Union

Crushing loss to Impact stunts Union's playoff hopes

CHESTER, Pa. -- Sitting two points ahead of the Montreal Impact entering Saturday’s match, the Union had a prime opportunity to propel themselves up the Eastern Conference standings and keep pace for the final postseason spot.

Three Impact goals later, that opportunity was squashed.

“We're very disappointed,” Union captain Alejandro Bedoya said. “Definitely a missed opportunity for our playoff hopes. We just have to keep pushing and try to get some results away, like we haven’t been able to get the whole season. We just have to keep working hard. This is the end of the season and we have to put our heads down to do everything we can and pick up points.”

Now tied with the New England Revolution with 29 points with 10 games remaining, the dejected Union have fallen six points behind the sixth and final playoff spot while drifting to 10th in the East. The Revs have a game in hand.

“We weren’t good enough in what was a big game,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “Now we have to chase, we no longer control our own destiny and we need help and we’re going to need to do things on the road that we haven’t done this year. Are we capable of that? Yes. But did we just make it more difficult on ourselves? Absolutely.”

Curtin wasn’t joking. Starting next weekend, the Union will be tasked with conquering a two-game road trip that starts against the San Jose Earthquakes and ends against Toronto FC. The two clubs have a combined home record of 16-1-7.

But that’s just the beginning. Over these final 10 games, the Union, who are a paltry 1-7-3 on the road this season, must also travel to face the Chicago Fire, Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls, which have a combined 2017 home record of 23-4-4.

“We need to win games on the road,” Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin said. “We’ve won just one game this season away. If we want to play in the playoffs you need to win games on the road.”

The Union's final stretch would have been a tough road prior to Saturday. But now that the club must find points at places like BMO Field, Avaya Stadium, Toyota Park and Red Bull Arena, that end-of-season gauntlet is even more grueling.

“We all knew the importance of the game,” Union center back Josh Yaro said. “We all knew what we had to do. I think we know what is at stake and from now on. Sometimes good enough is not good enough and I think this is one of those nights.”