Union

Troubled Union 'keep believing' despite poor start

Troubled Union 'keep believing' despite poor start

CHESTER, Pa. -- The Union aren't panicking yet. 

Despite suffering their fourth straight loss Friday, in an offensively inept effort against New York City FC at Talen Energy Stadium, the club's frustrated players and coaches are still believers.

"I've had times in France at Nantes where we were on an eight-game winless streak and it sucked," said Union captain Alejandro Bedoya, whose club is winless in its last 14 matches dating back to Aug. 2016. "We had to stay in hotels for like a week before the game for four straight weeks until we got it turned around. Here, we're not going to fight relegation. The team's not going anywhere, so it's important for the team to stay confident, keep believing in ourselves."

Following the 2-0 defeat, the united message coming from the Union locker room was that wins are on the way. And unless the club self-destructs, the losing tide will eventually turn in its favor.

"Honestly, we just need to keep playing," Union forward C.J. Sapong said. "We're just in a rut right now. This is something that's common in our league. You've just got to ride the wave, take the ebbs and flows as they come and continue to believe that it'll turn around for you."

But turning things around will be difficult. After a 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers last weekend, Curtin was pressed over his lineup decisions and formation. On Friday, the manager moved Bedoya deeper into the midfield and activated Roland Alberg into the No. 10 role, along with tap rookie Jack Elliott for Oguchi Onyewu at center back. He also brought in youngster Adam Najem and subbed in Jay Simpson. 

None of it worked. The Union only produced two shots on goal -- both from outside the box. And neither were clocked in the second half while trailing and with Curtin letting his attack horses loose. It left the Union shaking their head.

"We didn't create enough on the night," Curtin said. "When you don't score a goal at home, you're not happy with the chances that you created. We had a couple good looks, but they really were half chances, whether it was corner kicks or scrambles in the box, but not a ton of clear-cut chances created and we come up on the wrong end of a result again."

But what Bedoya saw was everything but the finish. The Union were able to fire off 11 shots and earned a number of early opportunities to take the lead.

"The first 30 minutes against Portland and now against NYC, I thought we were able to put in the effort and turn them over and get where we want to be," Bedoya said. "But just the sharpness in the final third is lacking. It's just small margins where hopefully that final ball will be there and we can turn it around."

And Bedoya, along with the rest of the optimistic Union, believe that they aren't as bad as their 0-4-2 record and that they just need one victory to get 2017 back on track.

"We need a win," Bedoya said. "I think we just need to get a big win and get our confidence up."

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.”