It's good going into the last game."
Orlando goalkeeper Tally Hall is out for Sunday, he injured his ACL last week and will undergo surgery. Midfielder Kevin Molino (torn ACL) and defender Conor Donovan (torn ACL) are out for the season, while defenders Rafael Ramos and Tommy Redding are dealing with head injuries.
5. This and that
• Orlando's five-game win streak ties the 2012 Montreal Impact for longest winning streak in MLS history by an expansion team.
• Sunday is the second-ever meeting between Orlando and the Union. The teams battled to a scoreless draw on Aug. 8 at the Citrus Bowl.
• Union midfielder Cristian Maidana enters the final match of the season tied for the MLS lead in assists with 15. He is tied with Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco, who plays the Impact on Sunday.
• Orlando rookie Cyle Larin is currently tied for fifth in MLS with 17 goals. Giovinco leads MLS with 22.
• With one match remaining, Orlando sits 15th in shots with 372, while the Union are 16th with 370. However, Orlando has made better of its chances, ranking seventh in goals with 46, while the Union reside 16th with 41 goals.