CHESTER, Pa. — Struggling to find their offensive footing, the stifled Union managed just two shots on goal as they fell to Blerim Dzemaili and the Montreal Impact, 3-0, Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
“We weren't able to get as close as we would like to them, we’re not built to go on these track meet type games,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “Overall, it was a high-intensity game, both teams were physical, tight to us and closed us down. They are a solid team and we didn’t have the urgency over 90 minutes.”
The Impact, now 8-8-6, have been a thorn for the 8-11-5 Union all season, collecting a win and draw at Talen Energy Stadium to take the season series, 2-0-1. With the victory, the visitors snapped the Union’s four-game win streak at home, while also putting a knife in the host’s playoff chances.
It was the Union's worst home loss since May 14, 2013.
“They deserved to win,” Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin said. “Especially in the second half. They showed us how we need to play, how we need to defend as a team and attack as a team.”
Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush finished with the two save shutout, while John McCarthy allowed three goals on seven shots.
“It’s difficult,” Medunjanin said. “This was our opportunity to be closer to the playoffs and we gave it away, especially at home. The first half, I think we played a good half, we had the ball a lot but the final pass was not there tonight.”
Following an uneventful first half that saw each team register just one shot on goal, things began to heat up in the second. In the 66th minute, the Union earned their best chance of the night, when Medunjanin pushed a right side touch cross that was tapped from C.J. Sapong to Giliano Wijnaldum, whose shot ricocheted off the right bar to stay out.
“Our final ball wasn’t where it needed to be,” Curtin said. “We had opportunities at home, but shots inside the box need to hit the target and we didn’t do that enough tonight.”
The miss would prove costly, as the Impact found goal just three minutes later.
In an attempt to stop a hard cross from the left side, Josh Yaro, in for the injured Oguchi Onyewu, clipped the pass with his heel, stunning the Union defense and allowing the ball to skitter across the box to Dzemaili, where he slugged it through McCarthy for the 1-0 Impact lead.
“The guy crossed the ball in and it was behind me so I flicked it,” Yaro said. “The man was right in the 18, so he shot it. We are taught that I have to protect between the goal and the 18. Unfortunately, the ball was behind me, so I was hoping that someone would be there to collect it. Just unfortunate their man was there.”
Looking to scratch out a late goal, Curtin called on Roland Alberg, Marcus Epps and Jay Simpson for center back Jack Elliott, to spark offense off the bench. But the club didn’t generate anything, eventually allowing a stoppage time penalty kick goal to Ignacio Piatti and another one in stoppage time from Dzemaili to seal the Union’s lopsided defeat.
“We had some looks in the first half and a few really good looks in the second half but we didn’t score,” Curtin said. “Now we’ve conceded and we’re chasing the game, and we struggle to chase games from behind.”