Union

Jim Curtin, Alejandro Bedoya show frustration over Toronto FC penalty kick

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Jim Curtin, Alejandro Bedoya show frustration over Toronto FC penalty kick

CHESTER, Pa. -- The Union were bitter. 

Despite earning a come-from-behind 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium, the Union thought they were robbed by referee Mark Geiger.  

The moment of contention happened shortly before the halftime whistle when Union defender Oguchi Onyewu fouled Sebastian Giovinco, which earned TFC the free kick. On the ensuing restart, in a muddled mess typical of an in-the-box scrum, Union rookie Derrick Jones tripped up Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore. 

"It’s not a penalty," said Union manager Jim Curtin, who was biting his tongue throughout his postgame press conference. "It's clear. We've seen the video now. Referees make mistakes, I have to watch what I say."

Geiger immediately signaled for a penalty kick, which Altidore buried to tie the match at one.

"You can call a penalty kick on literally every ball that's put in the box," Curtin said. "Everyone, someone is grabbing, someone's holding." 

Yet, while clutching and grabbing happens on almost every set piece, the Professional Referee Association has added an initiative for 2017 to be more aggressive in calling "holding and pushing in the penalty area."

Still, the Union thought it was a dive.

"Knowing him, he tends to go down easily in the box," said Alejandro Bedoya, a U.S. Men's National Team teammate of Altidore, who also labeled it a makeup call from a penalty kick given to the Union earlier in the half. "So we'll just leave it at that."

In return, Altidore lashed out at Bedoya on Twitter in a tweet that has since been deleted.

While anger and frustration at the officiating were a theme for the Union after the game, Curtin was ultimately upset with the result, which he believes was stolen by a poor call.

"It's hard," Curtin said. "It's a hard job they have. It's not one I ever want to do. But it is tough because our guys empty their tanks for 90 minutes and they get a point out of it and I think it should've been three."

More disappointment in cards for Union in shutout loss at FC Dallas

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More disappointment in cards for Union in shutout loss at FC Dallas

BOX SCORE

FRISCO, Texas — Mauro Diaz and Maximiliano Urruti scored and FC Dallas remained one of the two unbeaten teams in MLS with a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

Diaz opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the 64th minute. Dallas' Matt Hedges drew the penalty, trying to connect with Diaz's corner and getting pulled down from behind by defender Auston Trusty at the top of the 6-yard box.

FC Dallas (3-0-3) made it 2-0 in the 74th minute when Roland Lamah played a through ball up the left side to Urruti, who slipped around goalkeeper Andre Blake with his first touch and slotted home the finish from a narrow angle.

The Union extended their winless streak to five and dropped to 1-3-2.

Union dealing with all sorts of frustration after another home loss

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Union dealing with all sorts of frustration after another home loss

BOX SCORE

CHESTER, Pa. — With four of their first five matches at home, the Union had an opportunity to get their season off to a positive start. But with a 1-2-2 record, capped off by a 2-0 loss to Orlando City on Friday night at Talen Energy Stadium, the Union are wondering what went wrong (see observations).

“I didn’t get the job done,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “I take responsibility for the group. I know we have a really strong team. We’ve played good soccer at home, we just need to bury those chances.”

The poor results haven’t come from a lack of effort. The Union have outshot opponents, 87-48, this season, and are currently fifth in MLS in possession at 54.3 percent. But like Curtin said, it’s been about the finish. They’ve been outscored, 6-3, this season and are averaging just over a half goal per game.    

“The ball is not bouncing our way right now, it’s not going in the net,” Curtin said. “And with that, confidence drops. I understand the frustration from the fans. The players are frustrated, I’m frustrated and it’s difficult. We need to stick together in the hardest moments.“

According to midfielder Haris Medunjanin, the Union are pressing too hard to score. He said on Friday after the loss that the team was off in every facet, and that the lack of offense isn’t bad luck, but a patience issue.

“We need to keep the ball more,” he said of the midfielders. “We want to attack every attack and that’s not possible. You can’t attack every attack. That was our problem today. We were not patient, we attacked too quick. I think we need to learn from that and play as a team.” 

His frustration was palpable. 

“It’s about scoring goals,” he said. “If you have just one chance and you score a goal and it’s 1-0, it’s enough. It’s about winning games. It’s not about how many chances you create, it’s about scoring goals.”

Between David Accam, Borek Dockal, Fafa Picault and C.J. Sapong, the Union should have enough firepower to find the net. And though it’s not connecting right now, Curtin is confident his team will find that scoring groove. It just has to relax.

“We have quality attackers and they all want to contribute and help,” Curtin said. “Maybe sometimes they press and try to do too much. We have to find the balance. When our team is at its best, it’s Haris and (Alejandro) Bedoya controlling the tempo of the game. Right now, it isn’t clicking. At the same time, I know we have the possibility to break out.”